Did you know that the lovely Sophie E Tallis is an artist as well as a writer? She’s been posting some gorgeous illustrations from one of her ongoing projects, and she kindly agreed to answer some questions – and show off her artwork!
What are you currently working on? A range of illustrations for other authors and publishers and my first picture book – ‘The Little Girl Who Lost Her Smile’, which I wrote during my illness two years ago. Wow – I had NO idea just how much work goes into a standard industry 32-page format picture book! I have drawn all 24 full page illustrations now and am slowly inking them up and starting to watercolour them…a LOT of work!
What’s your favourite style? In truth, any. I admit I am very lucky in that I have a natural talent for drawing and can adapt to any style the client wants. The one thing I cannot do is digital art, I’m useless on computers, so I stick to traditional art techniques.
What was your first piece or your favourite piece that you’ve done? A huge and unfinished 9ft by 6ft epic oil canvas I did during my fine art degree…I was offered £500 for it when it was still only half finished…it’s possibly the best thing I’ve ever done.
What mediums do you work in? Oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolour, pen & ink, pencil/graphite, charcoal, oil & chalk pastels, clay, plaster, printmaking media (acid etching, lithograph & screen printing), photography.
Where do you work? What’s your set-up? I used to have a studio years ago in Stroud which was great for large canvases and getting suitably messy, but nowadays just try to set a side a studio room wherever I live – I use a lot of white spirit and linseed oil mixes in my large paintings and they’re all highly flammable, so you need to ensure you have the floor covered first. If that shit seeps into the floorboards then you’ve living in a time bomb!
Do you work to music? If so, what? Yes, Radiohead, Muse, anything angst-ish!
Favourite artists-block device; when you’re stuck in a hole, what gets you out? Move onto another piece and come back to it later.
What gives you inspiration? Nature and my favourite artists, Caravaggio, Leonardo Da Vinci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Turner, Picasso during his ‘blue period’, Manet, Francis Bacon and Christian Hook.
Who’s the person whose drawing style you’d most like to steal? I’d LOVE to be able to paint as well as my favourite artist Caravaggio (Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio).
And finally, some questions that aren’t about art! What’s your current day job? I work in a library as a lowly library assistant, a wonderful job that I absolutely love and a world away from the high responsibility, high stress job I used to do as a full time teacher.
What did you want to be when you were little? A writer and artist…oh, and an astronaut, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad!
What do you want to be when you grow up? Lol, well I never want to grow up and at my age, I think I would’ve done it by now. I just always wanted to be a writer and artist and that’s what I’m doing now, so I’m as happy as an ice-cream fanatic swimming in a vat of Häagen-Dazs!