Interview with nature loving illustrator Clover Robin
Clover Robin is a London based Illustrator who delights in nature and all things botanical, inspired by a childhood of woodland walks, countryside rambles and fossil hunting by the sea.
Having recently commissioned Clover for a new book – Botanical Brain Balms, we chatted with her to find out more about her creative process.
Why did you decide to take up illustration?
I kind of did by accident, a publisher saw my work and I got asked to illustrate a book and it went from there. I studied Surface pattern Design at Leeds College of Art and Design and went onto to do a Masters in Future Textile Design which reaffirmed my passion for a craft based approach to design, I like to work on all sorts of projects not just illustration, but artwork for fashion, interiors, branding and editorial stuff too. I want my work to carry across lots of different projects and keep my practice as multidisciplinary as possible.
What does your average day involve?
It starts with a huge cup of tea and ‘to do’ list for the day. If I’ve got projects on the go I usually paint and source some papers in preparation for this, and then check my admin and email bits while they dry. This can zap hours of the day so I try and be strict with myself and keep this to an hour or so. As I work from home ”m finding it more and more essential to get out for fresh air and to see other human beings, so i try to get out for a quick stroll every couple of hours. Other than that you will find me at my desk, snipping, scanning, researching and listening to podcasts ( a newly discovered treat) until i feel ready to stop, which can be late if I’m on a roll or have deadlines due. I also have a little Etsy shop and sell cards to galleries and shops as well, so every couple of evenings i’ll be wrapping and sealing prints with my long suffering and very lovely partner Kev.
What is your creative process and where do you look for inspiration
Pretty much everywhere but I have always been heavily inspired by nature and the natural world. I grew up in Devon with a family who loved to get out and about so this has always stayed with me. I’m never happier than when I’ve got a sketchbook, bag full of sniping and a beautiful big view in front of me. I have always been a fan of Mid century modern design and folk art too. There are too many influences and inspirational artists to mention but Paul Rand, Charlie Harper and John Piper are a few of my favourites.
I have always been heavily inspired by nature and the natural world... I'm never happier than when I've got a sketchbook, bag full of sniping and a beautiful big view in front of me.
You’ve worked on with some amazing brands from the National Trust to Paul Smith, what has been you favourite project to date?
I’ve really enjoyed all the projects I’ve done, they have been so brilliant, creative and varied, so that is a tricky one! I love making kids picture books and helping to tell a story, but also really enjoy the immediacy creating spot graphics for branding and fashion. Botanical Brain Balms is one of my first more adult illustration book projects and I love seeing my work in a slightly more grown up context, and such a beautifully written and designed publication!
How do you get past creative blocks?
Usually by either completely saturating myself with some of my favourite artists artworks and books, exhibitions and visuals or by switching off completely and forcing myself to do something completely unrelated. I work a couple of days a week in a museum gift shop and it is so good to focus on something pretty removed from what i spend most of working week doing. Sometimes I force a collage or two and they are so awful I know I just need to get up, walk away and go and dance in the kitchen for a couple of hours, they usually look much better when i’ve blown off a bit of steam.
How do you switch off?
I’m still working on this, but getting out of London and into some nature really does the trick at the moment, the pub with pals is a winner too.
A big thank you to Clover Robin for contributing to our series of interviews with industry experts.