With all the crazy events happening around us lately and the world becoming more and more unpredictable, it is tempting to just shut off the constant stream of stress and misfortune and focus on something beautiful and positive for a change. Painting, traveling and just enjoying a sunnier outlook on life is something that shines through Rosie Harbottle’s work, who is our guest this week. A Devon-based illustrator, Rosie’s work is full of bohemian chic. Whether it’s wedding invitations, beautifully painted leather jackets or dreamy Moroccan cityscapes, it all lets you forget the daily grind for a moment and soak in the harmony and beauty instead. She shares her story here with us about how it all started and what life is like as an artist.
What was your inspiration for becoming an illustrator and how did it all begin?
I’ve always been encouraged to explore my creativity ever since I was very young, my mother is an artist herself and studied fashion so I’ve always been surrounded by art, pattern and colour. My mum collects fabrics and is a huge fan of the works of William Morris as well as an advocate for the Arts & Crafts movement so I’m sure it has undoubtedly influenced me!
At school, I was obsessed with art and sport and was rather good at running, winning county sports days and so forth but after smashing my knee in my teens and then moving to Devon shortly after and attending a much more creative school than previously, art seemed the natural direction for me though I could never imagine that I could realistically make a living from it. After my A-levels I decided to go train to be a Primary School teacher specialising in Art & Design but realised quite quickly that I just wasn’t ready for it. I then took a year out and travelled and thought that perhaps Graphic Design was the route for me so I did a year of a degree and ended up finding the illustration studios and something struck a chord with me and I realised that was what I was supposed to do. Third time lucky and I finally graduated and in doing so found my passion!
What do you do and where do you go to find fresh new ideas?
I’m involved in so many different projects that those in themselves spark new ideas, I’m a rather restless person so quite often I’ll be working on one project and it will spark a new idea and then all I want to do is work on the next thing, I’m forever in this cycle. I also love to travel and I’m lucky that I head out to Marrakech to work with Boutique Souk often and I always come back feeling so inspired from all the incredible patterns and colours.
What do you enjoy most and least about being an illustrator and working for yourself?
I’m obsessive about creating so I love that I get to do it every day and I gain great satisfaction that I make a living from doing what I love – as cliched as that may sound. The least enjoyable thing is that I’m obsessive and an absolute workaholic which means I haven’t really had any time off for 18 months and having a full weekend off is a luxury, I’m trying to learn balance…
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from someone?
Hmmm, I’m quite stubborn so don’t often to listen to advice, I’d rather learn from my own mistakes however there’s a lot of artists and creatives that I look up to on Instagram so if ever they give advice I always listen!
What motivates you to do what you do and to follow your dream?
I’m motivated by an innate desire to better myself, better my work and better my life. I almost feel like I’m in competition with myself in terms of never being 100% satisfied with a piece of work so I’ll be motivated to do better than the last, it’s quite an exhausting cycle really but one that I love!