Jacqueline Bissett  
Tate Modern
Art Equipment/Tool
Oriental brushes, Staedtler clutch pencil with 2mm leads, Bristol paper, Letrafilm, Dr P H Martins watercolour inks and Daler Rowney black acrylic ink
Pizzas- I have to try them wherever in the world I visit
(Brighton Gin) and Tonic, with lime
Ben Tallon’s @ArrestAllMimics
British Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Love magazine
What led you to become an illustrator? I’ve drawn since I was a child, my father was a draughtsman at the time (for a car manufacturer) and there was always plenty of paper and he instilled my love of drawing with Staedtler clutch pencils. I used to draw pages of figures from my Ladybird books (mainly fairytales) and would spend hours drawing new designs, alternatives to the princess dresses. Those illustrations were such an inspiration to me , though I went through high school, ignoring this until I went to fashion College. I was unacademic and my ambition came much later directed by good tutors. Did you study illustration at college? A chance meeting on a train to London with the vice principal at Bournville School of Art (opposite Cadburys) led me to a Btec Fashion Design course which I loved,though my strength for drawing figures shone (I was not so gifted in pattern cutting or making clothes- zero patience!) My tutors recommended I do a fashion promotion course to develop my love of fashion illustration, which led me to apply to a Fashion Promotion course at Epsom (now UCA) Where do you live now and what drew you there? After 20 years of working in London and Brighton (city living) I have settled in Plumpton in the beautiful East Sussex countryside in the lea of the South Downs. We lived in the South of France for a while, yearning for more space, but missed England, particularly the greenness and decided to return but to live just outside Brighton. It’s perfect for London events, being 1 hour on the train and half an hour from Gatwick Airport as I often work at overseas events. I adore rural life, love the small neighbourhood but live on the outskirts of the village with a little more space. Describe your studio for us My studio was purpose built on the side of our house. I have a huge steel drawing board, British made with a large angled board, which converts into a flat table. I love my studio- it’s a great place to work, my views are the Sussex Downs National Park one way and over looking fields from an agricultural college the other. Who or What is your biggest inspiration? René Gruau, I discovered at Epsom, I instantly loved his graphic work, so elegant and beautiful. He worked up until the age of 92 which is my ambition, health permitting! Apart from that my mum- her never ending belief in me drove me to always do my best. She was the one who chatted to the guy on the train to London, talking about me and what I should do. She’s such a positive person and her belief in me is still so great.
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How do you get your ideas? Fashion is great- it’s always changing , I love to try and capture the new trends, styling and everything connected to the new collections. Womenswear in particular, I love drawing womens’ bodies, I know that sounds strange but I find the way they move and the proportions of women of all shapes, very inspiring and glamourous. I also get inspired by Brighton street style and occasionally go clubbing which is always great for spotting fashionistas! What is the first record you bought? Parallel Lines- Blondie Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed I love working overseas and was recently asked to draw at a live event in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The event was held at a luxury hotel, drawing Bvlgari customer’s portraits with fellow illustrator Kathy Wyatt. It was nerve wracking before the event but once I got ‘into the zone’ I really enjoyed the event. It was fascinating to hear about the design and manufacture of Bvlgari watches too. Why is illustration such a powerful medium? If you see an illustration in a magazine, it really stands out. I love fashion photography but I get so bored seeing them in the glossies. It was refreshing recently to see Ignasi Monreal’s beautifully surreal paintings for Gucci and Dior using a model who can also illustrate (Sasha Pivovarova) both for their S/S 2018 ad campaigns. What is the best use of illustration you have ever seen? Because it’s used so rarely on a magazine cover, it really stands out. I loved seeing Nuno Da Costa’s cover for German Harper’s Bazaar in January this year- he did a fantastic job! How much of your work is hand drawn? Most of it, I love sketching in pencil and splashing paint across beautiful watercolour paper or sliding the brush around very smooth white paper- there’s nothing like it! I bought an iPad Pro about 3 years ago and have really enjoyed playing around with it. I feel that I have 30 years to catch up on what I know by hand- it’s a totally different feeling drawing on the screen. I have just invested in some paper-like film to put over the screen which is much nicer than the glass Who is your art hero? There are at least 2 - René Gruau and Mats Gustavsen, oh but I adore the work of Antonio Lopez! If you could travel back in time, who would be the one person you would want to meet and why? I would love to go back to the 1950’s, get all dressed up in elegant clothes and share cocktails with Marilyn Monroe, whilst sketching her portrait!
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