Carrie Dennison, using Faber-Castell PITT artist pens, is the talent behind the banner for the November 2019 issue of Penorama. As usual, we were nosy, and asked her for a bit of background.
Tell us a bit more about yourself…
I’m Carrie Dennison and I’m a self-employed graphic designer, illustrator and community art teacher. I’ve lived in lots of different places, including living and working for a year in north east Germany, but I have finally settled down in north east England, where I’ve been living for just over 20 years. I live with my wonderful partner, Tony, who is also a Celtic knotwork artist. He creates beautiful stone and cast metal decorative plaques.
How would you describe your work?
It's varied: I do lino printing, hand drawn illustration and digital illustration, and I work with different themes in each medium. My lino prints are usually of landscapes or architecture, my hand drawn illustration is usually Celtic knotwork and my digital illustration is usually esoteric.
What got you into drawing?
I have always drawn! My dad is a retired draughtsman and my mum paints. I think it’s in the genes!
If you weren’t an artist, what was the back-up plan?
I absolutely love learning languages; I have a degree in German and have studied many other languages over the years as well. I’m currently learning Spanish and I’m also studying for a Teaching English as a Foreign Language DipHE equivalent. So, if things had gone differently in the late 1990s I probably would have become either a modern language teacher or a translator.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
We live in a wonderful part of the country; the north Pennines, the Cheviots, the Northumberland coast and the beautiful architecture of Durham and Newcastle are all within easy reach. There’s so much here to inspire!
What are you currently working on?
As far as personal projects go, I’m working on my second book! At the end of October last year I brought out my Celtic Knotwork Colouring Book which was the result of two years' work. It was really well received and I have had lots of requests for a second one. I’m aiming to release my second book towards the end of next year.
How long does it normally take to complete a project?
My lino prints generally take about 15 hours of work, much more if they are multi-coloured rather than black and white. My illustrations can be anywhere between 15 and 40 hours of work.
What are your top 5 pens/pencils?
1. My trusty old Pentel P209 0.9mm mechanical pencil that I’ve had for over 30 years! I use HB lead with this 2. Staedtler 2mm mechanical pencil, which I use with a 2B lead 3. Faber Castell PITT artist pens, sizes XS, S and F 4. Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils 5. Derwent Graphitint watercolour pencils
Do you know when a work is finished or are you constantly tweaking?
Yes, I know when a work is finished as soon as I want to show it to someone else. Similarly, if I'm happy to show an 'in progress' picture online, then I know I'm going in the right direction. Until then… keep working!
What work are you most proud of?
My book. It was a lot of hard work and as I self-published it I needed to push myself, stay motivated and keep to my self-imposed deadlines. I did it and I’m really proud of it.
What tips do you have for aspiring artists/designers?
Don’t be afraid to experiment – making mistakes is the best way to learn and to develop your style. Playing and experimenting in a sketchbook sparks off ideas and associations that can help you with a larger piece of work later. No-one else has to see what you’ve created unless you choose to show it to them, so play, smoosh paint around, scribble, and most importantly, enjoy yourself!
You can see more of Carrie's work - and her book! - on the interweb: