April 09, 2021
Liz Rowland is an illustrator based in Wales, United Kingdom. Since graduating from Falmouth University in 2011, Liz has worked with clients including Vogue, Soho House and Visit Britain. Liz’s work is hand rendered, using a combination of gouache, watercolor, oil and pastel. She is inspired by color, pattern and people. Through her work Liz explores our interactions both with each other and with our environment. She finds joy in hand crafted objects, from painted shop signs to carved wood and ceramics.
Where did you grow up? How was your childhood like?
I grew up in Shropshire, England. My parents separated when I was small and my brother, sister and I lived with my mum. She is very crafty. We would paint and make play dough creatures and paper mache models, clothes for our dolls, lego worlds. We didn’t have a lot of money but she made sure we always had things to create with.
Were your parents artists?
My mum is yes. She was a professional cake decorator for many years when I was young, and was and still is an incredible music teacher. She is now also a personal development coach/grief counselor and uses craft as part of her coaching method.
Sadly my Dad passed away when I was 18. He was not an artist but he did work overseas for years at a time. As teenagers we would travel to stay with him in Istanbul during school holidays. These were my first visits to other cultures and they have stayed closely with me. My love of travel must come from him!
When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
There was nothing else I ever really wanted to pursue. I started a full time art diploma when I was 16, and went on to study illustration at university. I had some wobbles about it after that for a while but eventually I figured it out.
Who/what inspire you?
I love hand made objects, hand painted signs, outsider art. All things with an obvious and imperfect human touch. Nothing factory finished.
Your work centers in travel and different cultural scenes, tell us more about how traveling influences you.
Traveling to a new place is such a visceral experience. Every sense is alert and the colors and visual components of that new place always fascinate me. I am always trying to rebuild those worlds in my illustrations and capture something of its essence.
What relation between traveling and drawing for you?
By painting and drawing things I have seen when traveling I am able to process them and experience them again in a way.
Is there a story behind your drawings of dogs “Spotty” and “Hungarian Vizla”?
Last year my partner and I got a dog. His name is Blue and he is now a very important and much loved member of our household. Before we brought him home I was doing lots of research to make sure it was the right decision. I did a series of drawings of dogs as they were on my mind so much of the day! Spotty and Hungarian Vizla were part of that collection, both based on excellent dogs I know.
Blue, the dog.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading ‘Kudos’ by Rachel Cusk, the final book in her Outline trilogy. The books are a wandering series of conversations with friends and strangers the narrator meets. These conversations work together to build a picture of varying human behaviours and emotions. They’re amazing books, unusual but thoughtful.
How is your work routine?
I’m usually most focused in the morning, so the bulk of painting gets done then. Now we have Blue I have more routine. We walk together at lunch which does me a lot of good. We have a chat with other dogs, get some food and come back to work! The afternoons are usually for admin and editing work digitally. I recently began making ceramics again so I try to leave a day or two for that in the week.
Is there any crazy project in the future you would like to do?
I’m really enjoying working with ceramics again so I have lots of plans with that, of collections I want to build and how to make it more viable alongside illustration. Last year I did a couple of mural projects and I would really love to do much more of those.
How did the pandemic –and staying at home- affects your work?
I had just moved to Wales when the pandemic hit and I was still working at home, so in a practical sense it didn’t affect me hugely. However it did begin to take a big toll on my focus as I am so heavily inspired by travels. It made me approach things differently, slow down and stay put in one place for a while. Most of the editorial work I was doing before disappeared, but good things came of that too as it led me to pick up ceramics again. I also began making a series of wooden animals with my partner Tom which have ended up being something we have continued.
Click here to see more beautiful limited edition prints by Liz
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