We are super excited to be launching our next limited edition jigsaw puzzle with Emmy Lupin, illustrator behind Emmy Lupin Studio. We asked Emmy some questions; from her passion projects to her fave restaurant.
Where do you come from and how did you start a career in illustration?
I'm from Nottingham, and I studied advertising at Bournemouth Uni many moons ago. I always wanted to do something creative, but I didn't want to be a designer - so studying advertising seemed a good place to start as it combined my love of words with creativity. However, the course actually wasn't creative, and it led me to becoming an account manager at design agencies for around 5 years. Within this time I went travelling, and lived abroad for a couple of years - I have always been drawing and a friend of mine suggested I start a private Instagram account just to post some drawings for myself. I didn't even know illustration was a thing, never mind a career to be honest! I don't know anyone else who does this, so I had to learn on the go quite a lot. This was around 2 years ago now. My Instagram grew, I opened an Etsy shop to sell some prints, and organically over time I became busier and busier. I started to get client commissions coming in, and over time I cut down my days at my account management job to become a freelance illustrator. I'm still on that journey, but now I can't imagine illustration not being in my life. I can't believe I ever thought I wanted to do anything else!
Tell us about the inspiration behind your illustrations
One of my early illustrations that became one of my most popular states 'I am constantly inspired by the women around me', and quite honestly this is very true. I'm inspired by social interactions - how women walk through life experiencing friendship, work, money, fashion, family, books... or even having a cup of tea. Sat on the sofa with your mate having a deep and meaningful chat, maybe experiencing a microaggression at work, being paid differently to your male counterparts, fantasising about a dress you really want. It sounds weird, but I like my illustrations to reflect real life but in a charming, empowered way. I want people to look at them and feel they've been seen, but also to feel positive, and that we can change those things we don't agree with. I'm also heavily inspired by fashion and interiors - I'm obsessed with pattern and colour and how these two things go hand in hand to create something visually stimulating.
What has been your favourite project to work on?
I think my favourite project so far has to be the first full book I worked on, The Philosopher Queens. The brief was to illustrate portraits of the female philosophers in the book, and some of these women are from before the time we had photography. I had to illustrate what I thought they would look like, and it's one of the first times they've been in a book like this. The diversity amongst the women was amazing to put into illustration, trying to capture their personalities. It's one of my proudest moments to date.
What do you do to relax and have a mindful moment?
Often drawing is super relaxing for me - once I've ironed out the sketches and I'm colouring, I find I can do that and be quite calm. Otherwise I like cooking as a way to wind down, away from a screen!
Ooh this one is super hard! I like somewhere that has a nice vibe, Bar Iberico in Nottingham is a good tapas restaurant and I'd often go there with some friends after work for drinks and food, my favourite type of evening.
Small brand shout-out! Please name your fave three indie brands.
Limpet Store - I bought a T-shirt for my boyfriend from Limpet one Christmas, and have since bought myself many presents from there too which I wear all the time. Embroided Lizzo on a jumper? Yes please. https://www.limpetstore.com/
Lastly, what exciting project or positive thing is happening in the future for you, personally or professionally?
There are lots of exciting things ahead! I'm working on a couple of book projects at the moment which I love, and I have another one due later in the year. I'll be working on some new, different types of products in my shop which I'm excited about and I've got some plans to start doing some long form content/resources to help out illustrators who are just starting out.