JW: Have you always been an illustrator?
RK: My dad’s a painter so I’ve always been around creativity, although growing up there was a part of me that was like ‘I don’t want to do it’, for some reason. My brother was really artistic too and used to write books as a kid and draw out all of the characters, which again I thought was super-nerdy. Yet when it came to going to university I ended up doing illustration. Oddly, after graduation I fell out of love with it again, but here we are a few years later and I’m completely obsessed.
JW: What was it that you fell out of love with?
RK: I think it was working in a school environment; it takes some of the creativity out of it. They ask you to explain this bit, or explain that bit, and it makes it all too cerebral and you just end up wanting to make art. I knew I was ultimately going to end up doing it so I just allowed myself to try some other things first…and then got bored.
JW: Do you find yourself drawing for the fun of it now?
RK: Definitely. I watch things all the time, not in a creepy way, I’m just always watching. I’ll remember something and think ‘why did you spend all that time looking at that, it’s pointless’, then I’ll find that six weeks later it turns up in an illustration. Actually I don’t draw as much as I did, if I’m stuck I’ll just paint a load of shapes and imagine what they are. That sounds sort of silly saying it out loud…
JW: Is your work a combination of hand-rendered and digital work?
RK: It used to be all painting, and I’d work like I was on Photoshop but by hand, it would be so time consuming and yet yielded really lovely results. Then I got a Wacom tablet and it changed everything. I could do everything on the computer, I’ll still sketch first to get my composition down but then everything is digital after that.
I keep a massive bank of painted textures on file that get incorporated into the work so it doesn’t feel too cold. There are a lot of people who are really good at that crisp, digital style, but I’m not one of them. I don’t really use vectors; I like to have that slightly imperfect thing going on.
JW: What is it that you are watching for, is it colours, or movements? What sticks out in your mind?
RK: I think it’s the colour! Which seems a silly thing to say because I wear black all the time. I really enjoy people that wear lots of bright colours, maybe it’s me wishing I’d be more like them…I’m just a big starer, my parents used to call me The Owl!
JW: Do you have studio or are you able to work from all over?
RK: I quite like the peace and quiet of working at home, but then again you never know what you are going to get from a conversation in the studio. You might be stuck and someone might say something completely irrelevant, but it helps. I need a bit of that otherwise I get too inside my own head. You need a bit of social intervention.
JW: How is it being based in Brighton?
RK: I grew up here, and then moved to Cornwall for seven years, first for uni at Falmouth and then I just stayed there. I thought I’d be there forever and be a rad surfer girl or something…but I never actually went into the sea. I’m very fortunate to have lived by the sea my whole life but I’m actually moving to London at the end of the month. I’ll just have to go and sit by the Thames wearing rose tinted glasses or something.
JW: Why are you moving?
RK: It’s just time. I have been taking things slow and need to pick up the pace a bit. I was never a city girl and then loads of my friends live there now, and each time I’ve visited I’ve loved it more and more. Eventually, I felt myself getting bored back here so decided it was time to give it a go.
JW: Talk us through the images you’ve produced that are inspired by our latest campaign Spring Vibes.
RK: Winter, some people love it, but I find it so depressing. What I wanted to get with these images was a sense of new life and fresh air. I got a bit obsessed with plants in these too and through flowers, it’s the world popping up and saying ‘we’re still here, we survived’. I knew the clothes were going to be important too, and I wanted them to feature in it, but it was about capturing both stillness and energy at the same time. I was inspired by the pastels of Notting Hill too; my work had become quite saturated, so it was nice to key it back as well. My favourite image is the one of the dog from the campaign – he’s very sweet.