MY WORK & PROCESS
1. Do you take commissions?
I am always open for illustrating a fun project! If you have something in mind, then please feel free to contact me via my contact form with some details about the project.
If you are looking for a portrait commission, then they are no longer always open. Instead, they are open in limited quantities when I have the time to work on them. If you are interested in one, then please follow my Instagram for updates about this.
2. What program to you use for your illustrations?
I use both Adobe Photoshop CC on my PC and Procreate for my iPad.
3. What digital brushes do you use?
- Wash 200 Watercolour from Kyle's Megapack (my go-to watercolour brush; I use it ALL the time)
- 6B pencil - default Procreate brush
- Bonobo chalk - default Procreate brush
Gouache Blair and Wash 200 are my two most favourite brushes, I use them all the time and have exported them to Procreate because I like them so much!
Unfortunately, Procreate brushes can't be shared to Photoshop, so my other two favourites (6B Pencil and Bonobo Chalk) cannot be used in Photoshop. However, the 2B Pencil by Kyle Webster is a good alternative to the 6B, and Emmy Cicierega's brush is an amazing alternative to Bonobo Chalk - just follow the tutorial on how to export and edit it in Photoshop.
4. What iPad/tablet do you use?
I use an iPad Pro 2021 12 inch with the Apple Pencil 2, and I use a Wacom Cintiq 16 with my PC.
5. How did you find your art style? Any tips on developing my own style?
The only way to properly develop your style is unfortunately not something that can be achieved overnight,. It's a slow process that develops naturally over time rather than instantly, and it comes from frequent practise. The more you experiment and practise, the more your work will grow and your visual signature (style) will start to appear more and more strongly.
It's completely natural to feel frustrated at times, especially if you don't feel like you're improving as fast as you'd like, but even the worst of doodles/sketches/scribbles will make all the difference. I used to work in a gift shop that was often quiet at times, and during those moments I would sketch people walking outside, or the occasional customer who came in. These sketches were not at all good, but they really helped me improve my people drawing skills.
Instead of focusing on creating/forcing a style, you could try some exercises that will help to define/refine your style. These are some of my favourites:
Try to get a good understanding of the fundamentals of drawing. Make studies of the things around you, like I did with the people walking outside the shop I worked in. It doesn't have to be people, though, it could be literally the items on your desk, a fruit bowl, your favourite potted plant. You could go out on a nice day and sketch the buildings around you, or the people sat in the park. You could use any medium to do this, I recommend a simple pencil, some pens, and if you're feeling adventurous, some watercolour or ink.
It is also beneficial to make studies of other artists' work, both contemporary (like your current favourite artist) or classic (like Arthur Rackham or Van Gogh). A study means recreating the artist's work in your own sketchbook, essentially copying their technique. While popular opinion would claim this is wrong; it actually isn't! It's actually an invaluable exercise as it allows you to work out how another artist works and it means that you can then apply what you've learnt to your own work, even if it's as small as finding a new way to draw a leaf! The only time doing this is wrong, is if you share it publicly and claim it as your own work/don't give credit, or share without the original artist's given permission (if it's a current artist).
Work in a medium or tool you've never worked with before. You may find you get on really well with this new medium, or you may find it frustrating and difficult; but you'll have tried something new, which is a great way to find out something new about yourself and how you like to work! No one ever improves with anything unless they try something new. If you work digitally a lot, you could try working with real paint, or if you're feeling super adventurous, you could get a stick and paint with dirt and water (this is super fun to do). What you create doesn't have to be good!
Other tips to help are:
Don't be too precious about your work; ALL work is good, even if you think it looks bad.
Be patient (harder said than done, but you really shouldn't be too hard on yourself)
Don't compare yourself to others (it's okay to admire and be inspired by others' work, but you shouldn't compare your ability to other people's because everyone is on a different journey and are at a different point in their lives).
Be open minded and happy to enjoy new things, even if they seem a bit weird (like painting with sticks)!
Have fun. If it isn't fun, then it isn't worth doing!
Your visual signature is something that is ever changing and evolving, no matter how much experience you have. Even though my style is much more defined now than it was when I first started drawing, it is still changing as I learn more and more!
6. How did you get into illustration?
I have been drawing constantly since I was very young, so I have always had an enjoyment for art!
Initially, however, I wanted to study medicine to become a vet, so I specialised in studying science and maths at the age of 16. After a year of this, though, I realised I was incredibly unhappy. I remember one special moment, where I was sat on the floor of my bedroom, looking at the ink drawing of a mouse I had just created, and I realised I wanted to be a children's book illustrator. So I explained to my parents that this is what I wanted to do and they allowed me to enrol in a two year fine art course.
In that year, I studied all forms of fine art, specialising mostly in drawing and illustration. In the second year, I tailored my portfolio to narrative illustration, and got accepted into the BA Illustration course at the University of Lincoln.
My degree was three years and was specialised mostly in children's book illustration. By the end of the third year, my style was finally beginning to emerge! After graduating, I got a part time job as a shop assistant/graphic designer for a small independent shop and opened up my Etsy shop on the side. At this time, I also got representation with an illustration agency, and I got to illustrate two children's books with them, but after a year we parted ways.
I spent the next three years unrepresented, but during this time I continued to work part time in the independent shop and my Etsy started to pick up, with custom portraits becoming very popular. I also started testing the water with fairs/comic cons and got commissioned by Cats Protection, which was very exciting!
After two years of this, though, I found myself too busy to continue juggling everything, so I made the scary decision to leave my part time job and focus on illustration and my Etsy shop, which I did so in January 2019. During this year, portraits became even more popular and I was able to sustain myself solely from them, it was very overwhelming in a good way!
The following September, I signed with P.S. Literary agency who now represent me for all book projects. Last year, I got to work on some really fun projects through them which I will hopefully be able to share soon!
I am no longer taking portrait commissions as I want to focus on book illustration full time. However, during any quieter moments I have, I will open them again!
SHOP & SHIPPING
1. Do you ship to the rest of the world?
Yes! I ship to most countries worldwide from the UK, using Royal Mail. all items are sent as either a standard or large letter and all costs are calculated at the checkout.
Please note that if you would like tracking with your order, then please select the Tracked & SIgned option at the checkout, otherwise it will be sent with standard shipping that does not have a tracking number. It's advised that if you're purchasing a ceramic or original item, that you select the tracking option as these items cannot be replaced if they go missing.
Please note that if you're in an EU country, you may be charged a VAT fee upon arrival of your order. This will be a small % of the total cost of your order, dependent on your country's import VAT laws.
2. When will my order be sent out?
It usually takes me a few days to process orders and they're usually sent out every Tuesday and Friday.
3. How long does shipping take?
Normally shipping times take 1-3 working days to the UK, and 5-7 working days to other parts of the world. Though, sometimes world events can affect this, like the aftermath of COVID-19 and UK postal strikes.
4. When will ___ be restocked?
I usually restock sold out designs every few months or for my shop updates, unless the item is discontinued. If a certain item is due to be discontinued, then it will be stated so on the item listing. Once a discontinued item has sold out, I won't be restocking it!
Handmade items, like original artwork, textiles and ceramics, will be restocked when my schedule allows it. They are obviously quite time consuming, so creating original pieces is not something I always have time for. If you have your eye on one then it's better to nab it before someone else does!
5. What payment method do you accept?
I currently accept the following payment methods:
- Visa (credit & debit cards)
- MasterCard (credit & debit cards)
- American Express
6. What is your refunds/returns policy?
Due to the fact that I am a very small business (it's literally just me, Ruth!), all sales are regarded as final and I cannot offer a refund, but in some cases I may be able to offer a replacement for your item.
Damaged goods during transit cannot be refunded or replaced, and if your order gets lost in the mail and you haven't selected tracked shipping, then there isn't a lot I can do to find the item(s). I unfortunately cannot take responsibility for the postal system in your country, so if they lose or damage your order then please contact them as they may be able to reimburse you!
Due to the personalised nature of custom portraits, I cannot offer refunds on these, but if your printed copy goes missing in the mail, then I may be able to offer a replacement.
If you have any questions about this, then please feel free to fill out my contact form and I'll be happy to help!