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Alice Pattullo Interview

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Alice Pattullo is an illustrator based in East London. She regularly explores British traditions, folklore and superstitions in her personal work, producing limited edition screen prints for exhibition and sale in various galleries and shops across the UK. What is your background as a designer? I was brought up in a creative household. My mum is a textile artist (who has also just released a book with Batsford - ‘Textile Collage’ by Mandy Pattullo) and my dad is an architect so I guess they were the initial inspiration that led me down a creative path. I studied illustration and graduated from Brighton University in 2010.  I always had a strong interest in print and since Uni I have simultaneously been working on commissioned illustrations for various outcomes including packaging, publishing and editorial, as well as producing personally driven limited edition screen prints which I exhibit and sell across the UK. 5a What inspired you to make An Animal ABC? After a year of particularly commercially led briefs and projects, I felt I had slightly neglected ‘my’ side of my work, and so wanted to start the new year with a personal project that just allowed me to indulge in drawing - with no narrative or brief defining it. Inevitably I created my own brief to give myself some construct, but an open one of an ABC of animals and allowed myself to enjoy drawing, experimenting with mark-making and layering - which I did! 3 Can you tell us a bit about the illustrations, are they prints? Yes, I produced each letter (animal) as a limited edition screen print. I always draw in black and white as this makes it simple to build the layers for screen print. I then scan these original drawings into the computer so I can do a test run of the colours on Photoshop to check it will work, before I print the separate layers as positives for screen printing. I worked with The Print Block in Whitstable on the set of prints, out of which we bound a huge screen printed book of the animals with an accompanying rhyme, which was the initial inspiration for the published edition today. w_1000 You use some really lovely colours, are you thinking about anything in particular when you come up with the colour palette? I’m generally very inspired by mid-century artists and illustrators like Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman...so I think I definitely absorb the colours and combinations used by those artists when trying out my own palette. I am also very interested in the print aesthetic of 1930s/40s lithographed children’s books, like the Puffin picture books (of which a few of these artists produced designs for). I particularly love the limited colour palettes which force an ingenuity when it comes to layering colours - so you make the most out of the few you have. I wanted to adopt this technique and stick to just 4 colours (which for me tend to be based around an interpretation of the primary colours and black) throughout the whole alphabet, emphasising different colours in different animals. Alice_6 Were there any other children’s books (or anything else) that you were referencing when making An animal ABC? As well as the children’s books mentioned above, I’m also inspired by the Chatto and Windus Midget Books, King Penguin book covers, and Design For Today’s Instagram feed.  I particularly love the ABCs of Eric Ravilious, Brian Wildsmith, Enid Marx and Clarke Hutton so I revisited these as a source of inspiration when producing the prints. I was also heartened (and still am) to see the increased production of beautifully illustrated non-fiction children’s books for today - such as ‘Animalium’ illustrated by Katie Scott , Will Grill’s ‘Shakleton’s Journey’, Tiny: The invisible world of Microbes’ illustrated by Emily Sutton or ‘Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space’ illustrated by Ben Newman to name just a few... Alice's beautiful book Animal ABC is available to buy from here. www.alicepattullo.com 2


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