Illustrator Of The Week Pat Gregory has brought to life countless “Friend” stories over the years.
Her artwork for “Mass Trespass” will appear in this week’s issue.
The perfect time for us to pop the virtual kettle on and have a chat!
How long have you been an artist, and what was your journey into illustrating?
I have drawn and painted all my life, and even as a young child I knew I wanted to be an artist.
After studying Graphic Design and Illustration at college, I became an art teacher until I had my two children. Being at home with them gave me time to work on my portfolio. Initially my work was accepted by the Medici Society and various other greeting card companies. At last I had a foot in the door!
My lucky break into fiction illustration came when “My Weekly”, the sister magazine of “The People’s Friend”, advertised in the Liverpool Echo looking for artists.
Their fiction editor, Ian Somerville, began to commission me. The following year I approached the “Friend”, and have been working with you ever since!
I have also illustrated for other magazines over the years, including “Woman’s Realm” and “The Lady”.
Aside from illustration, my other interests are wildlife painting, portrait commissions and printmaking.
Do you have a favourite kind of story to illustrate? Contemporary? Period?
I’m perfectly happy with either! Period stories can be more challenging though, because all the style details of the particular period have to be right.
How has illustrating for the “Friend” changed over the years?
Well, I’ve been with you now since 1991. And although the look of the magazine has changed to a degree, the biggest change for me was around 2014 when the “Friend” started using a lot of digital illustration.
I realised that if I wanted to continue working with you, I would need to embrace new technology! So, with much help and encouragement from illustration editor Jim Dewar, I learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. Many thanks Jim!
Where do you begin when you receive an artwork brief?
I read the story, and images start to form in my mind straight away. From here I start gathering reference material, and make several rough sketches until I’m happy with the composition.
I can then set to work on the computer to create the finished picture.
What advice would you give someone trying to get a start in the industry?
It can be difficult to get that initial foot in the door.
Don’t be disheartened by rejection. Believe in yourself and keep working hard to develop your style, but also be adaptable.
You may end up being lucky enough to work with a friendly team like the bunch at the “Friend”!
For more from our Illustrator Of The Week series, click the tag below.