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Q&A with Rachael Saunders

Illustrator (full-time doodler) from UK

Hello, my name is Rachael Saunders and I am an illustrator (full-time doodler) based in the UK. I specialise in children’s illustration, but have had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of clients on projects of all shapes and sizes. My work is often described as being whimsical and ‘made from sunshine and rainbows!’ I guess this isn’t too fair from the truth as I enjoy creating illustrations that are full of fun and that will put a smile on your face.

How did you get started in Illustration, what is your background?

Ever since I can remember I have enjoyed being creative, but never really thought of it as a possible career avenue. I decided to study BA (Hons) Illustration at Falmouth University not knowing where this might lead, little did I know that this decision was going to take me on a fantastic adventure that I had never anticipated.

Where did you study? Looking back, would you recommend your path for beginners in design/illustration?

I studied at Falmouth University for four years, completing both my Foundation Diploma and BA Degree. I couldn’t recommend anywhere better to go. I truly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the fantastic tutors at Falmouth and all the wonderful friends I made during my years there. There is such a wonderful creative energy at Falmouth that allows you thrive in an environment buzzing with like-minded and inspiring people. The BA Illustration course taught me everything I needed to know to comfortably step out into the industry after graduating. We were taken on visits to London and New York to meet with publishers and art directors for feedback on our portfolios, as well as receiving many lectures about the ins and outs of the industry and how to thrive in it.

Also you get to pretty much live on the beach. Who would pass up on that!

What was the turning point in your professional career?

My career as a freelance illustrator really kicked off after I exhibited my work at New Designers, a graduate show in London, this time last year. Here my work was exposed to and picked up on by some of the many powerful figures in the creative industry who visit the show. Since then I have signed to The Artworks Illustration Agency (who I adore) and am now working on some super exciting projects that will be revealed in the very near future.

What is your ideal work environment? Do you prefer to work at studio all day or like to mix in a few activities?

Currently I am living at home in Hampshire and working from a small desk, however my future plan is to rent out a shared studio space or to join a design group or collective. I feel that working from home can get quite isolating and I miss the buzz of being around other creative people, who you can bounce ideas off and have a chatter with. I tend to work a typical nine to five day when working on a project and like to have a good work/life balance so make sure I get out as much as I can when my illustrating day is up and on weekends.

Where are your favourite places?

I do love a good bookshop and can spend countless hours in the children’s section, devouring the pages of many stories, old and new. My favourites are the independent shops that have a huge range of beautiful titles that the larger, mainstream stores just don’t stock. I also love visiting my friends in London and Brighton where there is such an exciting creative energy and you just can’t help but be inspired by. The Tate (especially their shop) is a must when visiting London and in Brighton, Dave’s comic’s is a big hit.

Who do you admire?

I have an ever growing and evolving list of artists, designers and creatives that I admire and who I am inspired by. It is impossible for me to choose a few!

I adore the work of Jim Flora and Mary Blair because of their colour pallets, design and charm.