A freelance illustrator based just outside of London, Louise Billyard has always been inspired by travel. This nomadic nature has led to her work being featured across the creative world and a portfolio which features a vast and eclectic array of personal and professional projects.
Her Creativepool profile ranges from illustrated maps and poster design to merchandising and it’s all underlined by her unique and oddly old-school style. To gain further insight into her talent and her mind, we shine our #MemberSpotlight this week on Louise.
How did you get into the industry?
I came into the industry following a BA in Illustration at Falmouth University, which provide a great knowledge on how to make the first steps in a freelance career. This gave a me the confidence to reach out to brands and art directors which eventually lead to me getting my first few clients.
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
I’m currently based in South East London, working as a freelance illustrator represented by Friend & Johnson in North America, and the Mummy Brown illustration agency in the Uk.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
That’s a really tough question! I think I would be based in environmental/animal studies-based job role as these are strong interests I still currently hold. Another possibility would have been leaning towards the interior design industry.
Can you explain your creative process?
It’s a little chaotic but I like to think about my response to a brief for a while before I put pen to paper. This waiting period allows me to really think the multiple aspects through. It’s true that even when you eventually get your ideas out it might not be quite right but I much prefer taking a slow thought to it all over endless scribbles of compositions I know I won’t go with. From there I usually have a list of my favourite colour pallets so I flick between them before picking the best fit for the illustrations.
My personal work is slightly different as when inspiration strikes there's a lot less factors to consider so you can have fun diving into an idea without having to worry about the outcome.
How would you describe your style?
Think cinematic postcards, but turn up the texture – slightly well-travelled cinematic postcards? Despite most of my work being produced digitally I try to capture the atmosphere of a scene through tone and texture. I say postcards as not only is my work often based on my travels, but I put a lot of thought into building a scene around a subject or landscape.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
So many! Illustration wise its’s Malika Favre, James Jean, Marianna Tomaselli and Hokyoung-Kim. It’s really great to see the variety always illustration can be applied. I also feel really inspired when browsing through photography books, A favourite of mine is Cape Light by Joel Meyerowitz.
If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?
Ideally, I am my own client! I’d love the freedom to just travel, capture places, and move onto the next one. However, I’m not quite there yet! A few of my dream clients would be Air Bnb, National geographic and The New Yorker. A major goal of mine is to work on non-fiction wildlife book!
How has technology affected the way you work?
My work is almost completely digital, and I have yet to live in an era where I have in-person client briefings – so without technology I don’t know what I’d do! I work using a Macbook pro and an iPad pro with Procreate, which has really sped up my process.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
Getting up at 4am, running for 10miles, 2hrs of yoga, celery smoothie... Kidding. I do think it’s all about getting up early and trying not to take yourself, or your work, too seriously. Not everything you try is going to work first time – so just stop, breathe and have another go. It can get stressful sometimes and I’m not immune to feeling unmotivated but at the end of the day it’s just a job – get up tomorrow and have another crack.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
Ah a little frustratingly, it’s a top-secret project I’ve been working on for the last few months and I can’t wait to share it!
How do you recharge away from the office?
Just like any other normal person – I turn on some whale noises, face the sun, or moon, and scream until my throat blisters. Kidding again. A good long walk, a crackling vinyl, a glass of red and a good book. Because my work is most digital, I try to get away from screens if possible.
What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Just. Keep. Going. Trust in your own ability and that not every client is going to be right for your style. Be okay with starting small and work from there. One of my first paid works was for a local national trust property who wanted a small pin badge for a new merch range. It felt big at the time but looking back at it was really not as stressful as it needed to be.
What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?
Unpaid internships, this is essential or required for most design roles and it excludes anyone from a low-income background. How can a creative industry be diverse with only the wealthy making it to these internships?
Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
Yes! I would recommend It’s Nice That, Creative review and The Design Kids.