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Illustration Showcase of Inspiration Amy Bradley

Amy Bradley is an illustrator working from her studio in Uttoxeter, she loves drawing so much she describes that “it’s my weakness!” Amy believes that her work is the best at developing characters and she loves creating hand drawn typography. So far her work and illustrations have been used for all greetings cards, children’s stories, short stories “or wherever a client might find a home for them!”

Everyday is new learning curve and you never know what’s coming next… I don’t know what the future holds but I do know I’m going to grab every opportunity that comes my way and thank my lucky stars for everyday I get to draw!” -Amy Bradley

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“I create all my illustrations by hand using a uni pin fine line pen and depending on the brief I often layer them with collage, other coloured fine liners and pencil crayons. I then scan them into Photoshop and drop in more colour. Colour is very important to me as I don’t like to take the obvious route and I work towards building unusual and unthought-of colour palettes.”

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“From a very young age I always remember being totally absorbed in books, not necessarily what they said (sadly!) but more what the pictures looked like. I used to sit for hours studying the illustrations and I would try to draw them for myself. I always loved looking for extra details an illustrator might have added, you know the ones, you have to really look to find them. Some of my first fave books were “The Jolly Postman”, “Farmyard Tales” and “The Tales of Beatrix Potter”. As I got older, any Roald Dahl or Jacqueline Wilson would hit the spot as I loved the work of Quentin Blake and Nick Sheratt, and still very much do.

My influences come from all around, everyday life and the people I meet. I’m always on the look out for my next source of inspiration and like to look in unlikely places. When creating a new character it is more of a case of getting into character. I’ll think long and hard about who the person is, how I’m going to bring them to life and I even find myself pulling the facial expressions I think they might use!”

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“Having had such a strong interest in Art from an early age it was only a natural progression for me to take it at GCSE and then to follow on with AVCE Art. At this particular time I had a group of fantastic Art Teachers (They know who they are!) and they taught me the basic survival techniques for a life in Art. They banged on about how you must “Eat, Sleep and Drink Art” something I often think about when fatigue kicks in…to be in this you need stamina!

Following on, I had it in my head I wanted to be an Art Teacher so I needed a degree and to be honest I didn’t really mind what it was in as long as it was varied and creative. In the end, I ended up doing a BA HONs in Surface Pattern Design at Staffordshire University. For a while I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was even there for but the turning point came for me in the 2nd year. We were introduced to pattern making and developing your own style, no longer did a drawing need to look like the exact object. I found out it’s actually a good thing for your work to have it’s own style/look…eureka! So I spent the rest of my time their slowly developing mine and started to indulge in developing my very first characters (I’m guessing this relates back to all those children’s books I looked at!) and another fascination developed: hand drawn typography. In fact when I look back, this was probably one of my most exciting times and one I would love to introduce to budding students.”

“I had a group of fantastic Art Teachers (They know who they are!) and they taught me the basic survival techniques for a life in Art. They banged on about how you must “Eat, Sleep and Drink Art” something I often think about when fatigue kicks in…to be in this you need stamina!” -Amy Bradley

“Anyway, I got my degree and got on to a PGCE, as after all, all I wanted to be was a teacher or not! Next was a really hard decision for me and one I wasn’t expecting to be faced with but teaching wasn’t to be…For me I felt like the worlds biggest hypocrite standing up being passionate (very passionate!) about my subject telling the kids to follow their dream when I hadn’t had a go at it myself, so I left. I didn’t know what my dream was but sadly it wasn’t full-time teaching!

The years to follow, to put it briefly have been colourful…I’ve dipped my toe in many things (still related to my field!) but nothing really clicked, the little voice in my head said life’s too short not to spend it doing what you love! At the start of last year I was at the end of my tether…it was make or break for me…I knew I wanted to draw for a living, I knew I wanted to do it my way, I knew I’d gained a colourful bit of experience and I had spoken to a lot of people. The answer was obvious…set-up on your own! Amy Bradley Illustration & Design! My website went live last summer and at the end of last year I took rent on my first ‘studio’. I can honestly say I haven’t looked back since (something has clicked!). And yes OK it is an onwards battle, everyday is new learning curve and you never know what’s coming next or who’s going to drop you an email but that’s great for me…I don’t know what the future holds but I do know I’m going to grab every opportunity that comes my way and thank my lucky stars for everyday I get to draw!”

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Follow Amy Bradley on her Website, Blog, Facebook & @amy_brad1.