INTERVIEW WITH AN ILLUSTRATORAugust 2, 2013
Have you ever laid eyes on our UO festival wall? Or perhaps, our strange and wonderful temporary tattoo sheets we’ve been banging on about? Well you have been treated to the divine drawing skills of Urban illustrator Kate Prior!
We rate her designs so much we thought it’s about time you meet this arty lady…
UO: Tell us a little about your day-to-day as an Urban illustrator…
KP: Get absolutely jacked on black coffee from the graveyard around the corner from the office. Get to work, log in and do some silly voices with Danny who I sit next to. For the past couple of weeks I have been working on some highly important and charming GIFs for the new Paris pop-up store. I have been, for example, animating what I imagine a happy poo floating through space would look like.
UO: How did you develop such mad pen skills?
KP: : A terrible, terrible accident involving a pencil and a full moon. Too terrible for the internet (NSFL). I still have the scars. That’s all I’m willing to say.
UO: Pen, pencil, crayon or felt tips – what’s your weapon of choice?
KP: My lucky mechanical pencil that I got mega cheap in Japan one time because it had a cool tiger on it (since rubbed off from over-use by frantic clammy palms). I’ve found that I actually can’t draw with anything else, so if it goes missing I can get pretty aggressive and accusatory in a short space of time.
UO: The tattoos you made for the Camden store party went down a treat. If you had to add a piece to your body canvas, what kind of tat would you go for?
KP: Taz spinning a basketball on my shoulder blade, a dolphin jumping over my naval, Winnie The Pooh looking his loveable self on the small of my back.
UO: You also work as a freelance illustrator, any really cool projects you want to shout about?
KP: Unfortunately not at the minute; I’ve been having that much fun here at Urban, that all my power crystals are burnt up by the time I get home. I’ve been making plans in the middle of the night for a book of short graphic stories. One about a girl who does squats just so she can use her super butt cheeks to hold onto the rails when on a busy tube? But these are still being developed in my ‘notes’ app.
UO: Your illustrations are definitely “out there” (for want of a different phrase). How do you figure out what you want to draw before putting the pen to paper?
KP: Our brains are just massive sponges so there is always some idea stinking away up there that is a mutated amalgamation of things I have seen in real life, things that I have heard, stuff I dreamt, things I saw on the internet and silly stories my Dad told me when I was about 8. I think all these things contribute in some way to what I end up drawing.
UO: Any words of wisdom for those who want to make it as an illustrator?
KP: : Keep motivated – surround yourself with the stuff that visually stimulates you. Collect stuff. Take photos all the time. Take inspiration from everything – take notes. Make work that excites you. Show people your work – don’t be shy. Abuse the internet and the social networks. Keep a blog of the work that you make. If you don’t have any clients, come up with your own projects – these are the most fun! Keep learning. Stay original.
UO: What do you get up to when not dabbling with some doodles?
KP: : I’m pretty new to London so I guess lots of London activities – chimney sweeping, pearly queening, pigeon feeding.
UO: What’s your favorite childhood cartoon?
KP: Ren & Stimpy
UO: If you could re-create any real-life movie by animating your illustrations – which one would you go for and what animals/objects would be the main characters?
KP: There’s a film called ‘Welcome To The Dollhouse’ and the protagonist, Dawn Weiner, has some really great outfits and mopes around in some pretty inspiring late 20th century suburban America settings. WOULD LIKE TO ANIMATE!