Effortlessly delicate line illustration by Charlotte Orr
Balancing a delicate line and a palette with a definite light touch, the work of Berlin based Charlotte Orr is both simple yet atmospheric.
I’m originally from Oxford, UK and went to Oxford Brookes University to study for my Art and Design foundation diploma. From there I was drawn to illustration and went on to study for my BA in illustration at Falmouth University, graduating in 2013. I’ve now been working as a freelance illustrator for four years.
It’s taken time to build up a professional portfolio, which of course I’m still working on. So far I’ve mainly found work through word of mouth. For two years I worked in Oxford before moving to Berlin, where I currently live. Oxford is quite a small city, and I did various jobs that were in the public eye, and so one job seemed to naturally lead to another. I also had some great opportunities come up as a consequence of studying in Falmouth, including my first commission by the Folio Society.
I’ve lived in Berlin for two and a half years now. I think being a creative person in Berlin definitely has its positive and negative aspects. On one hand it has so much to offer, from cheap studio spaces, lots of creative inspiration, exhibitions, galleries, and so many creative people. On the other, I’ve found it quite difficult to find work here because there’s such an abundance of artists. What I do love is that I have so many friends who are artists or creative people, always willing to give each other tips and support.
During the last year I’ve been on something of a difficult personal journey, suffering from depression and anxiety. Yet I found a lot of comfort in drawing and I actually feel my work has developed a lot during this time. There was a point when I was not able to do ‘normal’ things, but I would hang out with close friends and we would draw together. As a result, it’s been one of the most productive years for me in terms of illustration work.
I’ve produced over 40 drawings of Berlin and I had work published by Ebury press in the ‘A New Way to Bake’ recipe book by Modern Baker, and worked with a number of clients including a big project for Mount Haven Hotel in Cornwall. I find it interesting when I talk to my friends about my work, because they always say you’d never be able to tell from your work that you were feeling low because it’s so bright and cheerful. I think I find happiness in my work.
With each job I’ve done my work has developed and become more refined. It’s interesting working with different clients because they pick out pieces of my work that they like, and want me to recreate that style for them and then the work develops from that. Recently I’ve been working a lot with looser line drawing in Indian ink and washes of colour in the background.
I’d love the opportunity to design wallpaper or packaging for food and tea products. I’d also love to paint another large-scale mural. In 2015 I won a World Illustration Award for a 40m mural in Oxford. I think I’d also really enjoy collaborating with a botanical garden to produce informative illustrations.
When I’m not working I search down matcha lattes! I love them and know all the good spots to get matcha in Berlin now! It’s great for your health, brain and full of antioxidants so it gives you a boost. I’ve also recently started working in a vegan café called Hope. It’s nice to have a change of environment from the solitary way I’ve usually worked. I spend a lot time with my friends, and I’ve just moved into my own flat and so love spending time decorating and upholstering furniture. On the walls I have lots of photos from the Botanischer Garten in Berlin, alongside artwork of my own and others. I had a studio earlier this year, but felt that I wasn’t making the most of it as I tend to like working in the evenings, and find I always get more inspired late at night.
I love the work of Jonas Wood. He’s been posting beautiful large-scale canvases from his current exhibition. The way he makes an ordinary scene or object look so intimate and beautiful is incredible. As well as how he combines such rich colours and patterns, and the use of lots of plants.
In my own work I like using a lot of different mediums. This year I have worked a lot with Tombow brush pens, but I also like using Indian ink and acrylic. It depends what the project is and what the client is looking for. Currently I’m working on a number of private commissions at the moment, preparing designs for a new mural! I’m also aiming to have an exhibition soon of all of the drawings of Berlin I’ve produced.
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