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- author Jackie French

Thursday 24 October 2019

Meet The Illustrator: Jane Carlisle

Name: Jane Carlisle

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Whimsical, fun, humorous, emotional, loose, messy, intuitive, colourful, endearing.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I need my sketchbooks all around me for inspiration, my favourite watercolours to capture ideas, my best carbon ink pen and also black ink brush pen, my gelli plate and high flow acrylics and a few types of watercolour papers.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Ooooh that’s a hard question. I am predominantly a mixed media artist. I use whatever I can get my hands on, often the first thing I lay eyes on to get started and then I move into whatever seems right for the artwork emerging. It usually tells me how it wants to be. I do love watercolours but I am not an accomplished watercolourist. I use them to get my message across because they are so emotionally meaningful with the colours and the way the water interacts with the paper, especially cold pressed paper.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Jane Davenport
Carla Sonheim
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
The pre-Raphaelite period. Those painters were into fairy tales and myths and legends!

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
Originally I think fairy tales inspired me to have a go at drawing, I always loved my Arthur Rackham fairy tale book and from there I remember being super impressed by Alan Lee who is well known for bringing Tolkien stories to life. I always felt frustrated with my efforts until I joined up with Jane Davenport and learnt to let go of the outcome and just enjoy the process. Her teaching gave me the confidence boost I needed to let go of inner expectations (still a constant struggle) and have fun with art again like I did as a child.

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 recently hired a space in Ripple Art Studio at Port Adelaide which is not far from my home. Before that I have had a room in my house but with kids getting older that went by the wayside this year. I would prefer having an art space at home but in the meantime, I have a small space in a big old heritage building with other artists around some of the time. 

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?Having the ideas and then getting the ideas down onto paper and seeing how they want to be in the world. Playing with paint and water and paper is my favourite part of the whole thing. I love the unexpected and the happy accident. I rarely plan things out in advance. I like to hear what the artwork is saying to me rather than orchestrate it all by myself.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
As much as possible, draw every day or close to it, there are events such as Inktober, 100 day challenge and Mab's Drawolleen to keep you going or make up your own prompt list. Join up with other artists where you can online such as Sketchbook Skool, Skillshare or an artist who teaches and has online classes that you like. Try and meet up with other artists in person. Keep some of your illustrations just for you but also post on Instagram. Participate in joint exhibitions (less pressure). It is OK to copy or be inspired by others but remember to acknowledge them in your sketchbooks or if you post the work publicly. Make your own sketchbooks with your favourite paper.
Try new things as you go along and are drawn to them.

Jane loves to dream of and paint up whimsical images and stories especially those based on fairy tales old and new and is delighted that other people also enjoy her enthusiasm for the genre. The art room is a sacred space where Jane can explore the world of emotions through colour and imagery.
For more information please follow Jane on her instagram.