A new series of interviews from us at the Gallery, taking you a step closer to knowing your artist or artisan maker. This month we're featuring the lovely work of Welsh artist Megan Tucker, you can shop her collection here.
Introduce yourself and describe your work a little.
My name is Megan Tucker & I’m an illustrator based in Swansea. I specialise in hand-lettering, artwork for home decor and children's illustration. My work has innocent and uplifting charm, and can be found in many gift boutiques across Wales. In recent years, I have begun specialising in Welsh language artwork which has been incredibly well received and I am delighted to help customers celebrate their language and heritage through my work
What is your studio like? (spotted our Keith Brymer Jones mug on your desk!)
I work from home. Last year my husband and I moved house and we currently share a studio we have set up in one of the rooms as he also works within the creative industry. We plan to build a new studio space in our garden in the summer to provide us with more room for our individual businesses.
What is your preferred medium and why?
I always begin my work with a pencil. Its a basic tool, but as an illustrator sketching is always my starting line for any project. I then move onto ink or gouache depending the on the finish I am trying to achieve and from there I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to finish my work off. There are lots of stages from the initial concept for a piece of artwork to the finished piece but this approach helps me to be flexible in order to create the right look.
What inspired you to start your Welsh collection?
When I began working as a freelancer, I focused mainly on artwork for Children. I noticed a lack of modern Welsh artwork for kids and decided to create a Welsh version of an Alphabet print I had illustrated. This was picked up by a Welsh Gift shop in North Wales and sold well. As a result I was asked if I would consider offering more Welsh language artwork, which then led on to other shops getting in touch and asking to stock my work. I am so pleased with how the demand has grown my business . I love the response I have received over the years from customers and stockists alike and its very rewarding to help support the language in some small way.
Where would you like to be in five years time?
In five years time I would ideally like to working more directly with clients as an illustrator. I think I will most likely always have my work in shops but I would like to challenge myself a little more and work towards potentially having an agent and take on far more illustration projects with publishers etc. My biggest dream is to write and illustrate my own Children’s books!
Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?
Currently, my favourite piece would have to be my Pembrokeshire map. I love drawing maps and getting to know an area while I illustrate it. The response to my maps has been fantastic and there’s something about the colours and nostalgic feel of my Pembrokeshire illustration that makes me happy. It’s such a lovely corner of Wales and whenever I look at it, it makes me want to go for a little break on the coast!
What artists or designers do you admire locally and nationally?
I recently came across the work of Matthew Snowden. I love how his paintings display the dramatic landscape of Wales and his use of colour to capture light quality. They are beautiful. Further afield- my favourite illustrator of all time is a lady by the name of Teagan White from America. She works within two styles- one is very playful and child friendly, while the other is very traditional and features a lot detailed flora and fauna. Her illustrations are so crisp and controlled- If I could learn to paint half as well as she does I would be thrilled!
What do you want people who own your work to feel when they look at a piece of yours?
I think as the Welsh side of things now dominates my work, I would like to hope that people feel a sense of “home” when they look at my illustrations. Culture, heritage and a sense of belonging are deeply personal things and I hope that my work helps people to connect with that.
What’s your favourite place in Wales?
My favourite place in Wales has to be Llanberis pass in Gwynedd. The drive through the dramatic, slate covered mountains never fails to impress me.
Would you say your style has evolved? And if so what has influenced this?
Yes most definitely. I think when you work as an illustrator you need to keep your finger on the pulse of current trends and demand while maintaining a style that is true to your own way of working as well. Earlier in my career I think I felt the pressure to draw in particular styles but was never quite happy with what I produced. I have since learned to accept and enjoy the work that I naturally create and I often tell students to embrace the way they draw rather than fight against it. Once I did this I found it much easier to create new artwork and naturally grew my skills and confidence which led to better work.
Thanks for chatting to us!
Love, the Gallery