Help our followers get to know you. What does a typical day in the life of Angela involve?
Is there such a thing as a typical day (smiling here!)? My day usually starts with my cat washing my hair to wake me up for an early morning purrsome-cuddle, soon to be followed by tea, a big mug of Assam tea, while I check email and whatnot.
If it’s a work day, I head off to the school where I teach and face a crazily manic day of teaching science to teenagers, mostly with special educational needs. If I’ve got enough energy and focus left on my return home, I usually relax with some arty, creative pursuits, if I don’t a big nap is called for before any arty things can be done!
Weekends, holidays and other non-work days are very flexible for me. I like the contrast between the fixed timetable-treadmill of school and the ability to do as I please when I please on the other days. I start work for any arty contracts when I feel able to, I stay up and work as late as I like, or wake as early as I like, potter out on errands and so on as need be.
One constant in the day are the number of cuddles and fusses demanded by my cat, who oversees everything I do, except when he’s settled down for one of his many ‘big sleeps’ during the day. Another constant is tea, and frequent intervals. Oh, and journaling and art journaling, flute playing, and anything else that I feel the need to do.
When did you first become interested in illustrating?
I’ve always loved to draw diagrams and such for the scientific work I’ve done, for worksheets and so on for school, but I didn’t realise I had any artistic talent until around 12 years ago when the then head of art at the school I work at nagged me to attend an art for relaxation for staff session after school. That led to me studying for an AS, and then an A level in art with the sixth form, and even teaching art to some classes of pupils with special needs too (and loving doing that too!).
Much of the past 12 years have been about exploring my artistic interests and inspirations and growing and developing as an artist. I’ve shown my work on artwyrd.deviantart.com and had lovely feedback there, and suggestions that some of my black and white line-art would make fantastic colouring pages.
Before I had the chance to approach publishers, an editor had contacted me and the Color Me series of books were under way with Race Point Publishing. Work with Dover and Michael O’Mara Books followed soon after.
What are your favourite things to draw?
Abstract, fussy, intricate designs with elements drawn from nature, architecture, prehistoric and Celtic art, various ethnicities. I love that many of the projects I have done have got me to extend my repertoire and sources of inspiration. I do like to try to incorporate a sense of the whimsical or surreal in my work if I can.
Where do you find inspiration?
All over the place! Nature, architecture, geology, water, archaeology, astronomy, microscopy, mandalas, Japanese art, doodles, zentangles, La Tene art, ancient Egypt…
If you weren't an illustrator what would you be?
A Jedi Knight! Seriously, I have been a teacher all my working life, but to work with adults with art, especially art that helps with them healing in some way, would be great to add on to the work I’m doing already for the various companies I’ve done work for. I’m hoping that my application to go part time in the autumn term will be approved so that I can focus more on art, getting things done for my Etsy shop which has been neglected way too long.
Why do you think adult colouring books have become so huge?
It’s a total return to the innocence of childhood, with a bit more of a challenge. It gives us grown-ups a chance to play with artistic tools even if we have no confidence in art or believe we’re not artistic. It gives us a break from the everyday busy-ness and allows us to enter a state of relaxation, of flow. Colouring is a quite meditative process that allows relaxation and also focus and concentration on the moment, on something that isn’t going to cause any problems or issues or demand anything of you.
I think most adults loved to colour as children, love the opportunity to break out the pencils and felts, but have felt that it’s something ‘childish’ to be done behind closed doors. I’m so glad that it’s come out of the creative-closet and that people can easily obtain books and materials to just enjoy themselves, with no expectations from them other than to enjoy themselves and relax! It’s relatively inexpensive if you wish it to be, it’s an easy pastime to take part in any time, any place, it’s portable, there’s such a variety of books and pages available out there of all levels of complexity and subject matter. It takes away the scariness of a blank page to start artistic pursuits on, it gives people a framework within which to work to their hearts content.
What does your working environment look like?
At the moment a total cluttered mess! It gets that way when I’m working on an art journal page. I do tidy it up, but I’m in serious need of a declutter of things I no longer need of all kinds around the house, and a serious amount of well thought out storage space for all the art materials I have!
I must admit to doing a lot of drawing while sat on the bed, keeping the cat company, and that is a lot less cluttered! Paper, drawing board, pens, pencil and a ruler, that’s all I mostly need.
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, who/what?
Sometimes I do. Often I have a film, documentary or something like Criminal Minds, Bones or CSI on so I listen to the words/story. When I have music on it can be all kinds of things from Gregorian Chant, to ambient music, to big band, to rock, to trance, to meditative music, to epic and inspirational music to classical … whatever I feel like at the time!
What are your favourite things in life?
Art, being creative.
Days of no timetable where I can follow my heart-song.
Good company, conversation, food and laughter.
Helping others through my art.
Autumn leaves, the sound of rain on windows when you’re cwtched up in bed, waking up to birdsong in the morning (even if it is my cat mimicking them!), walks on the beach, in woods…music…
Days when my heart is light, my soul is joyful and my eyes shine with the promise of the day.
Finally, please give 3 words that describe your work.
Intricate, swirly, imaginative.