Harriet Seed.

“I share my studio with my boyfriend Matt (Taylor) who is also an illustrator. The studio is the spare bedroom of our house in Brighton, England. It’s about 10 minutes walk from the beach which is a brilliant place to clear your head and let ideas come to you. We live next door to a primary school, so when the kids are in the yard for playtime, we know it’s time for a coffee break.

“My side of the studio is usually quite chaotic. I’m a bit of a magpie and accumulate things to go in my collections so there are all sorts of bits and pieces, like Coronation mugs, dotted around. On my desk I have my Mac, full-up sketchbooks, a tub of pens, pencils and craft knives and my cutting mat. There is usually a big pile of books which should go back on the bookshelves but somehow never make it back there. I always have to hand a Letraset book from the 70s, a classic tattoo book and a book of Disfarmer portraits. I keep my printing inks in some lovely painted tins which belonged to my Grandma.”

“We have a beautiful 1920s plan chest to keep prints and artwork tidy.”

Harriet Seed  is an illustrator who lives and works in Brighton, England. When not drawing she can be found by the seaside, rummaging through flea markets and charity shops, and drinking lots of coffee.

FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work? 

HARRIET SEED: I usually start the day by going for breakfast with Matt at our favorite cafe where we write our to-do lists or think up new projects for the day. I try to make notes and sketchbooks of ideas and drawings all the time – things I see and hear when I’m out and about influence what I do. I draw in sketchbooks, and usually lift them straight from there to keep the line-work as spontaneous as possible. I make stencils with layout paper and print shapes with block printing ink. It’s very lo-tech. I use a little bit of Photoshop to mix colours and bring all the elements together.

I’m Welsh, and we have a rich tradition of folk tales –

FYD: What are your three favorite tools with which to work? 

HS: I love throw-away scalpels and those student sketchbooks with black covers. These things are cheap and stop you from getting too precious about what you’re doing. I draw with EE pencils – they give beautifully textured lines.

FYD: What do you like to explore in pattern or repetition? 

HS: I like taking lots of different elements and fitting them together. I draw a load of things which are usually connected by a theme, and then see how they work together. The best patterns seem to fit quite organically.

FYD: Your designs focus on Native American folklore, circus, nautical and pin-up girls. What mediums inspire you outside of drawing?

HS: I’m Welsh, and we have a rich tradition of folk tales – the Mabinogion – which are full of dragons, mountain gods, shape-shifters and spirits. I grew up reading Cs Lewis’ Narnia books with their magical made up lands and mystical creatures. I draw things I am interested in – other cultures like Native American, or sub-cultures like circuses, always seem so much more interesting than your own. I take my inspiration from places I go and things I see. When I go somewhere, I take photos and write myself notes and colour palettes. I love museums, junk shops, car boot sales and old houses, you never know what you might discover.

The best patterns seem to fit quite organically.

FYD: What part of history do you like to study? 

HS: I’m most interested in the twentieth century, maybe because it is so well visually documented in photographs and film. It wasn’t so long ago, but technology has transformed our lives, and the difference between now and 100 years ago is incredible.

Follow Harriet on Twitter here.

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