What does a typical day in the life of Christine Fleming involve?
On a typical week day, I'll wake up around 6am, and browse social media while I drink coffee, eat breakfast, and wake up. Then I'll move on to administrative tasks like emailing, project management, and fulfilling Etsy orders. Then I'll work on design assignments for clients until mid-morning when I go running with my dog, Oni. After that, we'll come back, and I'll shower and eat lunch. Then all afternoon I get to work on fun stuff like my coloring book or a new picture book story! I'll work until my boyfriend usually comes home around 6, we'll relax together, and then I'll cook and we'll eat dinner. After that we usually both end up working more in the evenings with me painting nesting dolls, while he codes and programs. Then we eat ice cream and go to sleep! I thrive on habit so that's pretty much what I do every week day!
When did you first become interested in illustrating?
I've been drawing since I was little, but I wasn't directly involved in illustration until after college. I was really interested in art in high school, and then went to Design School for graphic design at North Carolina State University, and got drawn into the design world. I then worked as a Lead Graphic Designer in a studio for a year, and then when off on my own to freelance. That's when I started illustrating more and more until I realized that I was doing more illustration work than design work! So that's when I really buckled down and started focusing on illustration, using graphic design to supplement my work assignments. I still do both, and I think each shows up in the other from time to time!
What are your favourite things to draw?
Dogs! I love to draw any animals, but dogs have been a recent obsession. One thing I love about having assignments though (as opposed to only doing personal work) is that you're asked to draw things you wouldn't normally choose. For example, I recently finished up an editorial illustration series with the science blog, Buzz Hoot Roar, where I illustrated wasps and aphids, and I've illustrated spiders and ants for them in past assignments. I never would have sat down on my own and decided to draw wasps and spiders! But they're actually really fun to draw with all their spindly legs. So it's fun to get to explore new things! There's tons of quotes about how you really don't understand something until you draw it, and I think that's true. I have a new appreciate for wasps and spiders now.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in two ways, I think. One is to be outside, whether that means going on a run with my dog, walking my dog, reading in the dog park, or just sitting out on the porch—being outside tends to reinvigorate my brain and gives me time to think. That's one reason I love living in Texas, the weather is wonderful here, and I can be outside in the sunshine for most of the year. The other way I get inspired is by other artists. I love looking around Pinterest and Twitter for new work and new artists! I also am constantly oogling over and impulse buying books I love. It's awesome to see what other artists can create and makes me want to create things even more!
If you weren't an illustrator what would you be?
In another life, I think I would be a baker in a little laid-back bakery.
Why do you think adult colouring books have become so huge?
I think it's a way that people who are creative, but THINK they can't draw are able to have an artistic outlet. I think everyone has the ability to draw, but adult coloring books gives you a bit of a stepping stone if you aren't into creating your own drawings from scratch. It can be intimidating to sit down to a blank sheet of paper to draw sometimes. So having a line drawing to start out with takes that initial fear away and let's you just jump right in and start getting your artsy side on! I think it also stems from people wanting a hobby that is meditative and relaxing.
What does your working environment look like?
My little studio is currently in a corner of our apartment, near the kitchen, but we're actually moving to a house this weekend! So then my studio will be another corner somewhere! One day I'll have a separate room or a studio in a shared work place, but right now this works just fine. That's the wonderful thing about design and illustration, all I need is a piece of paper, a pencil, a scanner, and a computer and I'm good to go. Plop me anywhere and I can do the work.
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, who/what?
What I listen to is totally dependent on what I'm doing. I listen to NPR's All Things Considered and Fresh Air every morning while I'm doing administrative tasks. When I'm doing initial/conceptual work, I need my brain to think, so I'll listen to music like Sufjan Stevens, Nosaj Thing, or Baths. When I'm doing repetitive work that I've already planned out, I don't need my brain as much so it can be listening to something else! For example if I'm digitally coloring in the base colors of an illustration, or tracing over a sketch I've already drawn, I'll listen to podcasts like This American Life, RadioLab, or Snap Judgement. And when I'm painting nesting dolls at night for Etsy orders, I've already drawn the designs on the dolls and planned the colors, with my hands are working more than my brain, so I usually watch something while I'm painting like Mind of a Chef on Netflix.
What are your favourite things in life?
Eating. Drawing. Cooking. Running. Spending time with my boyfriend, Declan, and our dog, Oni. Cheeseburgers.
Finally, please give 3 words that describe your work.
Bright. Witty. Playful!