Full-time Designer and freelance Illustrator Lisa Maltby studied Visual Communications at Loughborough University and Art and Design at Bradford College. Now Sheffield-based, this well-travelled creative originally grew up in West Yorkshire.
From a pair of dark eyes framed by a shocking pink fringe that declares ‘be yourself’, to a dandelion with the word ‘hope’ nestled in the bud, Lisa‘s work boasts a down-to-earth charm.
Lisa often blends illustration with words, sometimes even placing the letters slap-bang in the middle of the drawing, and making the words and pictures work together as part of the piece. We’re loving her unique style, and we’re particularly enamoured with her northern style Xmas cards.
We spoke to Lisa about a whole bunch of stuff from clients to children’s books:
How do you create your illustrations?
I create my illustrations by drawing them in pen, scanning them in and then adding textures and colours. I used to work purely by hand and I found this quite limiting as I have a tendency to overwork things and I missed the ‘undo’ tool. I love the way colours can be enhanced and compositions can be moved around digitally, but there is nothing quite as appealing as hand drawn line so I combine them both! I use my sketchbooks for reference and I collect images of various textures and photographic elements to use within my illustrations.
Tell me about Leap Design.
I have been a graphic designer at Leap Design in Sheffield for 7 years, working with a wide range of clients and brands. I love combining graphic design with illustration as the two work together hand in hand, and this has helped me to develop my illustration style in terms of composition and use of typography. It’s great to have a good balance; working alongside a team to bounce ideas off, as well as working on personal projects on my own.
Do you think of Sheffield as a creative hub?
Apparently Sheffield has the most artists’ studios outside of London and that doesn’t surprise me. I always meet new artists and designers here and I am never short of an exhibition to go and see. There’s also a lot of amazing street art in Sheffield that inspires my illustrations too.
How do you promote your work?
A lot of it is done through social media which has been great for getting my work out there, but because a lot of my work is so detailed I think it needs to be appreciated in person which is why I am always on the lookout for new places to exhibit and sell my work. I also find that building good relationships with clients and buyers is key, once a client knows you can be trusted they are also more likely to recommend me to other people.
What do you think the relationship is between words and illustration?
An illustration is just that; a visual description of something, whether that’s a thought, an idea or written word. Sometimes an illustration needs just one word or a sentence to give it understanding, and sometimes text needs a picture to bring it to life. I love using typography within my illustrations; I like the shape of the letter forms and how they can add to a composition or bring the picture a different visual interest. I’m also passionate about writing and I write various blogs, poetry and children’s books so hopefully my love of words make my illustrations better.
What’s your favourite shop?
There are quite a few vintage shops in Sheffield that are like caves of hidden treasure! I love getting lost in them and finding really unique things – I could spend hours there. They also have great coffee shops in them so not only do I get retail therapy but I get to eat nice cake too,
What’s your dream commission?
I’m currently sending my children’s books to publishers and I would be over the moon if I were successful. In reality I think there is no such thing as a dream commission because there will always be elements that you might find a challenge, but no work would ever be a success if it didn’t involve a bit of hard work in my opinion. There’s nothing like a challenge to move your work forward!