Today we’re talking to illustrator and collage artist Tracey English, who creates colorful designs using hand-painted paper. These designs are then turned into illustrations, patterns, textiles, and more.
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Tell us about yourself. What do you make? What do you consider your best or favorite work?
I’m Tracey and I am an illustrator and surface pattern maker who loves to snip designs out of hand-coloured bits of paper.
It is very hard to think which is my best or favourite piece of work. I love creating images with buildings and cities, so it would probably be one of them.
Tell us about your workshop
My work space is tiny, I guess you would call it the box room. It was our first son’s nursery for a while when he was a baby, then it was the study with our computer in it and then it became my studio space.
It is at the front of the house looking onto the street, and it measures 170cm x 270cm (ed. ~5.5ft x 9ft) so very compact. I have now been using it as my work space for around 2.5 years.
How long have you been doing your craft? Who taught you or where did you learn?
I have been working in collage since 2014, I trained as a textile designer many years ago, and worked in several different mediums.
I took a series of online courses called Make Art that Sells in 2014 after feeling stuck in a rut, and the courses encouraged you to experiment as much as possible. That is where my love of collage began.
Any advice for beginners to your craft?
To have fun, experiment with different papers, mark making and paints. Don’t be worried about making mistakes, the more you create the easier it becomes.
Who/what inspires you? Any shoutouts to fellow makers?
There is always lots of inspiration to be found online. For me, I love nature, buildings, interesting colour combinations, and just stuff you see in everyday life really.
A few more fantastic collage artists are Clover Robin, Clare Young, and Anne Heffernan.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The great thing about collage is that it can be accessible for all and if you don’t have paints and paper, you can just use old newspapers and magazines or interesting paper scraps that you have saved.
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