Launching the first in a new series of blog posts, we talk to Illustrator, Hayley Wells. As we work together to build a sense of Creative Community in Chelmsford, we’ll interview those living, working and playing in our city, on subjects ranging from what inspires them and advice to their former selves, to showcasing projects they are working on a the moment.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Hayley Wells and I’m an illustrator and designer making prints, cards, and small press publications.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m really inspired by the DIY spirit of punk, especially the Riot Grrrl scene of the 90s. Also my cat features quite heavily in my work so it’s fair to say she inspires me quite a lot too
How did you get to this point?
I studied illustration before working as a designer in children’s publishing for several years. I have just graduated from an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art and am now a fully-fledged freelancer! I started doing fairs and workshops partway through my MA to help fund it, gain experience, and to experiment with new processes. Now those things form a big part of my creative life.
What’s been your toughest experience so far?
Juggling studies and freelance work whilst suffering from depression.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a private commission as well as a couple of personal narrative projects: a queer gothic ghost story and a post-apocalyptic picture book.
What have you found is the best way to spread the word about what you do?
I use instagram regularly but real life fairs and events often result in the most loyal supporters.
What is your proudest achievement?
Finishing my MA with a distinction.
What single piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t change your work to fit with what’s popular – be authentic and embrace your weird, morbid fascination.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
RuPaul’s Drag Race and bad B-movies from the 80s.
Hayley is running two workshops at Chelmsford Library, Friday 29th June. One is on character design for picture books and comics, the other, which we are particularly excited about, is on zine-making. Hayley also has a stall at the House of Illustration Summer Fair in London on Saturday 30th June.
Character design workshop: