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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Jennifer Leem-Bruggen: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Meet the first of my confirmed colouring book featured artists, including a sneak peek of her pages.

Written by Amelia Gregory

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The deadline as last night, so in the first of a series introducing illustrators that will be featured in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, let me introduce the very talented University of Hertfordshire graduate Jennifer Leem-Bruggen. I discovered Jenn at the New Designers graduate show this summer and invited her to take part in my open brief, and I as very pleased she took me up on the challenge. Here she tells us more about the inspiration behind her fantastic artwork and her work process in general.

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When and why did you decide to pursue illustration as a career?
Since a very young age I always was drawing, my earliest memories of creativity were visiting my grandparents in Devon and when stuck indoors on a rainy day in middle of nowhere I would just pick up books and start sketching and drawing some pretty random stuff. I guess my creative bug stemmed from there and throughout school I was interested in academic subjects but there was always something that drew me to keep being creative. From that feeling I have not looked back since.

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I love your idiosyncratic take on life, what kinds of things inspire your personal work?
My personal work is mostly influenced and inspired by randomly people watching, my love of swimming and being active and a fascination with art deco architecture, and 1950/60s design. There is a so much more but those are the main things. In addition, having a tutor at university that shared my interest in something so trivial as matchbox labels and stamps also helped inspire my work. I am fascinated that in such a small-scale design a whole story can be told by a 2/3 colour offset print image. The quirkiness in the illustrations and the simplest amount of content needed to emphaises the key aspects portrays their appeal.

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Can you tell us a bit about your process of creation?
I panic at first then sit down and scribble. Do relevant research; ponder on something for far longer than normal and sketch out loads of ideas. For the colour I played around with different textures I have gained through experimenting with mono printing and then worked it up digitally as the dimensions were quite large.

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What was the best thing about your course at the University of Hertfordshire?
My tutors were a great help in ensuring we pushed ourselves, kept experimenting and still aware of the creative world around us. Plus the friends I made were what made it fun, as we were all together in the same boat.

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What was the highlight of your trip to New Designers?
Meeting some lovely insightful people in the creative industry and catching the interest of sponsors Tigerprint where they offered a placement, which I will be carrying out later on this year, which is very exciting!

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What inspired your piece for my colouring book open brief?
I started with research into 1960s matchbox labels and looked at a few I owned and drew several elements from a few different examples to construct this image in my mind. I had been listening to radio and some random jazz music came on, I thought that from the imagery I had been piecing together and hearing this music it felt right to start building an image that does resemble a colourful street party.

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What is your role as a volunteer at the House of Illustration?
My role a volunteer consists of being front of house support and assisting on private view events, exhibition turnarounds and looking after the galleries. I have only been there a few months now and it has been fun. My highlight has been meeting three lovely ladies from the French Institute, based in South Kensington, where they have invited me to volunteer at an event they are holding called South Ken Kids Festival happening the third week of November. It is an illustration festival for children where established Illustrators are invited to put on creative workshops, plus Quentin Blake is going to be there!

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What are your plans for the future?
To continue self-promoting, volunteering at House of Illustration and pursuing a career to be an Illustration Agent and a Freelance Illustrator.

Thank you Jenn! Over the coming weeks I will slowly introduce more Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artists, so do keep reading!

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