Born in Notting Hill, West London, United Kingdom, Naomi Robinson always loved drawing. Her mother said she started drawing as soon as she could pick up a crayon. Around the age of six she remembers getting a box of 36 oil crayons and an oversized sketchbook and nearly finishing the entire sketchbook in one day. She loved to draw clowns and was fascinated with the colors, clothing, and face painting.
Now she’s a mixed media artist who mainly illustrates greeting cards, book covers, and merchandise such as t-shirts as she builds up her clientele in the children’s sector. She has two main styles that she works in. The first style includes mixing dip pen, ink, tea-stained/textured papers, watercolor, and scanned images that are finished in Photoshop, and the second style includes computer-based scanned sketches which are re-drawn in Illustrator and finished in Photoshop.
First let me thank you for taking time to do this interview. You have a very vibrant and fun illustration style that really lends itself to greeting cards. Where did that style come from?
My style is a work in progress and developing with each project. I think my style comes from my love for drawing. All my ideas come from constantly sketching. I like to focus on a strong line, pattern, complementary colors and playful compositions.
What was the first greeting card series you worked on?
I have worked on a few greetings card series some of which I self-publish. The most popular was my cupcake range, a series of 11 card designs. It’s still growing and a US card publisher has now licensed them.
Can you describe for us your start-to-finish process when working on a greeting card series?
Once commissioned by a publisher, you will receive your text or concepts. I’ll do some image research for theme or topic, then brainstorm and sketch out ideas. I may at this point send the publisher some roughs before I start final artwork. I create artwork and finally send the final artwork to the publisher or directly to their printer.
One of my favorite cards is part of the Sista to Sista collection: “Keep your head up, Never let them see it hanging low…” A beautiful card with a beautiful woman smiling. Can you tell us about the Sista to Sista project and the process you went through for creating each card?
Sister to Sister was such a special collaboration between Hudson & Brown and myself. The project was perfect for my style and the work I love to create. A brand focused on empowering women – written by women, designed by women and for women. I received the text and it instantly spoke to me visually. Hudson & Brown gave me free range to create whatever I liked because they loved what they had seen from my portfolio and truly believed in me as an artist and card maker.
I wanted the cards to be beautiful, bold, colorful and contemporary. I also aimed to keep them coherent as a series by keeping my palette limited with a neutral undertone.
Do you ever get to write the verbiage for the greeting cards or is it always given to you?
With Sister to Sister I was given most of my text, and I was lucky enough to write some of their cancer support cards such as the card entitled My Hand.
Is there any project you would like to illustrate in the future?
This year I’m eager to work on more children’s book commissions so that is my focus. I love pattern and surface design so will be doing some projects towards that also. And I’m sure I’ll create some more illustrations for Sister to Sister/Woman to Woman Greetings.
What has been your favorite project to work on?
My favorite projects are the ones that help me develop my thinking as a creative and push me to be a better illustrator. I like a challenge and when reviewing my work it is important to me to see growth and improvement.
You’ve been working as an illustrator for years; has the new technology affected how you work on new projects?
I’ve been lucky because I was growing up in the age of the computer. I first created art on a computer when I was 10 years old and as I have developed as an artist in turn computers and packages have improved, making everything easier. I think my day job as a graphics designer really helps because it always ensures I am up to speed with the latest creative applications. Although working “traditional” is great because you can’t beat the feeling and ease of drawing in a sketchpad or painting on canvas; everything ends up digital so it is very important to be versatile.
Are you currently working on any projects that we can look forward to?
I’m working on a few, a secret little book for little girls, an alphabet book project and a new online card and t-shirt shop.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank you for asking me to do this interview.
Thank your for sharing some insight on your talent. Where can people find out more information about you and your work?
My website is a good starting point as it has links to everything.
If you want to see how I work or ideas come, where I’m exhibiting or my latest achievements, my blog is very good.
I have a little Etsy shop where you can buy a few limited edition cards and products.
And finally you can all pop by and say hi via Facebook.