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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Libby Parra: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Libby Parra has created an intricate landscape inspired by the mountain scenery of the Tirol for my upcoming colouring book. Read on to hear more...

Written by Amelia Gregory

LIBBY PARRA risograph bugs
Libby Parra was a stand out find at the 2014 New Designers show, and I love her contribution to Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, a psychedelic landscape inspired by her recent trip to the Austrian mountains.

LIBBY PARRA studio pic
LIBBY PARRA afp
You’ve been very busy since I first discovered your work at the graduate shows last year, what have you been up to?
Ahh a crazy mix of stuff I never even imagined I would be doing; lots of fun freelance work – I did flyers and online ad material for a comedy group Abnormally Funny People for their shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, editorial bits, making coffee for half of Oxford, and I worked as a Graphic Designer full-time. Now I am in London and working freelance as a designer & illustrator and currently working for a company called Unlease that I’m so so excited about.

LIBBY PARRA otro mundo zine 3
LIBBY PARRA otro mundo zine 2
I loved your zine, Otro Mundo, what does it feature?
Otro Mundo is a direct Spanish translation to ‘Another World‘ and it’s just that. I obviously took a bunch of inspiration from the real world, but I had a lot of fun coming up with my own creatures, environments and plants. I wanted to make it bright and insane so using risograph was perfect for that as you can get such intense colours from it. I’m really happy that you liked it, it’s the thing I am most proud of for sure.

LIBBY PARRA otro mundo zine 1
What is it that most draws you to risograph and screen printing?
It’s so satisfying watching all the layers go down one after the other building up an image. I love a gorgeous, perfect screen print but I am a really big fan of the happy accidents you can get if a layer is misaligned, exposing the technique and showing off glimpses of other colour and you often get that with riso prints.

LIBBY PARRA plants
Why have you recently decided to move to London?
It was always the grand plan! There is so many exciting things happening in this city and I just want to be a part of it. I’d often visit my best friend in London when I was back studying in sunny ol’ Kent, and would just feel at home in all the hustle n’ bustle. I love all the graffiti’d streets – there’s art all over the place.

LIBBY PARRA creepy bug
LIBBY PARRA few london
What has been your favourite post graduate job so far and why?
Definitely working for Few London; a leather accessories company that feature limited edition designs from new, up & coming print designers. I draw the designer’s portraits that end up on the product labels and the website. They have recently started selling on Not on the High Street (and are selling out) and will have a new range released in the lead up to Christmas. I just really like that they support new designers, it’s not easy to be seen when you are just starting out and Few London are a great platform for that.

LIBBY PARRA battery
How did you get to decorate the walls of a cafe?
After uni I picked up a barista job in a fab cafe in Oxford, Rachels. The owner Kean makes the most incredible traditional Asian home baked goods and in down time I’d doodle all the little treats, inbetween eating them, and one day Kean said, “Wanna draw on the windows?“. In typical cartoony-cutesy style I would put a face on just about everything and it got a really good response from passers by. You’d have people take photos of my drawings from outside! I had a lot of fun working there. Coincidently (and insanely!) I bagged my new design job in London because my new employer used to live in Oxford and would walk past the cafe all of the time!

LIBBY PARRA how to make work fun
LIBBY PARRA amelias
I understand that your colouring book artwork was inspired by a trip to Austria – why did the Tirol offer you so much inspiration?
Tirol is often called the heart of the alps – and mountains literally surround you wherever you go there. It was insanely beautiful. I love just being engulfed by nature, I think we often forget just how incredible the world is.

LIBBY PARRA trees
Why do you think you are so drawn to the natural world?
Going from a very built up place like London to Austria is just such an enormous contrast it’s almost surreal. A photo or a drawing of a peak or a mountain valley will never compare to actually being up there and experiencing it for real. I think that life can be really dark and difficult sometimes so it’s important to concentrate on all the fun and wonder in the world and that’s what I hope to do with my work.

LIBBY PARRA penguin shortlisted design
LIBBY PARRA anxious alan
What other things inspire you?
I like watching cartoons and playing video games – I like the weird and the wonderful and cartoons and games have this artistic freedom to just do whatever, create a new world, weird and awesome monsters and characters in a whole range of styles and I just like getting sucked up into all of it. Other than that – I get a hell of a lot from other illustrators and artists. There are SO many talented people out there. With just about everyone posting work up on the internet you don’t even need to pop to a gallery to get inspired you just have to check out your favourites on Instagram or whatever and you’re flooded with amazing work that makes me just want to get drawing myself.

LIBBY PARRA kirons monster
Libby Parra features in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion alongside a plethora of other artistic talent. Make sure you secure a copy when my Kickstarter campaign launches very soon!

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