MEET THE ILLUSTRATOR – AUGUST – GEMMA CORRELL
My goodness where to begin! You have your fingers in so many pies it’s impossible to keep up. Did you ever think that you would be the huge illustration sensation that is “Gemma Correll” we see today?!
Well, to be honest, I don't feel like an "illustration sensation" - I'm just at home, drawing and eating peanut butter out of the jar most of the time. I never expected to make a career out of art and even now that I have, I'm still amazed that I actually get paid for my doodles.
When did you first start getting into illustration? We don’t mean scribbling on walls as a child, more of when you realised that you could maybe make a career out of it?! Have you always had the creative itch?
I didn't scribble on walls - I was a very well-behaved child (OK, so I did doodle in the margins of ALL of my school work, to the point where my teacher had to buy me a special sketchbook to transfer my doodles into). I made my own comics at school (I photocopied them in the school office, sellotaped penny sweets to the front cover and sold them to my classmates for 20p), and I had a monthly comic page in my church newsletter. I knew that it could be a career, but I didn't really think that it was something I could do - everyone I knew had a practical job, like being a nurse or a teacher, so I thought I would probably do something like that. I still spent all of my time drawing and writing but it was something I felt compelled to do, as a kind of hobby. I ended up at art school almost by default (I dropped out of some other university courses and didn't know where else to go) but even then I didn't think that I could make a career from art - I planned to become a teacher. It wasn't until I was actually getting commissioned for illustration jobs that I finally accepted the fact that I had become "an illustrator".
We think 20p for a comic is an absolute steal to be honest. We all recognise your use of black and red coloured inks in your illustrations, when did this come about? And what made you stick to a limited palette?
I like simplicity in art, so the limited palette is part of that, along with my simple linework. It's graphic and easy to read. Also, I used to have a very cheap and bad scanner and the only colours that it would scan properly were red and black.
We absolutely love your books and stationery, and are super excited to show everyone your Papergang box! Which projects have you enjoyed working on the most and do you have anything coming up that you could share with us?!
I love working on my own comics and personal work (a lot of which ends up on my Ohh Deer cards and products) - I'm currently working on a graphic book about my experiences with phobias - which may not sound like a funny subject, but I'm endeavoring to inject some humour into it!
In terms of dream clients, who would you love to illustrate for?! (Other than us, I know, we are pretty cool)
I'd love to work for Disney. I'm pretty obsessed with old Disney cartoons and the theme parks. My ultimate dream would be a Mr Pickles themed ride. Maybe like the Dumbo flying elephant ride at Disney World, but with pugs...
Do let us know when this Mr Pickles ride goes ahead as we do like to get out of the office. We thought to break up the pace a bit we have popped some quick-fire questions below. We went around the office and this is what people wanted to know (Some are a bit strange but it makes things interesting right?!).
If you were to be a mythical creature what would you be? Adding to this, what mythical universe would you like to live in?
I think I would be Medusa, with the ability to turn internet trolls into stone. I'd live in a mythical universe where people are actually nice to each other (can you imagine?!).
What is your favourite drawing implement?
Drawing in the sand with a stick is probably the most fun, but practically speaking - a Uniball eye pen.
Of all the amazing places you have been in your career, which one stood out to you the most? (Was it Stoke*?)
Well, apart from Stoke... Probably Singapore. It was such a fascinating place. Also, I had my first taste of durian fruit there; an experience that I feel has forever changed me.
*Gemma and the creative team went to Stoke earlier in the year to paint some mugs, it was quite the experience.
What is the best thing about your job?
Being able to work at home, in my pyjamas.
Would you rather cry olive oil or sweat vinegar?
Cry olive oil. I love olive oil - and it can be pricey so I'd appreciate a free supply (I'm assuming that I would cry a good quality Greek virgin olive oil rather than a Tesco Value one). Also it's good for the skin, I hear.
A BIG question – cats or dogs?
Dogs. Specifically, Pugs. I do like cats, too - but pugs are my soulmates.
And as a final note – If you had a chance to go back in time and visit your 10 year old self, what would you say to them?
Hello, 10 year old Gemma! Nice glasses. Keep drawing and writing - you might not believe it right now, but you're actually going to make a career out of it one day. Also, believe it or not- in a few years, you are going to be a DOG PERSON!