Spotlight Interview with Fimo artist and illustrator Louisa Houchen
Being an illustrator
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I am a Fimo artist and create illustrations from my Fimo work with the extra help of photography and computers.
When did you decide to pursue illustration as a career?
I decided to pursue illustration as a career probably when I was around 24. I was working in a greeting card shop and this inspired me to want to design greeting cards and other products.
What training did you have?
I am self taught and have always worked with Fimo, at first as a hobby…and then things got more serious! I also did Media Studies as a degree and am aware this is helping me in my current work.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
The high point of my career has been meeting a company called ‘Abstract Greetings’ last October. I have been working to create a new greeting card range with them called ‘Poptastic’ which is launching at the Islington Business Centre at the end of May. I have found in generally things have been happening slowly but surely. Last year I also became represented by ‘KJA artists’.
What’s your favourite quote?
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
Who is your favourite artist?
What are you aiming for?
My constant aim is to make people laugh and create amusement whilst also making a living out of it.
How will you get there?
I will get there by working together with others to improve and reach goals.
Is anything holding you back?
Financially things have been very difficult but now I have my materials bought for me so this makes it a lot easier and I also have a great amount of determination. If I need instant encouragement I look out of the window and wait to see a plane. Then I know that if someone can design that and get it to work, anything is possible!
You and illustration
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I like to make people feel excited, surprised and amused!
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
It really really varies! Sometimes I can create an illustration in 4 hours. Other times it could take a week
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I like a wide variety of music from The Rolling Stones to Prince to Kings of Leon.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
‘Poptastic’! The new greeting card range launching at the end of this month. I will be starting work soon on the Poptastic Christmas range of cards.
Being inspired by illustration
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Quentin Blake I find inspiring. I love the quirkiness of his style. I also like Beatrix Potter’s drawings and the little scenes you can see in her books, her great attention to detail.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an illustrator?
I think one of the main reasons is that when I am at work I often think of nothing else, the work completely absorbs me and in this way it is an essential part of the way I live my life. Without it I would feel lost.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
My favourite work is probably my Ricky Gervais doll! I love it, it is so zany!
an illustrator’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for illustration into a career, could you give any advice?
I would say it can be very tough financially and it can be a job where you have to spend a large amount of time working alone. However, if you have a passion for it then it is absolutely possible to believe, and rightly so, that you can succeed and you will be rewarded for all your hard work.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
I find the best thing to do is to research. As a greeting card illustrator I spen d a lot of time looking through all the cards, noting down company names and looking at websites. Then I send an email saying why I am interested in the company and why I think they would be interested in seeing my work.