Olivia Brotheridge Interview


Olivia Brotheridge specialises in colourful illustrated maps, her designs are influenced by the environments around her as well as the physical process of creating. Particularly interested in the stories behind the places, the details in Olivia's maps come from interviews with locals and her experiences at street level. Olivia’s skills in printmaking inform her digital imagery; she now thinks in layers, textures and minimal colours, creating all her illustrations by hand before scanning and putting them together.

Tell us a fun fact about you I'm a hippy at heart - I grew up practicing Transcendental Meditation and I'm a lifelong veggie.

How did you get into illustration? I've always loved art, and, well, I was just drawn to it! I studied Illustration at uni, specialising in printmaking and haven't stopped since. My mum is an art teacher and her parents are both painters, so it's definitely in my blood.


Who or what inspires you the most? My desire to interpret stories and experiences pushes me to create, I'm always curious and wanting to develop my process and style. I love looking at other printmakers from around the world and seeing how they use colour, texture and overlay. My brilliant creative friends are always inspiring too, if we have a free day we set each other little projects.

What does a typical day look like for you? Mostly at my desk! I try to work physically as much as possible, with brush and ink or making paper cut stencils. I try to make sure I get out for a bike ride or a walk with a friend so I don't go crazy.

What do you do when you have a creative block? I'm not sure if I've ever had creative block (touch wood), but if I'm really stuck on a creative problem I'll meditate - the answer sometimes seems obvious afterwards.


Top three clients you've worked with? I recently worked with Burberry on a bag personalisation project, I enjoyed really focusing on hand lettering for that. I've worked with The Big Draw on a number of projects and totally love them and everything they stand for. Most of my maps have been privately commissioned, those clients have been absolutely amazing, trusting me and giving me loads of creative freedom.

What tools (digital or not!) do you use to create your work? For this piece I mixed up my materials to give different textures and marks, mostly painting with black ink, or pencil, using a light box to get the multiple layers and then scanning to colour and build up the image in Photoshop.

What's your favourite resource for inspiration? Instagram, and a few great artists books that I have.


Do you have any tips for artists thinking of doing freelance? Work hard and do what you love and it will shine through in your work. Find your niche, build up connections, join the Association of Illustrators who can give advice on building folio and how to approach working professionally as an illustrator. Keep a part time job until you get the ball rolling.

What would your dream project be? Travel illustration! Getting to visit wonderful places, meet people and draw.

How can fans keep up-to-date with your work? Instagram


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