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Rebecca Gourlay

How did you get started?

I have always always loved to draw, ever since I was small! I remember my mum would always buy me a new set of felt tips and a little notebook as a treat each summer holiday so I could draw whenever I wanted. It wasn't until I was in my first year studying fine art at Goldsmiths in London that I started to take things more seriously- I was feeling quite down and had spent the summer back at home. During this time I painted and drew characters all day and realised it was something that made me feel content and passionate. One of my friends and fellow Goldsmiths-er Beau ended up applying to study Illustration at UAL through clearing and that was what encouraged me to take the risk and apply myself! I had to rush back to London that same day to scan in all my drawings using the big boy printer and do an extremely nerve wracking interview all within a couple of hours but I got in! 
I'm someone who is extremely hard on themselves and I am my own worst critic so drawing at university with grades weighing over me actually threw me into a creative block- I couldn't experiment for fear of a bad grade and ended up working within the confines of the same styles and mediums. It was so frustrating! It wasn't until I graduated from university almost two years ago that I began letting myself have fun with illustration and experiment with visual communication! It can be hard, but trying to remind myself to enjoy the process and have fun with work is how I truly began to see myself as an illustrator and grow my own visual identity.

Can you describe your creative practice and processes?

​I have always drawn girl characters since I can remember- super cool and chic ladies who wear the outfits I could only dream of and can pull off berets in a way I never will. When I was really young I loved the illustrations Jeffrey Fulvimari created for Bobby Pin Cosmetics- google them, they're so cute! He also did the illustrations for Madonna's book series, The English Roses. I just loved his girl gangs. Drawing a gal with a fringe is my go to if I'm not sure what to draw- I also love to draw faces and stars! I use a really simple Wacom tablet and Adobe Photoshop to draw digitally or I'll use Tombow brush pens to draw on paper! I've recently bought a brush pen by Ecoline which is

d-i-v-i-n-e. I don't tend to plan my drawings unless I see something so super fun that really inspires an idea in my mind- alot of the time I have illo ideas in the bath... Don't ask me why! But usually I will sit in front of my laptop not knowing what I will draw, and sometimes the drawing comes out well organically and other times I have to work really hard to get something I like from it. I always try to push on through when I can't get a drawing to work- I feel rubbish when I leave a drawing without feeling happy with it but sometimes getting some shut-eye and taking a fresh look at a drawing in the morning is so helpful. I hoped for 2020 to be the year for me to broaden my processes into ceramics and jewellery making but Covid-19 had other plans! But I am using my time inside (and feeling super grateful to be able to stay safe at home!!) to focus on building on what I have for now and taking loads of inspiration from the super-cool creative gals I follow on insta! 

What have been your most exciting projects to work on? 

​I was super lucky to partner up with my local screen-printers Sea Dog Print Studio in Southsea to make some t-shirts a little while ago! It was something I'd wanted to do for absolutely ages and they were so wonderful to work with. Promoting my tees and the lovely response I got from my followers was what made me realise I could take more risks and grow my brand!
​Sea Dog were super kind and asked me back to design a t-shirt for them alongside a few other illustrators which made me soooo happy!! They use super sustainable garments to print on and have bucket-loads of printing skillz between them! 



Where do you find inspiration?

I usually find inspiration for my drawings from fashion magazines like Lula or Self Service Magazine, art journals or from seeing someone dressed super cool in the street- or Pinterest, I LOVE Pinterest for inspiration!
I also love to find inspiration from fashion photography, editorials and runway shows. Simone Rocha is my fav- I enjoy making digital collages of imagery I find to gather ideas and moods. 



What do your materials mean to you?

​The materials I use now are the ones I've found make me happiest after y-e-a-r-s of struggling. I have used just about every medium and material I could and every style I could for years, constantly comparing myself to others and feeling such a pressure to find what worked for me! It took me a long time, but once I relaxed and let myself draw and experiment without putting too much significance onto everything I made, it helped me see what made me feel the most excited to work! Every maker is so so different, what works for someone wonderfully might not gel with you and that is so fine!

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