Today I want to share with you the bright, funky and fun designs of JLW Illustrations, founded by Jennie-Louise Whitham. Jennie is my fellow “virtual” ABSPD classmate, a designer with tremendous amount of energy, drive and passion. It is indeed a pleasure to have her on my blog.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and when/how you know you wanted a career in art?
I actually had no background or love for Art and design until I was deciding upon a college to attend. I already had my eldest child and was late to enroll for Colleges, and Leeds Art was the only place still accepting places. I believed I wanted a career in Writing or English Literature and they provided the course I wanted but I had to take at least one art based course and I decided Textiles seemed easy enough. I enjoyed Textiles more than I expected and while visiting the University campus one day I came upon the work of The Printed Textile Course, I decided there and then that I wanted to pursuit a Textiles based career. I focused hard on my A levels and took an evening course in Print making to gain some experience with Print. Most Art Degrees require A Levels and a Foundation in Art, but I attempted to get onto the course without the Foundation as I didn’t believe I needed it. It was the only course I applied for, and I was accepted. It was another 2 years until I realised my calling was in Digital Surface Pattern, and I haven’t looked back since.
What makes you apply for the ABSPD course and what have you gained so far?
During my final years at University, I became more aware of companies and other Successful Surface Pattern Designers and Rachael Taylor was one of them. I was aware she studied at Leeds Uni even contacted her to do a work placement with her, unfortunately she wasn’t taking on any placements and I kept an eye on her progress, and that Is how I found out about the course, I missed the first round of Module 1, and waited until the second round to I could save up the money to complete the course. I already had the technical abilities to become a SPD’er but lacked the business aspects, so that is what I have taken from the course most, although I have learned a few new tricks with Illustrator and Photoshop.
What inspires you?
It took me a while to realise that Geometric shapes and Nature inspires me. I used to think that I couldn’t draw and only used shapes to make my motifs, but I now know that the skill of ‘drawing’ is subjective, and I actually can draw, just in my own weird way. I still love to work with geometrics, and my influences with florals have always run deep.
How would you describe your work/style?
I would describe my work as bright and funky. I always say if I can make you smile with my designs, then I’ve won. I like clean lines, block colour and pale backgrounds. I hate to see my designs drowned out by the background, so I try keep them plain or white.
What would you say are your strongest attributes?
My Illustrator skills are quite extensive, I had an excellent tutor at University and she taught me the basics very quickly, my father also has 15 years experience in Adobe and taught me quite a bit over the years. Its a scary piece of Software to the outsider, but Im a very confident user of it.
What can we expect to see from you in future and what area do you see yourself designing for?
I’ve always said that i prefer paper based products, because Im not very fashion orientated, but my designs are actually quite versatile and Im not adverse to seeing my designs on fashion items anymore. Ideally I would love to design for Stationery products. I currently have an Etsy store, Envelop, Zazzle and Spoonflower store, and would love to expand them and make a success under my own name.
What would your dream job be?
I would love to design for Paperchase or work for Hallmark/Tigerprint.
Some items from Jennie’s shops:
To see more of JLW Illustration’s collection and to make purchases, do check out Jennie’s websites.
Thank you Jennie for allowing me to feature you. 🙂