Drawing inspiration from Alphonse Mucha, and likening herself to Shrek’s Donkey, this week I had the pleasure of interviewing the multifaceted creative Katherine Clarke. Working as a photographer and illustrator, Clarke uses multiple processes to create her artworks, which range from famous faces to her own original designs (one of which Vada is giving away, keep reading for details!).
Kicking off our interview I grill Katherine in a Quickfire round.
You were able to be any fictional character, who would you be?
Hmm I really want to say something cool like the Black Widow or Cat Woman, but I’m probably more like Donkey from Shrek! Loud, annoying and a never ending chatterbox!
I’m shuffling through your music collection, what are you dreading I find?
Oh, I think my entire iTunes is guilty of this… Britney Spears? But secretly, I’m not ashamed.
You could have experienced any era/decade which would you choose?
I aesthetically love everything about the 1940s, the design the fashion the glamour! But I think I would love to have lived in the 60s!
Is your favourite colour?
Hmm… Oh I’m definitely a monochrome girl, does that count?
Drink am I buying you at the bar?
Wine. Red, white I’m not fussed!
Celebrity would you like to invite to a dinner party and why?
Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick and the factory. They would come all together so surely that could count as one!? Why? So we could be effortlessly chic! Ha! (Watch Factory Girl, minus the drugs!)
Early mornings/Late nights? Late nights!
Diamonds/Pearls? Pearl is my birth stone, but I think we would all prefer diamonds…
So now we know that it’s diamonds over pearls and make sure it’s wine, boys, I think it’s a good time to get down to a proper interview with this talented artistic virtuoso.
Seeing your work, it is obvious that you use many mediums including traditional illustration, photography as well as digital means of illustration. How have you come to work in these ways?
I think I’m so interested in the process of creating and being able to draw something traditionally and then put it on the computer and have all the options to manipulate and create something different. I think I have always been someone who has to push every boundary; I don’t like to be limited to one type of illustration! Its fun to play around & mix it up, I think it definitely helps you create your own style and find what you’re good at!
Would you say that you prefer one of these processes over the others?
Yes and no, I enjoy them all in their own ways. But I think sketching is what I do first and foremost. I have endless amounts of sketchbooks full of sketches from over the years, I don’t keep diaries so I think it’s a nice alternative to have… and you can have a good laugh at some of your old sketches!
One of my favourite things about your work is your comic book characters. Am I talking to a bit of a comic book geek? Any favourite comics or characters?
Oh yeah, I am undeniably guilty of that! I have a stash of comics and graphic novels on my shelves. I’ve been to the MCM Expos, although I just missed the one that was this bank holiday weekend. My main interest is definitely vintage comics, so I tend to collect them instead of newer ones, I have a few 60s CREEPY and 80s DC comics but I’ve always got my eyes on a few more!
Recently one of your illustrations gained a lot of attention across the internet. Did you expect this and could you describe your experience of ‘going viral’?
Not at all! I remember waking up to the noise of endless emails notifications from my iPhone, and I thought, ‘my spam mail was making me popular today’ so I checked my mail. It was then I realised I had emails from people asking to buy my work, email notifications of followers on all of my online accounts and even fan mail! By this point I still didn’t know what image it was. It was a pleasant surprise and I’ve made some great friends through that happening.
Since receiving this attention have you noticed a change in how you work or what subjects you choose to pursue?
I don’t think I have changed the ways that I work unless it is to a deadline! I like to make and share work with other people so it’s nice to have a bigger audience to do that with.
Your portfolio features an array of famous faces – what attracts you to drawing certain characters?
I’m not too sure, I think I am so film obsessed and I love caricature so it’s fun to play around with famous faces that everyone recognises!
Do you have a personal favourite piece of work?
Hmmm, I don’t really think so! I’m not too precious with my work, as bad as it sounds I always forget what work I have actually done!
I am particularly fascinated by your digital illustration. Without sharing any secret ingredients, how do you create these works? Do you combine processes?
I tend to always work from sketches, I will transfer them onto the computer and then digitally colour them in Photoshop. I also draw straight onto the computer from my tablet, depending on time or how I’m feeling.
Who are your artistic inspirations?
Oh there’s so many! Alphonse Mucha, Drew Struzan! If you don’t know who he is PLEASE look at his work! He did the film posters for Star Wars, Indiana Jones and loads more, such gorgeous illustrations. Dave Stevens, Norman Rockwell, Ryan Sook, and many 17th – 18th century painters. The list goes on…
What are you working on at the moment? Anything which Vada can have a sneak peek at?
At the moment I am taking a little break, still sketching of course. I am hoping to launch my online shop this summer and have a massive re-vamp of my website. I have a load of plans for it already so it’s all in the works!
If you would to see more of Clarke’s work check out her website and I strongly suggest following her Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr across which she often updates with works in progress and the everyday sketches which don’t make it to her official website.
GIVEAWAY: So you like free (and much more importantly, awesome) stuff as much as I do? Well Katherine has kindly donated a secret work to Vada to give away to one lucky prize winner this week! To be in with a chance retweet any tweet accompanying this article and follow the official Vada twitter to qualify. Winners will be announced in my next article published on the 5th June so make sure you’ve entered before midnight on the 4th. Three runners up will also receive a little something so it is well worth a punt!