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Meet Our Artist of the Month: Elena O'Neill

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Meet Our Artist of the Month: Elena O'Neill

TC: Hey Elena, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

EO: Hey I’m Elena, I’m 22 years old and I’m from a little village in Wiltshire, in the UK. I still live in Wiltshire, in a different little village with my other half Dave, our dog and rabbit. I studied illustration at Plymouth College of Art. I’m an animal lover and I’m also a bit obsessed with planners, to do lists and organisation.

TC: Did you receive formal training to develop your artistic skills?

EO: I guess kind of? I did art in school and at Uni, but they don’t really teach you how to actually draw or different painting techniques. I did attend life drawing classes for a few months when I was about 16, which really helped me develop as an artist, but that is probably the only formal training I have had. I was very lucky at university as there was a big focus on the business side of illustration, which I know a lot of art universities do not provide.

TC: What do you like to get up to in your free time?

EO: A lot of my time is spent running my business and looking after our dog, Albie. He is a 7 month old cocker spaniel who is constantly on the go, and loves learning new things. When Albie lets me rest, I love relax with a book and get lost in it.

TC: What inspires your work?

EO: Lots of things inspire my work. Animals, plants, nature, hobbies… I really like how I have collected such a large range of subjects in my patterns, I love having patterns that my customers can relate to. This is why I run a monthly pattern suggestion competition. I want to create the patterns that my customers are excited about.

TC: Can you tell us a bit about your process? Why watercolours?

EO: I have only been using watercolours since my second year of uni, but once I did, I never looked back. They were suggested to me by a friend, and I have a lot to thank her for! I love the unpredictability of watercolours, the translucent effect they have and the lovely colours and textures they create. In order to create a pattern, I decide on a theme. I then paint or draw as many icons or variations of that theme that I can think of. I really like to explore each theme from every angle. I then arrange the icons into a repeat pattern on Photoshop.

TC: We LOVE your Whales series, have you got any other fun creatures in store for the future?

EO: I love creating whale patterns, I don’t think I’m quite finished with them yet, there are lots more amazing whale and dolphin species yet to do. I’m also thinking about a shark or fish pattern in the future.

TC: How has the process been working with Tiny Collections?

EO: The work I have created for Tiny Collections, is slightly different than my normal patterns, but it was really great to get out of my comfort zone. It has been really great working with Tiny Collections, they were very understanding of my artistic process and the whole experience was delightful!

TC: Thanks Elena! We look forward to future collaborations!

Take a look at some of Elena’s work made exclusively for Tiny Collections.