A Career in Art: Jane Newland Shows You How . . .

Jane Newland has a distinctive and extremely eye-catching style. Her illustrations are green and luscious — the fronds of every fern, every leaf are detailed with soft looking textures, like a springy moss or camomile lawn.

If you’re an artist and you’re wondering how to make a business out of your talent, Jane is a great example of an illustrator with an extremely transferable style. It’s a good idea not to pigeon-hole your work — don’t put all your eggs into one basket, because as an artist, there are many opportunities for you and Art Licensing leads the way.

Jane’s artwork has been made into umbrellas, beauty bags, magazine covers, greetings cards, prints, bedding and more. And just one image can be licensed many times, meaning that just one piece of your artwork can give you a steady income ad infinitum. And if you have 100 pieces of artwork doing the same thing, you’re really onto something. And the best bit? The work still belongs to you.

Here are some examples of Jane’s work, and a little more from Jane on her artistic technique, and future plans

There is something magical about Jane’s compositions; they make me want to jump into them, just as Mary Poppins and the children jumped into Bert’s pavement art. It’s a style perfect for all forms of art licensing, from greetings cards, to make-up bags, to umbrellas and more. Those landscapes, with an almost 3D feel to them, could work so well in a children’s picture book too. A book you’d always remember, and pass down through the generations.

I am full of questions for Jane — how did she develop that style? How does she create those soft looking layers and textures? Jane makes me want to be an artist. So here she is, talking about all these things and a little bit more . . . LM

JN: Hello! I’m Jane, a freelance illustrator, represented by the awesome Bright Group since June last year.

I live on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Norwich with my partner, daughter and whippet.

I’m a child of the 70s, very short sighted, and deaf in one ear. I think it made me quite self-contained, and it’s probably where my obsession with detail began. I was naughty and didn’t wear my glasses, so the only things I could see properly were the things right in front of my nose! My family is definitely on the creative side – both grandparents, my parents, an uncle, a cousin and my brother and sister all studied various subjects at art school, so there was no escape from it! I was surrounded by loads of amazing artistic influence. So I studied illustration at art school, got a degree, worked a variety of awful jobs while also freelancing, mainly for my brother’s design company. This gave me a really brilliant grounding in working as an illustrator, and I’ve worked with some amazing clients. Wanting more from my career, I started to show more personal work online, which eventually led to me joining Bright.

I was inspired to become an illustrator by my dad and grandfather. My dad is an amazing landscape painter of moody, glorious-skied Norfolk landscapes, and my grandfather, who was an architect by trade, also painted illustratively, particularly once he had retired. His work was reminiscent of Arthur Rackham, and as a child I loved sitting beside him watching him work

Did you know, Arthur Rackham’s artwork influenced the design of The Faun in the extraordinary film, Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro?


Now, I am still inspired by dad & granddad mostly and I like to think I’ve kind of merged the two into my own style.

I love looking at other artist’s work on social media, and I’m sure I’m influenced by what I see. Favourites at the moment are Yasmeen Ismail, Marc Martin, Karl James Mountford, and too many more to mention. I’m also inspired by the photos I see of people’s lives, and I love seeing young up and coming illustrator’s work. But Bright are keeping me busy — so much so that I don’t actually have a lot of time to spend on social media these days!

 

Artwork by fellow Bright artist, Karl James Mountford — @karljmountford


My current style began to emerge over the last couple of years. I was actually on the verge of giving up illustration, and decided just to forget about my style, instead simply doing what came naturally, and drawing what pleased me — not what I thought anyone else wanted to see.
And out it popped!

Then later, these pieces of work from November 2016 were the big changers for me.

Finding inspiration: 

I’d had an email from the Bright Art Licensing team (emails detailing trends, inspiration and ideas) and one of the current trends was “adventure”. It sparked something in me, and I decided that for my personal pieces of work I would take myself on an adventure. So I began by imagining where I would like to go, and, much to my genuine amazement and delight, it seems lots of people would like to go to the places I imagine too!

Jane’s artwork is on the cover of our 2018 calendar. Read more about it here.


On future projects: 

In ten years time I hope things are much the same really! Since joining Bright last year I have been blessed with the most fantastic opportunities. I’ve had lots of licensing contracts, and I’ve illustrated some children’s books – both of which were long-time goals for me. The only other thing I would love to achieve would be to write and illustrate my own children’s book, but I’m not the best at the written word, so it may be one dream too far!

How much time do you spend on an illustration?

The detailed pieces take me between three and five hours. It’s my treat late on a Friday afternoon to do a personal piece of work. I take part in #colour_collective on Twitter, where a huge bunch of lovely illustrators post their artwork using a designated colour every Friday at 7.30pm (UK time) So that’s my deadline. I start with a potential colour palette in mind which includes the colour of the week, and sometimes I will have an idea of what I’m going to draw, sometimes not. I begin regardless, with a general background layer, and just keep adding more and more layers, building up details and intensity of colour. All the details, the billions of little leaves and grass etc, it’s just doodling on a large scale really!

Your preferred media?

I mainly work digitally these days using Photoshop on a PC, a Wacom pen tablet, and Photoshop’s standard brushes. It’s a bit old school now, but I don’t think it matters what you use, if you can make it do what you want.

I’m currently working on a children’s book where I’m combining traditional watercolour painting with a bit of digital. I’ve been lucky to have had a good grounding in most mediums, both at home and also at school/college.

If you’d like to work with Jane, you can get in touch via The Bright Art Licensing here.

Follow Jane on Instagram and Twitter


If you’re an artist looking for representation, we’d love to hear from you.
You can submit your artwork here.

 

Matt Hunt’s Message in a Bottle: Inspiration to Follow Your Dreams in 2018

Last year, Matt Hunt published his first picture book with Scholastic. Almost a year on and he’s a nominee for a Kate Greenaway Medal. What a way to begin the new year!

The story itself is a perfect antidote to New Year blues . . .

With it being a grey and rainy January, it’s very easy to see how Lion feels as he waits for his bus in the rain, somewhere in the city. Just like any of us can feel in all the hustle and bustle, it all gets too much for Lion. So he acts upon his discontent, knowing exactly what is needed, and moves to a desert island — of course! That would be the perfect solution, wouldn’t it? But whilst Lion yearns for quiet solitude, he forgets how important friends are. There is a wonderful message in this picture book: Lion has a vision of exactly what he needs/wants and exactly how it will be, right down to the friends he is looking for.

But it doesn’t go to plan.

When Lion gets past the cool stage (eventually), he realises that his new found friends are brilliant (musicians), and accepts them with all their quirks and differences. So the message is clear — that life is for living, there’s no time for procrastination, or for being stuck somewhere you’re not happy, and even if things don’t go quite as you planned, it doesn’t equate to failure.

Matt’s style is bursting with colour and texture — there is something very reminiscent to me of books I read as a child — I think it might be those wide trousers and the pointy brogues!

This book really does carry a message, and in fact it’s right on trend. In every health and lifestyle magazine going, you’ll find articles on breaking free from your current life/work constraints, taking that leap and following your heart. It truly works out for some, and even for Lion — in the end, despite his original mis-givings. It’s a lovely way of helping children realise that trying new things is okay — in fact it can be fun — a true adventure. You might move house, you may move abroad, and the idea of change can be daunting, but you’ll be okay and make new friends.

My only question is how does Lion fund his island paradise lifestyle?!

But that’s the wonder of children’s books — where anything is possible.

You can find out more about Matt and the making of Message in a Bottle here.

Follow Matt on Twitter and Instagram

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