Estelle Morris is a freelance illustrator based in East London. Last year she took part in YGT’s first event and exhibition and since then, we’ve witnessed her portfolio blossom into a gorgeous collection of works. Over the years Estelle has worked with host of fantastic clients and produced a great selection of personal works. Her style seems fluid, effortless, and natural, and the subject matter of her work ranges from figurative scenarios for magazine articles, to beautifully daubed body parts, Twin Peaks portraits, and hand-drawn typography.
Estelle says she was always the ‘arty kid’ at school so after studying fashion design at college, she decided to take her love of drawing and illustrating to the next logical level and began a BA in Illustration. Most creatives find themselves at a crossroads after completing a degree and feel compelled to begin working within the traditional 9-5 parameters in order to kickstart their careers. It takes a while to figure out that the creative industries don’t always have to work like this and that there are other options. Estelle soon realised that being a freelancer was the definitive role for her so left her job at a packaging design company and moved to London in search of exciting clients and new opportunities.
Most freelancers work from home which, if you’re not careful, can impact productivity levels in a negative way. Estelle seems to have it all figured out, balancing the categories of her work out and exploring London in the fresh air. She tells us,
‘I get up earlyish, read and reply to emails and then start work on any commissions I have going on. I work on client jobs and personal projects simultaneously, so it breaks up the day for me. I love to listen to music while I’m working and what I’m listening to can vary hugely from day to day. I love to go drawing around London too; one of my favourite things is sketching people on the bus and drawing the collections at the British Museum.’
Estelle works mainly with pencils, Indian ink and a brush, digitally colouring and editing her work to ensure that everything looks tip-top. Traditional techniques are important to her and the hand-drawn element is central to her style. Estelle’s also into screenprinting, working on prints whenever she gets the chance. Her work is precise and beautiful, inspired by all manner of things from overheard conversations to anatomy. She describes Daniel Clowes, an American cartoonist, screenwriter and illustrator, and the creator of a brilliant collection of graphic novels, and David Hughes’ technical and twisted illustrations as having a marked influence on her decision to pursue a degree and career in illustration.
This year’s already off to a flying start for Estelle, with various commissions and collaborations filling up her time. As well as working on the branding for a vintage shop in Bristol, she’s planning to take on more graphics-based projects in order to channel her love for typography and pattern into her everyday freelance tasks. We’re pretty excited to tell you that she’s currently working on a set of Twin Peaks-inspired tarot cards too, so keep an eye on her website for more information on the project. Estelle maintains that it’s challenging to plan too far ahead when you’re a freelancer and that it’s best to just take each week as it comes and to try and be better with every piece of work; some of your most positive moments and experiences as a freelance creative will be feedback-related. She says,
‘Having someone give you great feedback on your work and hearing them say that they love it is so rewarding and such an amazing feeling. I still struggle with having confidence in my work so having that extra boost is always welcome.’
We’re so happy to be working with Estelle for a second time at our upcoming event in collaboration with This Must Be For You: LION PAW. Estelle will be selling some of her marvellous work, and there’ll be an opportunity to win a very special print at our gifting raffle. Come along and celebrate human kindness with us, and explore more of Estelle’s wonderful illustration. You can also keep up with her work on her blog Pretend Adult and on Instagram, Twitter and Etsy.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth