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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Alex McGinn: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Meet recent graduate Alex McGinn, discovered at this summer's New Designers show and now featured in my colouring book.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Alex McGinn Artwork example 2
Illustrator Alex McGinn was one of a slew of graduates discovered at this summer’s New Designers show. Her distinctive artwork features a strong palette of autumnal colours, which lend themselves perfectly to a host of subjects.

Alex McGinn Artwork example 2
What was the best bit about studying at Falmouth Uni?
At Falmouth University I think the most helpful part of our course was the amount of tutor time and group critiques we had to discuss the development of our work. The university felt like a community, probably because the campus is situated in such a small town. As a student, I really felt the tutors really knew me and were always aware of what particular problem I was trying to overcome.

Alex McGinn Artwork example 4
How do you start a piece of artwork and what is your favourite part of the art making process?
Generally my favourite part of creating an illustration is the ‘thumbnail’ stage. Which is where I am literally laying out every idea that pops into my head until I have this massive page filled with plenty of different visuals to compare and choose from. At this part of the creative process I feel very liberated as I don’t have a fixed idea about what my final outcome will be.

Alex McGinn Artwork example 7
You favour a very particular colour palette, where do you find inspiration for the colours you use?
I think when I was starting to create more editorial illustrations I looked into the kind of colour palettes other successful editorial illustrators use, such as Neil Webb and David Doran. My main aim was however to make the illustrations really jump out at the viewer which is why my colour palette is vivid and bright.

Alex McGinn Double Page colouring book
How did you create the artwork for the colouring book?
I started off by making a few sketches and thumbnails and decided what subject matter would work best for a wide audience. Once I had decided I wanted to create a nature themed image the rest of the process was fairly simple. All my drawings are rather large so I can place all the necessary detail, and then digitally edit using the Adobe Suite.

Alex McGinn Artwork example 6
What are your favourite Dorset landscapes and why?
I personally enjoy the view from the Purbeck peninsula looking towards Corfe Castle which is an area I visited regularly as a child.

Alex McGinn Artwork example 3
How did you get involved with Write to Freedom and what have you done for them?
One of my Falmouth tutors was in contact with a member of Write to Freedom who were collaborating with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), and it was through this connection I got one of my first commissions. For this particular commission I was asked to produce a leaflet depicting the History of the Workers’ Educational Association within Dartington, and an illustrated map. The illustrated map was designed to lead the viewer along a trail around Dartington Estate and the surrounding countryside. It was called the ‘Dartington Then and Now‘ Trail. Throughout the trail there were a series of ‘then’ and ‘now’ statements displayed, explaining the past and current projects the WEA undertook in Dartington.

Alex McGinn Artwork example 1
What kind of illustration are you producing for Workers’ Educational Association?
At the moment I am working on another commission now specifically for the Workers’ Educational Association. I am creating large illustrations summarising the development of the WEA over the last 100 years. These illustrations will eventually be displayed in an exhibition towards the end of the year.

Alex McGinn Artwork example 5
Why have you decided to train as a teacher and where do you hope to pass on your skills in the future?
I decided to train to be a teacher whilst keeping up with my freelance work as I really do have a passion for passing on the knowledge I have learnt throughout my education. I enjoy the opportunity to inspire creative thinking at any given opportunity which is why teaching was a logical path for me to undertake. At the moment I am training to teach Secondary Level Art and Design but potentially, in the future, I may qualify to teach at University level as well.

Stay tuned for many more interviews with featured artists from Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion.

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