An Interview with Illustrator Abi Overland

All images by kind permission of Abi Overland Photography by  Max Burnett 

This story actually began some months back, when I bought a drawing of a stag's head from a pop-up shop selling artwork by local artists in St. Helier, which I blogged about it here. Unfortunately, the piece was unsigned so I couldn't find out any more about it or the artist, (I like to google stuff when I find something I like to check out what else is available). Fast forward to September of this year, and I happened to be wandering around the stalls of a local Arts and Music Festival called Spice, where I spotted some familiar work, and was delighted to find the artist behind the art, Abi Overland. Since then I have been following her on social media, and watching with interest how she has developed as an artist and progressed to starting her own business,  and I'm very pleased to have Abi as  my blog guest today.  So a very big welcome to Abi Overland..

1.Would you mind telling us a little about yourself, and what you do.
I'm an illustrator by trade! I graduated last year with a degree in illustrations from the university of Brighton.

2. What are your tools of your trade?
I generally favour my drawing pens, being a lefty makes it a bit of a nightmare drawing with pencils and usually end up with a nice blurred drawing and a metallic arm!

3. Have you always had an interest in art/drawing/illustrations? 
Always, when I was small and couldn't draw, I used to make my parents draw me pictures and I'd watch how they did it.  My godmother is a fashion designer and she was my hero! She drew me loads of pictures of ladies in amazing dresses.  There was never any other option, my life was always going to be drawing.

4.  So how did it feel when you were contacted by Vogue magazine?
I was at work and it was a particularly crap days o it completely knocked the wind out of me, I then proceeded to spend the rest of the day jumping up and down. When starting your own business its's quite hard sometimes to stop the doubt creeping in and panicking about it being successful, especially when it's something personal, so having Vogue on side is a huge boost.

5. You've worked with a few local companies, The Gallery Magazine, and Bean around the world, who b what have you got in your sights next, (If it's not a trade secret and telling me would involve having to kill me)
I would like to get involved with more local companies and maybe do collaborations with other creatives in Jersey, I haven't got anything planned yet but have got big ideas in the pipeline for this coming year.

6. You started off with drawing and illustrations, why the move to ceramics?
I wanted to have a medium that would transform my illustrations into  useable items and I spent a while looking into what exactly I wanted to do with them, how I wanted to do it and managed to source a factory in Stoke-on -Trent that specialised in short run productions of fine bone china and it all fell perfectly into place.  since then I've developed a real passion and appreciation for ceramics and have started to experiment with clay sculptures too. Just for fun.

7. Will you also carry on with drawings?
Oh, of course, I'm still constantly drawing. I get withdrawal symptoms if I stop for too long!

All images by kind permission of Abi Overland Photography by  Max Burnett 

8. How did you find the whole process of starting your own business? And any tips you could offer to anyone thinking of taking the leap.
I found it a really enjoyable process, I’ve taken my time over each step to make sure it is perfect and it took longer than I expected, but that was always going to be the case. It’s scary at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, the fear makes you productive.
I think the best advice I could give anyone is that when you start your own business you need to give yourself a lot of time to daydream and come up with outlandish and fantastical ideas. Realistically most of these won’t be able to come to fruition, but what you’ll find from doing this is that you’ll research and look into possibilities that initially you wouldn’t have thought possible and that’s where you get the best results. 
Also, if you want to do something, you’ve just got to get out there and start doing it, you’ve got to look at where you want to be and what steps you need to take to get there.

9. If you could have any chef in the world create a plate of food that could sum up the essence of Abi overland design, who would it be, and what outrageous dish do you think they should make?
It would have to be someone equally outrageous, El Bulli for instance! Something with a burst of colour in it would look fabulous.

10 Where can we buy your stuff.
Currently online on my website, but I will be making an appearance in a variety of markets and events too.

11. and finally, you know that stags head that I bought? would you mind signing it for me, please. :-)

Of course! Let me know when where you want to arrange it and I'll sign it for you!'

And if you happen to be in Jersey on the 28/29 of November, Abi will have a stall at the Simply Christmas Market Set in the unique location of Greve de Lecq Barracks with free parking & free entry.

All images by kind permission of Abi Overland Photography by  Max Burnett 

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