Meet the maker: Interview with New Designer winner Kezia Hulse

Kezia Husle interview

Back in July 2019, we were lucky enough to work with New Designers, sponsoring an Associate Prize in their Illustration category. New Designers showcases some of the best new design graduates, and our Editor Yvette and Art Editor Sarah were blown away at the incredible work and range of styles at the event. It was a tough decision but a winner was chosen and that winner was *drum roll please* Kezia Hulse!

Yvette: “There was so much amazing talent at this year’s New Designers show, but we chose Kezia as our winner, as her style really stood as something unique and fresh. The level of detail and creativity in her work, and the use of textures, felt as if she’d taken collage to the next level. We could see so many applications for her work too, from editorial to prints, cards and books. And most of all, Kezia’s work made us smile!”

As part of Kezia’s prize, she’ll get the opportunity to design an illustration for an upcoming issue of Mollie. But first of all, we need to introduce you to the winner herself! Keep reading to meet Kezia, learn about her illustration style and get some tips on making it in the world of design.

Oh and go check out Kezia’s Instagram takeover saved to our Takeover highlight, and keep scrolling to download a free desktop, tablet and phone wallpaper designed by her, especially for you.

Hi Kezia, congratulations on your award! What does it mean to you to win?

Hi! Thanks so much, I’m really happy you liked my work enough to give me the award. I’m really excited to work with Mollie Makes and to be given a platform to share my work. Mollie seems like such an established community, and it’s great to show other creatives my work and be encouraged by other creative practitioners in what they are doing.

Kezia Husle interview

You’ve recently graduated from Cambridge School of Art, how did university help you shape your illustration style?

Uni really helped me to grow in my confidence in creating work; from getting a brief, growing the idea, and bringing it through to final artwork. Cambridge School of Art really encourage drawing as a foundational tool to illustration, and developing this skill was paramount in my creative process, despite my final artwork being 3D. I never felt boxed into one particular style or way of working through the course, I was encouraged to make work in lots of different ways – printing, digital, painting and 3D, it was only really in my third year I found that working three-dimensionally was my preferred method of making work.

Your art comes to life through your use of mixed 3D materials. Can you share your creative process for designing a 3D piece and what are your favourite materials to work with?

I start my work in my sketchbook, drawing lots of quick thumbnails, working out a composition that’ll work for the particular brief I’m working on. Depending on the brief, the client might have ideas for what they want already, but sometimes it’s mostly down to me what will be in the image. I then start the transition from 2D to 3D. I choose the paper or card I’ll use, the colours, and work out how much space I need! Then I’ll start cutting out the paper and card, and I use wire and masking tape to create the sets and make it all stand up.

Once everything’s in place I photograph it, experimenting with different lighting. Then I finish it off with a little bit of editing in Photoshop. I use a lot of paper and card in my work (by the end of the day my floor is covered in it). I like experimenting with colour combinations, and using different thicknesses of paper for different parts of the design, for example, using tissue paper for a character’s hair, so I can make it look like it’s blowing in the breeze.

Kezia Husle interview

What’s been your favourite piece you’ve created and why?

I think my favourite piece is a poster I did for my degree show – the landscape with the character holding a map of Yorkshire [pictured above]. I just really like the colours, and I like the fact that I’ve used a bit of real map. Plus I’m from Yorkshire, so it’s a nice reminder of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside!

What direction would you like to take your work in, and what would be your dream collaboration?

I want to keep making work that has a handmade quality. Although I use graphic shapes, I like the fact that my images retain this human quality through the shadows and lighting. My current themes are very outdoorsy, so maybe National Trust, encouraging people to get outside and spend time in nature. And maybe Ikea, just because I love their aesthetic and awareness of design.

Kezia Husle interview

In your takeover on Wednesday, you’ll be talking about the challenges graduate illustrators face and sharing your experience. What’s been your biggest challenge so far, either in your career or artistically?

For me, confidence is something I struggle with. I go through periods of time where I don’t feel very confident in the work I’m doing or how I can develop my work further! I think it’s tough coming out of uni. You’ve had a structure and tutors to help you with your work and now it’s suddenly down to you to keep going. I think it’s important to remind yourself that you have a degree that you’ve worked hard for. You’re qualified – even if you don’t feel it! – and you need to know the value of your work when you’re negotiating prices with clients.

Kezia Husle interview

Finally, if you had three tips for new illustrators trying to break into the industry, what would they be?

First of all, keep being inspired. Look at different sources for inspiration. Not just other illustrators but other artists, photographers, sculptors, watch films, watch theatre, go for a walk.

Secondly, rest. Through uni I was tempted to work 24/7. I’d feel guilty when I wasn’t working, but it wasn’t sustainable at all. Trying to think creatively and working non-stop isn’t realistic and you need to give your brain a break. Sometimes the best ideas come when you’re least expecting it.

And finally, make work that you enjoy making! You can really tell when a piece of work has been made with enthusiasm. Keep experimenting and having fun trying out different ways of working.

Your free background from Kezia Hulse

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