Grad Spotlight: Emma Traynor

Illustrator Emma Traynor is a recent graduate from Norwich University where she focused on narrative illustration, creating animal characters and short stories. She combines her love of print with digital elements, inspired by life in the countryside.

Tell us a little bit about your career so far – have you worked for any clients whilst you have been studying?

Last year I was approached by Anorak Magazine to illustrate a poem submitted by a young reader.  It was a single page layout and appeared in the Myths and Tales issue – it was so exciting to see my first commission in print!  This came after I entered their competition to create a game, which got published in the Summer Special Games issue.

I live in the countryside so a lot of my inspiration comes from nature;  I love going to new places and would like to travel more, to see more of the animals I have drawn in their natural habitat.

What aspect of your illustration course have you most enjoyed?

In my final year I’ve really enjoyed the process of putting together a picture book.  I love thinking of narratives and creating something I have completely designed.  In ‘Anthony’s First Holiday’ two tamanduas travel from South America to England in a camper van.  I found it really interesting researching the animals and the way they live, and being able to draw both tropical rainforest and English countryside scenes.  I’ve slightly humanised the characters to make them amusing; I’d like to think it would spark a child’s imagination to see animals in a different light, and learn something along the way. From that book I made a set of small wooden animals that are laser cut and then screen printed.  I have wanted to do something like this for a long time, and would love to explore this further in the future.

How would you describe your working process? What materials do you most enjoy working with?

Silkscreen printing has allowed me to find a way of working I’m really happy with.  It has made me a lot more confident working with colour, and it is suited to my practice that combines hand rendered drawing and digital elements.  I really enjoy being in a print room environment, mixing colours and experimenting with layers, and I love the textured quality of print.
However with my picture book I used the same process to prepare the layers, but digitally added the colour; it gave me more freedom to keep altering the images.  I begin by drawing the outline and more detailed layer first in pencil, then with tracing paper I fill in the image with either pencil or oil pastel.  Then I scan them all in to Photoshop.  So it’s mostly still done by hand as I’m trying to give it the same feel of a print, but I definitely love the flexibility of working digitally.

Who are your creative heroes?

Miroslav Sasek’s books really inspired me to get into picture book making.  Charles Schulz and Tove Jansson are also a few of my absolute favourites, and I’ve just recently discovered Dahlov Ipcar’s work, which I really love.

Do you like to travel or visit new cities for inspiration?

I live in the countryside so a lot of my inspiration comes from nature, and I regularly visit London and get ideas from exhibitions and museums too.  I love going to new places and would like to travel more in the near future, maybe to see more of the animals I have drawn in their natural habitat.  I would love to go to America, especially New York and California!

Do you have a studio at home or do you share a work space?

At the moment I have a desk in my room at home, but it would be great to have my own studio space and print room.

Are you excited about graduating? What are you going to be working on over the Summer?

Yes it’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to the degree show and D&AD New Blood!  I have a couple of commissions to work on throughout the Summer, coincidently both of which are illustrating books for young readers to learn a language through narrative.  One of these projects is a collaboration I was invited to join by my friend and fellow illustrator Georgie Bennett.  The other will be an interactive e-book in a ‘choose your own adventure’ format.  Both are really exciting to be involved with!

What would you most like to be doing with your illustration in 5-10 years time?

I would really like to be a children’s picture book illustrator, and to see my work in a book shop would be amazing.  To have the opportunity to work with children’s or nature/wildlife magazines would also be great.  I am interested in applying my illustrations to greetings cards, pattern design and stationery, and to explore creating toys and things like board games would be brilliant.

This post is part of our ongoing Graduate Spotlight series. If you’re a recent graduate and would like to get featured click here to find out more.



Posted on Jul 1st, 14 by | Twitter: @lisahassell

Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words regularly appear in Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.

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