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a conversation with…

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Helen Lang (aka Wet Paint Illustration) has been a successful freelance illustrator for several years now. Primarily, her work has been tailored towards the greeting card industry, where she has received great admiration & success for her fun, lovable characters and colourful designs. However, more recently, Helen’s work has been found adorning the walls at two of London’s hottest fine art & illustration exhibitions – gaining an even wider fan-base! Helen tells us more about her work-to-date..and her aspirations for the fantastic world of Wet Paint!

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ke: Where do you live and work currently?

hl: From my home in Tooting Broadway London

ke: How would you describe your work?

hl: I like to think I am very versatile in my work and styles. I love generating figurative and character work, which includes animals and odd little creatures. Very recently my work has become more decorative and for this I utilise watercolour and gouche with a limited colour palette. I also create a lot of line work and paper cut outs, die cuts which I like to experiment with.

ke: Can you tell us some of the clients you have worked with over the recent years?

hl: The Art Group, Almanac, Paper Magic, Tesco, American Greetings, Dice Magazine…

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ke: If you had to choose, which would be your favourite piece or commission that you have worked upon?

hl: I think my favourite piece is always my last piece that i’ve created…there is a sense of moving on and accomplishment when each work is finalised. I recently completed the following piece for inclusion in the East End Arts Clubs F**K ART Let’s LOVE!!  exhibition and it has proved incredibly popular as a framed print. It is currently in an edition of 10 and is popularity has inspired me to create more on similar quotations. Watch this space!

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ke: Who, or what, would you say has been your biggest inspirations for your illustration work?

hl: Tattoo parlours and designs. Favourite quotations are a big inspiration, as is graffiti and found items. Recent find was an electric lightbulb package with an amazing font on it!!! Different fonts and experimental lettering  really float my boat too!..

With regards to illustrative styles I have always been a fan of the work of author and illustrator Graham Oakley. He of The Church Mice books. I also find the work of Tom Gauld inspiring and that of Joseph Wright, who illustrated the What- A – Mess series of books written by Frank Muir. I love artwork and illustration from the far east as this usually has the combination of typography and imagery. Online resources such as etsy and flickr are also wonderful in sharing ideas and imagery!

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ke: I always find it fascinating to see peoples’ working space..wether it be their studios or bedrooms, kitchens, garages.. or a tiny space on their living room floor! Please could you describe your working space, to give us a sense of where and how you work?

hl: Messy is the order of the day! At the end of every day things have to be swept up, packaged away and dinner is served…and then whilst watching something on late night TV or listening to Radio 2 everything gets unpacked and work usually begins again!

ke: How difficult has it been for you to establish yourself as an artist?

hl: I work part time at an Art Publisher which keeps me from going slightly mad as I would otherwise, and work on my own from my home…Not seeing a soul!!…On my days working from home I try to represent myself and actively promote my work, expanding the areas that my work is utilised in. It’s a very hard slog and the main problem has been sourcing of contacts which is a lengthy and often difficult task. However, once a client base has been built up and as my contact listings are pretty up to date it is easy to inform clients of new work and keep them up to date and interested.

ke: And finally…what are your aspirations for the future?!

hl: To break into editorial and gain more commissions in this area… and to participate in more exhibitions and gallery events.

ke: Thanks Helen!!! x

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Please contact Helen direct at Wet Paint Illustration for info on personal commissions and sales of work, plus forthcoming exhibitions!

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