We talk art, design and inspirations with Claudine O’Sullivan, a talented Irish illustrator with an international portfolio…
The first time we laid eyes on illustrator Claudine O’Sullivan’s dynamic animal designs was while idly downloading a WeTransfer file, when one of her colourful, characterful bear drawings popped up as the arresting backdrop (pictured below). It’s quite a coup to be selected for the file-transfer site’s cool Featured Artists programme, and, as confirmed lovers of all things furry and fluffy, we wanted to see more of her work. Here, the artful illustrator talks us through her design inspirations and some of her favourite pieces to date…
Above: ‘Roaring Bear’
I grew up in Portmarnock, Co. Dublin. I started a BA at DCU but then decided to pack up and head for London, where I’ve been for almost six years.
I studied illustration at the University of the Arts, London and have been working and freelancing there ever since. I definitely miss the comfort of home, but the bustle of London suits my pace. Although quite frantic, it’s a very inspiring place to live. London has a huge creative community, most of us experiencing the same struggle for recognition. The shared sense of passion-fuelled hard work is definitely a force that’s kept me here.
My biggest design influence? I’m inspired by everything around me – I’ve been drawing all my life, so it’s become quite instinctive to me. I love to travel and have been lucky enough to see some of India and a lot of Europe over the last few years. Breaking my routine is an important part of my creative process. In terms of personal drive, my main influence has definitely been my mum. A hugely vibrant, musical and creative woman, she encouraged me to take a chance and pursue my London dream. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago, but she’s still a massive driving force in my heart.
My favourite piece I’ve made to date? It’s really difficult to pick – it’s usually whatever I’m working on at the moment, because that’s what I enjoy most: the midway point, when a drawing isn’t finished and I’m not too sure how it’s going to turn out. My India-inspired work is probably the most personal to me; I hope to revisit my travel sketches and create some new work from them. If I have to pick just one piece, I’d say my roaring bear. It’s probably the most recognisable example of my illustration style.
In a nutshell, I would describe my aesthetic as a swirling tornado of colouring pencils.
Above: ‘Work in Progress’
Right now I’m working on… a few things! I have a really exciting brand collaboration launching this summer, which I’ve been working on for the last while. I’m also part of a Dublin-based exhibition in May. The project is called ‘Peachy’ and features a great mix of Irish artists, focusing on mental-health awareness, in aid of Aware.
Be sure to pick up the upcoming May/June issue of Image Interiors & Living, which features an exclusive original artwork by Claudine.
Sharon Miney for @Image_Interiors