Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Hello Madi, how are you lovely? 
Hello, I’m okay thank you sweet. 

Can you tell us a bit more about you, where you're from, what you like? 
I’m twenty-four, I live in a little town in the depths of Dorset with my lovely boyfriend. I’m saving up for a pet tortoise. My favourite things are my Polaroid camera, pretty illustration magazines, teeny tiny sketchbooks, snow days and squirrels.

What inspired you to be an illustrator? 
I wanted to be an illustrator when I was seven years old. As I grew up, my ambitions changed a lot, although I always knew I wanted to do something art-related. I realised during my foundation course that my work was more suited to illustration than fine art (which I’d studied at school), and that I enjoyed it a whole lot more. I think initially it was the idea of creating characters and illustrating children’s books that lured me in – I wasn’t really aware of fashion or editorial illustration at that point. Just the thought that one day my pictures could be printed in a real-life book was an amazing possibility.

Would you share with us your creative process?
I usually sketch out my ideas very roughly in pencil, and then use them to draw up a final rough using my beautiful lightbox (my boyfriend and his daddy made it for me and it’s perfect). I then pretty much straight away get stuck into creating the final illustration, cutting, sticking and colouring. I mainly use different papers to create my work, but often add in different materials too, depending on the illustration. I use the initial rough sketch as a guideline to make sure I stay on the right track. Once I’ve finished, I then scan all the work, and use Photoshop to compose the final image – I like to compose the final illustration digitally because it gives me more freedom to play around with the design until I am completely happy with it. I also use Photoshop to clean up the illustrations a little – I’m a very messy cutter and sticker, and I tend to get gluey fingerprints all over everything.

I love the typography in your work, do you enjoy that as much as actually illustrating pictures?
I actually really love creating hand-drawn typography, pretty much to the same degree that I love illustrating. In reality, there’s not too much difference between the two; a lot of my typography is also created using collage in a similar method I use to create my illustrations, so each letter becomes a tiny illo of it’s own. My favourite illustrations are ones where I can use both pictures and typography – I love to play around with them, and experiment with how they work together as a final image.

Do you have a favourite illustration you have created?
I think my favourite is my illustration of a little squirrel stealing a bourbon biscuit. I don’t necessarily think it’s my best illo ever, but I love squirrels so it always makes me smile.

How long have you been a creative?
I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember. I was always colouring-in and making things when I was little. I used to write stories and illustrate them and make them into little books, and art was always my favourite subject at school. I can’t really imagine not being creative, it’s just something I’ve always done.

Can you describe what you do in three sweet words?
Cut. Stick. Colour-in.

What/ who inspires you?
My paper collection is a massive source of inspiration to me – I hoard literally any scrap of paper that I think I might be able to use in an illustration one day – it’s all piled into boxes all around my studio. The colours, textures and patterns of the different papers often inspire me to create certain illustrations. I am also inspired by the everyday, the unusual, and the things inside my head - everything I hear, see or imagine can inspire me to create an illustration.  Childhood themes and woodland creatures often also play a part in inspiring my work.

You have a very sweet blog & tweet lots of loveliness, what inspires you to have an online presence & encourages you to blog about lovely things?
Aww, thank you sweet! I initially started my blog as a way to show part of my working process, to give people a chance to see how my illustrations were developed and made. I really enjoy writing it, and keeping it up to date with all my news – it’s kind of like a visual diary, and it’s really positive to look back through sometimes and see how my work has progressed. I love reading other illustrator’s blogs, so I kind of hope that even a few people might enjoy reading mine. I think illustration can be quite lonely, as it often involves spending long amounts of time on your own working, and being online – especially using Twitter – is so lovely, because it makes it easy to meet other illustrators and creatives. Having an online presence seems pretty vital as an illustrator at the moment, just as a way to promote your work, and also to find out about competitions and work opportunities – there are so many things I would have missed out on if I didn’t have Twitter.

Who are your favourite/ most inspirational illustrators/designers/bloggers?
There are so many! My ultimate favourite illustrator is Sara Fanelli – I love the way she uses collage in her work, and I also love her hand-drawn typography. Lauren Child is a massive inspiration to me in terms of children’s books - Charlie and Lola are my favourite! I really admire Rob Ryan – his papercuts are totally incredible, and I just wish I had that kind of skill. Kate Slater has inspired me since I first discovered her work while I was at uni, again due to her collage and cut paper way of working. I am also often inspired by illustrators that I become aware of through Twitter. My current favourite is Harriet Muncaster aka Victoria Stitch – her work is incredible!

Which ways do you best promote your work?
I mostly tend to blog about it, and promote new work on Twitter or Society6. Promoting my work is something I often struggle with; I tend to feel that my work isn’t good enough, so I often don’t feel confident to promote it too much.

Do you have any favourite blogs/ websites?
I absolutely love reading people’s blogs – The Secret Tea Party is one of my favourites. 
Other blogs I love to read are;
I am also addicted to Pinterest.

Have you got a picture of your workspace? (Drawings accepted!)
My workspace is pretty much our spare bedroom – I share it with the boy’s guitars. This is a photo of it one day last year – it’s even messier at the moment! Oops. 

How does your workspace help you to be creative?
I work in the middle of the floor, which means there’s lots of space to spread out – it’s important because I use so many different papers, and I like to be able to see them all at once. My paper collection is in boxes all around me (or often tipped out all over the floor), and the colours and textures all around me are inspiring as I work.

Are you involved in/ working on anything lovely right now? Do tell!
Ooh, yes. Last week 1973 Ltd sent out a selection of their wrapping paper to a bunch of illustrators, and we can use it to make an illustration of anything we like – I’m about to start working on that soon, and think it’ll be super fun. Also, Pencils, Paper, Scissors Collective are about to start working on our second project together, I can’t give away too much at the moment, but it’s gonna be ace!

What's on your most awesome playlist?
Ooh, just a big mix of different stuff. A bit of Ed Sheeran, The Fray, A Fine Frenzy. I LOVE Snow Patrol and REM, and I wouldn’t say no to a little bit of Cheryl! :]

If I wanted to contact you about a collaboration/buying artwork/to say hello etc, what's the best way for me to do that?
I would love to receive an email from you – madi [at] madiillustration.co.uk – and I also like to read your lovely tweets, so please come and say hello; @madiillustrates

What are the loveliest mags you read?
Lionheart Magazine is my current favourite – the first issue is gorgeous, and I’m already excited about Issue 2, as one of my illos is going to be in there! I’m also in love with Anorak Magazine – I know it’s for kids, but it’s always so colourful and bright, and the illustrations are lovely.

Do you have any nice plans for the future? (Picnics, pictures, exhibitions, afternoon teas, blogger events?)
Myself and the other Pencils, Paper, Scissors girls have just completed a collaborative colouring book, and so I’m currently very excited about seeing that all printed. At some point in the future, we’d hopefully like to put on an exhibition too, which will be very exciting. Once the weather gets a little bit sunnier, I hope there will be plenty of picnics and woodland walks.

Book – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Colour - Grey
Shop - Topshop
Drink – Pepsi Max
Cake - Battenburg
Attire – Jeans and Converse
Month - July
Activity – Feeding ducks
Film - Amelie
Actor/Actress – Alexis Bledel  Colin Firth
Band/singer – Snow Patrol

A huge thank you to Madi for this gorgeous feature and sharing her wonderful creative process, gorgeous illustrations, her inspirations and exciting new ventures from her collective 

Madi's sweet blog
Madi's lovely website
Madi's etsy shop

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