Published on

Q&A with Chloe Douglass

Childrens’ illustrator

I’m Chloe Douglass and I’m a childrens’ illustrator! I live in little tiny house in vibrant Tooting, South London with my husband and my little witches cat Selena.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently roughing out some images for an anthology and some christmassy illustrations for fun, it’s part of Illo Advent which you can find on Twitter and Instagram.

Could you tell us what inspires you the most (except your job)? Are there any particular places where you go to think over your ideas for illustrations?

I’m hugely, and always have been a huge Disney fan. I love the whole process of research that goes into a film and I soak up all the concept art that’s produced for the films and seeing how characters have been drawn, it’s really helped over the years to get movement into my work. I love watching the how it was made parts of a disney film! I also have a big passion for myths and legends and anything fantastical. I’m always reading fantasy, folklore and fairytales and so on which feeds into my work I think.

I’m a keen gardener when I’m not working in my little studio, and I’ve an allotment to tend even in the quieter months of gardening over winter! I’ve always found gardening must be like what people get from meditating, my mind completely clears which can be really helpful if you need time for projects you’re stuck on, as they kind of process in the background of your mind.

I also find going for a stroll over nearby parks and commons helps and sometimes whilst I’m having a shower an idea will present itself! So I have to get out really quick and jot it down before I forget!

How does your studio look like? In addition to professional tools, what else do you need for comfortable work?

My studio is a small little spare room, which doubles up for drying the laundry in! I could really do with treating myself to a proper chair, as I’m currently on a fold-up wooden one with a couple of cushions >_< I always need music or a podcast on in the background whilst I’m working. I’m usually tuned into 6music or to Adam Buxtons podcast, or some true crime ones! Which can make for an odd juxtaposition when working on innocent illustrations! A steady stream of earl grey tea is highly essential whilst I’m working.

What exhibitions and events do you visit in London? What opportunities does this city provide for illustrators and designers?

I always love popping into the V&A and the National Gallery. There is always something inspiring you can take away from a visit, I always like to go if I’m in a bit of a rut drawing wise.

I found the Video Games one at the V&A super interesting to see the process and amount of work that goes into a game, and there was some lovely concept art on show. And I recently went to see my friend Alistair Little’s collection of paintings at Panter and Hall, which was stunning.

London is a wealth of talks, events, exhibitions and things to join in with. I am so lucky to be able to see an event or a talk pop up on twitter or online, and can nip along last minute rather than having to pre plan and travel far. It’s really helped with networking and meeting fellow illustrators, as it’s great to talk to other people who understand the work you do and the freelance way of life!

What do you like about freelancing and what would you like to change?

I love the freedom it gives you, I can spend the down time working on personal projects for my portfolio and that I get paid to draw when a project comes in! It’s all I ever wanted to do since I was 10 years old, so I am super fortunate I am able to do what I love for a job.

The biggest downside is how you get paid. Not many companies honour an invoices request to be paid within 28 days. I know a lot of people who have waited way over 3 months for payment. I don’t understand why it can take so long especially when usually an illustrator gets work done on time and sooner to meet deadlines. I really wish it was law to be paid on time! It can be incredibly stressful and upsetting if you’ve not had your pay and need to somehow pay your bills and or rent.

What sources do you get feedback from: offline or via reviews from social networks?

I have some close friends who are illustrators so we all run work or queries past one another for critiquing if you’re unsure on something. I’d also ask my agents for help too if I need it for some feedback on a project before sending it off. Otherwise online would be social media platforms and reviews for a few books I’ve illustrated. I’ve also found meeting editors and art directors at the London Book Fair some of the most valuable feedback I’ve received, and helped me channel my work in much better directions :)