Artist Focus | Jessica Smith
last updated 24 February 2021
Jessica Smith is an English illustrator who enjoys playing with shapes, shadows and layering her work to create fun and bold imagery. Jessica’s style is vibrant and decorative - but if you look a little closer you’re bound to find hidden meaning laced throughout. Read on to find out more about Jess and her illustrations in the Q&A below…
Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations?
I find a lot of my inspiration from things around me, plants, people and places. I love playing with scale and colour, and find a lot of my inspiration comes from colour combinations I see in everyday life, whether that be an outfit, colours of a flower or the colours of a building. I really do believe that you can get inspiration from everything around you, all you have to do is look!
What inspired you to be an illustrator?
It wasn’t until I was half way through my art foundation course that I realised that I wanted to be an illustrator and that I could even possibly make a living out of it (although back then I didn’t have a clue how I would do that!). I started to make work that tailored itself towards illustration briefs and really fell in love with the process. Thats when I decided I wanted to study illustration more and applied to Falmouth University!
How do your surroundings impact your creative work?
Massively! It’s taken me a long time to get a space that I’m truly happy and comfortable working in. I love having lots of lovely colourful artwork all over the wall, plants on shelves and lots of fun storage and furniture to keep my products organised. I find that having a space that echoes my work keeps me motivated to make new work. It also acts as a really great place for me to take photos for my instagram and shop too!
What aspect of your job do you most enjoy?
I love seeing projects come to life, and getting copies of books in particular! I really enjoy seeing how it all comes together after seeing it on a screen for so long. I also really love designing products for my Etsy and running an online shop.
How do you work through a creative block?
If I’m having a bit of a creative block I find it really beneficial to take a bit of a break and give my work a bit of space while I come up with new ideas or re-think existing projects. I also find it helps if I switch up the medium that I’m working in, for example, if I’m working digitally it helps if I switch to doing some painting and vice versa.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
The best piece of advice that I have for someone just starting out is to just make work that you really enjoy making, your enjoyment will be reflected in your work which tends to make it stronger! Fill your portfolio with things you would happily make again to attract similar commissions.
How has Bright made a difference to your career?
Joining Bright has been the best decision ever. Since day one I’ve had so much support from all of the agents, its like one big family! They’ve given me opportunities that I would have never gotten on my own and its helped me grow as an illustrator so much. One thing that I find so invaluable is the way that Bright gets my work seen by so many people, from book fairs to advertising and mailing lists, its just so amazing to have a huge team of people showing off your work for you!
Jess Smith is represented by Helen Biles — to work with Jess please get in touch. You can see more of Jess’ work in her portfolio here.