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Thursday 13 June 2019

Meet The Illustrator : Ruth De Vos

Name: Ruth de Vos

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Colourful, layered and slightly quirky

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Good light, a cup of coffee, plenty of paper and room to spread it all out.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
It doesn’t get much better than pencil on paper, but when I’m not illustrating on paper I LOVE to make ‘illustrations’ with fabric and stitch. I do this by stitching together lots of little pieces of fabric, and incorporating some dyeing and screen-printing.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Shirley Hughes, Freya Blackwood and Leon Pericles.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
As far as illustration goes, we live in a pretty amazing period right now, with the new possibilities that digital drawing opens up. Looking back, though, I am intrigued by life and work of the illustrators that worked before photography to capture and record scientific specimens. I’m sure life was difficult, but I would love to be a fly on the wall to observe how they worked.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I spent many happy hours writing and illustrating books as a child, but only seriously revisited illustrating after many years of drawing for my textile artworks. In my textile art I love to capture children discovering and enjoying this wonderful world, which has led to a regular practice of drawing children and the spaces they inhabit.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
I have a large upstairs studio that overlooks our living and dining room. I’m a stay-at-home Mum to six children, and need to be able to monitor family life from my studio. It is also large enough to accommodate the children’s activities, if they want to be nearby. That’s where all the messy stuff happens (printing, cutting out fabric, sewing, planning). In addition, I have a beautiful vintage mess hall table in our lounge, which serves as my drawing table. I love having a space so close to the centre of the home, for drawing every day. The light is beautiful there, as are the views across the valley. I especially love to sit here and draw in the evenings right after dinner, while my husband is reading bedtime stories to the children. On my drawing table there is a set of metal drawers (to keep the mess out of sight) a beautiful wooden box containing pens, pencils and brushes, and a couple of extra pots with all my colour pencils. My sketchbook sits open on the table at all times, enticing me to come and draw.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I love making my characters move and do whatever they need to do to tell the story. Often this means getting my kids to pose so that I can capture a bunch of reference photos!

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Keep a sketchbook and draw in it everyday. There is no substitute for showing up whether or not you feel like it, or for a regular creative habit.

Ruth de Vos’ illustration work has grown out of a career as a internationally recognised textile artist. Ruth combines traditional (pencil, gouache, collage, screen printing) and digital techniques to create fun scenes and worlds. As a mother of six young children, she is an avid and discerning consumer of children’s literature, and she also has a ready source of drawing inspiration right in her home. 

Please visit Ruth's website for more information or follow her on instagram .