Sunday, May 06, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 4

Buy Handmade; Behind the Scenes brings you:

Name: Kate Hindley
Age: 26
Occupation: Illustrator

Tell us about yourself:
I am an illustrator currently living and working in Birmingham, UK. Day to day I mostly work on commercial kids publishing projects, but when I get time I like to make cards, prints and collaborate on zine which I sell through my etsy shop. When I was small I either wanted to be a puppeteer or a professional coloured-inner, so I'm very pleased I currently have the opportunity to do the latter :)

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I've been working part time freelance on my own projects since 2009, but things went quite well last year so I've recently taken the leap into full time illustrating. My etsy shop has been open for about three years. I set up shop when I joined the Girls Who Draw for their second postcard book "Menagerie" ( and needed a place to promote my work. Since then I've worked on cards and prints in my spare time. I've found the etsy community very friendly and supportive, and I think its a great way for a freelancer to promote themselves and get their work out into the world.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I really like anything with great characters and good sense of humour. I read lots of Richard Scarry as a kid which is where the obsession with animals in jumpers probably stems from. There's quite a lot of kids telly I like too (although I'm really nowhere near patient enough to be an animator). Bob Godfrey is my favourite and I think Henry's Cat is absolutely brilliant. I like the Magic Roundabout (If you've never seen "Dougal and the Blue Cat" I highly recommend it, but its quite scary so make sure to watch it with the lights on), and also the Russian take on Winnie the Pooh, which is very, very pretty. I have a stack of children's books from all over the place (I'm not remotely multilingual, I just like looking at the pictures.) Editions du Rouergue make excellent children's picture books.

How would you describe your creative process?
When I'm designing cards I like to take a good long while looking through my scrap books and "misc jpeg" files on my computer, which are crammed with screen shots of all sorts of things that I like the look of. I sometimes go back through some of my old sketchbooks as there are often tiny ideas of characters that I've forgotten about. There tends to be an awful lot of pondering and head scratching, which is then hopefully followed by a eureka moment, and then I have to run with it as quickly as possible before I forget about it or get too fussy.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I must admit I'm not overly adventurous or flashy. When I'm not illustrating I quite like walking my dog. My grandma recently gave me her old sewing machine, so I've had quite a fun time tinkering with that at weekends. I don't really make anything that would be particularly exciting for anyone else, but I find the process of covering the entire studio floor in baking paper, cloth, chalk, pins, and french curves quite good fun. The worst bit is tidying up. That's rubbish!

What is your most cherished handmade item?
I'm not very good at favourite questions (I am a bit indecisive) but I really like all the bits and bobs that family and friends have made me.  My parents have been good in helping me out crafting things too. Mum is a life saver and helps me out with all my sewing, and I really enjoy working with my dad on some of my wooden characters for exhibitions.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully still doodling for a living! Commercially I've only illustrated other people's stories for picture books up to now, so I'd really like to get writing myself. I'd love to find time to expand on the cards in my etsy shop, and perhaps have a go at some more textile pieces, as I really enjoyed working on my Edgar and Erma cushions.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about starting their own shop?
I say go for it! Etsy is a great place to start, as the community they've set up is an easy to navigate and very accessible. I'd start off with a small number of products and go from there. You'll soon see from sales and feedback what people like specifically about your work, and then roll with it!