illustrator interview – fiona biddington

:: by Lizzie


Do you use old school or new school tools when creating your work?

All my illustrations are hand drawn. I draw the main image in pencil and then layer up each colour on a separate piece of paper using a light box. This means I can be as messy and scribbly as I want and the colours don’t just merge into a giant mess. Then everything gets scanned and layered up in photoshop.


Show and tell your piece of work. Describe your submission for Old School.

My Old School pieces are a set of 7 limited edition prints from my ‘When We Were Young’ illustration series. I reckon ‘Hobby Horse’ has to be my favourite. I have great memories of trotting down our street as a kid on the hobby horse my mum made me out of a broom and one of my dad’s old socks.




What is your creative process?

I start with an idea, often a word or sentence, then research around it and begin to play with what I find.  My best work happens when I don’t think too much, when I let the design just happen naturally.


Does your work represent your personality?

I’ve never thought about it. I reckon it must do or else I would’t be doing it.  I guess that’s why artists/illustrators do self-initiated work in our spare time. Working on something that you really care about reminds you of what you like about your work.



Send in a picture of your desk now and describe your studio space.

At the moment I’m living out of a teeny tiny room in London.  I can sit my desk and reach all four walls or if i get bored of that I can lie in bed and still work at my desk. It’s… cosy, if nothing else!




What’s your earliest memory of drawing/creating?

Drawing has always been my favourite thing to do. I was constantly drawing and colouring as a child. I was a bit slow at learning to read so I would just spend hours gazing at the pictures, re-drawing my own versions and making up my own stories instead.



Did you have an imaginary friend?

Doesn’t everyone?! I had numerous imaginary friends, from all the different imaginary worlds which I dreamt up whilst drawing.



Did you know at school what you wanted to be?

I always wanted to be an illustrator when I was young.  I would make my own books full of stories and pictures.  I would meticulously colour everything which could be coloured. There was a period where I changed direction for a while as I had no idea how to get there but now I’m in it for the long haul…


What advice would you give now to your ‘old school self’?

Illustration as a whole seems to have grown so much since I was at school.  I remember a career day where I was told my options were either children’s book illustration or editorial cartoons for newspapers. These days everything is illustrated; there are so many more options and the range of styles out there is phenomenal. I guess I’d tell myself not to be put off by those first stuffy teachers who told me illustration wasn’t a proper job.


Smug’s colour is yellow. What colour best represents you?

Hmmm, white. A confusion of nothing and everything.


If you had to choose one Smug product what would it be?

I love Matt Pugh’s wooden owls. I’d like a whole clan of them!