Help our followers get to know you. What does a typical day in the life of Haylea Bridle involve?
Well, there is rarely a typical day but I have the body clock of a nocturnal marsupial rather than a fully functioning human being. I am very good friends with the late hours of the night and the early hours of the morning, often with my ideas deciding to drop by as my eyelids are closing the curtains on the day, or even in my dreams. The common denominator of my days is coffee accompanied by a heavy dose of procrastination. However, if I have a tight deadline, I will set my alarm, race to the desk and work for as long as it takes to get the job done.
When did you first become interested in illustrating?
I believe it was one night when I was about 2 years old, when my mum had come home from grocery shopping. Naturally feeling the urge to ‘help’, I found the nearest item; a packet of flour, and proceeded to pour it onto the floor (and my head), creating the very best wholemeal kitchen canvas. It took a little while for my cutting social commentaries on crayons and cat food to sink in, but my mother quickly realised a) I was trouble, and b) It was time to get this girl some paper…and a shower.
What are your favourite things to draw?
People (particularly musicians, fictional or otherwise) and food. In the immortal words of Julie Andrews, ‘these are a few of my favourite things’.
Where do you find inspiration?
I have a spatially inconvenient habit of collecting large amounts of children’s picture books, from which I find great inspiration. A fact the shelving section of my local IKEA can attest to. Some find inspiration from Tolstoy, I find inspiration from Toy Story.
I am the bag lady of inspiration, hoarding it under metaphorical mattresses, couches and closets. I have a folder on my computer that I stash away things that float my drawing dinghy. It can be something as simple as a line or curve that will make the cob-webbed recesses of my brain light up. Also a mere glance at the work of some of my favourite illustrative masters including Jean Jullien, Peter De Seve and Carter Goodrich will often have me running for the nearest drawing implement and surface-I-can-get-away-with-drawing-on. People watching and music are also hugely inspiring for me.
If you weren't an illustrator what would you be?
Meg Ryan in You’ve got Mail, with the alternate ending that her bookstore doesn’t close down and Tom Hanks magically transforms into Idris Elba.
If that didn’t quite go to plan, I would either be in the performing arts or be a zoologist, channelling the ever brilliant Jane Goodall and move to Africa to work with the chimpanzees and gorillas (after fashioning a head to toe mosquito proof body stocking).
Why do you think adult colouring books have become so huge?
I think so often we are pressed for time from work or other commitments, that we feel we are constantly dog-paddling in a sea of ‘to-do’ lists we scribbled on places we can’t remember. Many crave a creative outlet, and I feel colouring books offer a conveniently bound opportunity to remember what it was once like to do ONE thing at a time. To be in the present and forget the intimate details of Aunt Ailsas’ ingrown toenail she’s called you three times in the past week to remind you about. To leave behind the ever pressing question of ‘why aren’t all socks one colour?’ and the looming culinary conundrum of what you’re going to make for your visiting fruitarian friend on Friday. Colouring ensures your biggest problem will be should this tomato be ‘Madder Carmine’ or ‘Rose Madder Lake’.
What does your working environment look like?
I would affectionately describe it as ‘mess’. The kind of mess that so often results in washing your brushes in tea, and drinking paint water. I work on a big egg-shaped table in the living room that has lots of natural light and a not too shabby view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Towers of books, tea cups, tea cups, pencils, scribbled ideas on envelopes and tea cups are also things that come to mind.
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, who/what?
I often find it hard to do just about anything without musical accompaniment, especially drawing. I suspect my right hand has struck up a contractual agreement with Spotify, that one will only work in the presence of the other. The ratio of my musical playlists of late, have taken a concerning shift from music I would happily skip down the street singing and declaring my love for, to guilty pleasures with a distinct lack of irony present. This is often delivered through headphones guaranteed not to leak my quickly diminishing dignity. I am also one of those people who have the horrendous habit/ tremendous talent for listening to a single song or album relentlessly until you are sure it has somehow altered your DNA sequence and rearranged the cells in your body to spell out the (often poor excuse for) lyrics. The Magic School Bus meets Art attack. I am currently listening to anything from Aerosmith to Arrested Development, Billie Holiday to Beiber, from Cee Lo Green to Celine Dion, from D’angelo to Destiny’s Child, from James Taylor to John Mayer, from Katy Perry to Kendrick Lamar, from Lauryn Hill to Leon Bridges, from Marvin Gaye to Mariah Carey. That and obscure brass bands from NYC!
What are your favourite things in life?
San Francisco, cheese platters, the crispy crackle of Autumn, bookshops, live music and my beautiful family and friends.
Finally, please give 3 words that describe your work.
(Hopefully) humorous, whimsical, fun.