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Lorraine Tolmie: Artist of the Month - July 2013

Every month we highlight the work of a different artist or illustrator through the title banner of our monthly newsletter - Penorama. If you don't already receive Penorama, you can subscribe here.

Until now, only subscribers to the newsletter got to enjoy these unique banners, but this blog series is changing that. In this issue, we speak with Lorraine Tolmie, artist of the month and creator of our July banner below:

Penorama Banner - Lorraine Tolmie


Here's how it appeared in the May newsletter:

Penorama Banner vol. 6

Cult Pens: Hi Lorraine, tell us a bit more about yourself?
Lorraine: I originally studied Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art and then moved to Kingston to complete an MA in Design for Film and Television. For a few years I worked in the art departments of various film and TV production companies in graphic design, prop buying and set dressing. I loved the variety but knew that it was not the life for me. A few months in the Italian Dolomites, teaching watercolour painting in the outdoors, totally redefined my priorities. I decided to focus more on traditional techniques and revive my love for drawing, painting and printmaking. I joined a shared studio in Manchester and have spent the last couple of years focusing on creative pursuits and developing my own art.

Cult Pens: How would you describe your work?
Lorraine: My work is strongly influenced by pattern and the natural world. Most of my drawings tend to have a fantasy or dream-like element. Tiny details fascinate me - I love working on a small scale creating miniscule marks and textures so this is normally a feature of my work in some way. Rock posters, surrealism, folk art and art nouveau are all strong influences. To sum up, I would say my work is an eclectic mix of psychedelic fantasy, tribal art, symbolism and observational drawing!

Cult Pens: What got you into drawing/illustration?
I have been scribbling away from a really early age. My dad is very creative. He changed career to become a calligrapher and start his own business when I was young so we grew up surrounded by art materials. My dad would tape together dozens of sheets of paper and we would spend many contented hours drawing imaginary worlds. I suppose that's similar to what I do now!

Cult Pens: If you weren't a illustrator, what was the back-up plan?
Food is my other passion and I run a catering business with my husband. I wouldn't describe this as a back up plan but it gives me the time and flexibility to create. If I had to choose alternative work it would need to have a creative element and I would need to be working for myself.

Cult Pens: What are your favourite subjects/topics to draw?
Lorraine: Wildlife, the elements, fantasy creatures and pattern. I have a special affinity for birds, insects and sea life.

Cult Pens: Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
Inspiration is everywhere - I try to be observant and soak everything up. If you take note of all the things that appeal to you, it creates a massive resource. A lot of my drawings just start from a tiny random mark or one single element and then grow organically. It's sort of automatic drawing so I guess its an outpouring of all the things I have been storing in my visual information bank.

Cult Pens: What are you currently working on?
Lorraine: I'm currently developing a series of drawings which will be translated into etchings. Its going to be an amalgamation of nature, geometric shapes and pattern. I have a tendency to work in a lot of different styles and mediums but have decided to consolidate all these elements into a single theme. I'm quite excited! Later this year, I am also taking part in 20:20 - this is a fantastic print exchange project organised by Hot Bed Press in Manchester and involving around 30 print workshops across the UK.

Cult Pens: How long does it normally take to complete a project?
Some projects are completed in a day, others require more of a gradual process and take many months to complete. I have drawings in my sketchbook that lie dormant for years and then finally the time will be right to use them. I normally work on a few different projects concurrently. That way, if the inspiration stops flowing, I can move onto something else temporarily and still make progress.

Cult Pens: What are you top five pens or pencils?
Copic MultLiner SP, rotring Fineliner, Sakura Pigma Brush Pens, Sakura Micron Pens and the Sharpie Permanent Marker.

Cult Pens: What pen or pencil couldn't you live without?
I searched high and low for a tiny nib and then I found the Copic 0.03 Multiliner. Words cannot express how much I love this pen. Also, although I don't use them as much for drawing I have a penchant for Sharpies - they really are indispensable.

Cult Pens: Do you know when a work is finished or are you constantly tweaking?
Impatience stops me from being too much of a 'tweaker'. I like to acknowledge that something is finished and then move onto the next exciting project! That said, etching can be a really slow process requiring lots of little adjustments in many stages, but I do find that very therapeutic. So, I suppose it depends on the medium.

Cult Pens: What work are you most proud of?
The illustration of the Sanskrit verse. My mum loves this poem - she completed her doctorate a couple of years ago so my dad, brother and I collaborated on this as a present for her graduation. I had just completed a refresher course in screenprinting and this was my first project. Even though my screenprinting skills have improved I'll always love this print the most as it reminds me of family.

Sanskrit Poem - Lorraine Tolmie

Cult Pens: What tips do you have for aspiring artists/illustrators?
Lorraine: The most important advice I was ever given was to do what you love. It's easy to be influenced into producing something that is not a true reflection of yourself. Take inspiration from everywhere but don't try to emulate anything else exactly - your art should be about your own view of the world. You can't make great art without passion, so work on developing a sense of wonder and enthusiasm for the world around you.

You can see more examples of Lorraine’s work below or by visiting her website. Fantasy Bird - Lorraine Tolmie

Fox - Lorraine Tolmie

Swept Away - Lorraine Tolmie


Lorraine Tolmie

If you'd like to have your artwork featured in our newsletter, drop us a note to marketing@cultpens.com, with a link to some examples of your work.

30 June 2013


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