We have been working with three emerging illustrators and designers to bring to life our broad range of Culture+ Resources. This week we talk to illustrator and designer Bel Burkill about her love of colour and how lists make her happy!

How long have you been a freelance illustrator?

I started to really call myself an Illustrator as my final year at uni began; when my website launched and I opened my first online shop through Etsy in 2017. It felt really exciting to be promoting and selling my prints to people worldwide – from the USA to Australia! – and my little shop really took off around Christmas last year. A small business like this through self-promoting on Instagram really helped to create more opportunities.

When I graduated this summer (2018), being a “freelancer” became more real as I began to rapidly receive interest. Being discovered and asked to create work – in your own handwriting no less! – is just fantastic, and this summer I have worked on a variety of projects, from Culture+ Resources for The Arts Development Company; to bespoke wallpaper designs for an exhibition “Suddenly Last Summer” at The Gallery AUB. I have even created album artwork for young music producer Matt Lane in Florida, USA.

Where did you study?

I studied my degree in Illustration at the Arts University Bournemouth in Dorset, after completing my Foundation Diploma there in 2014. I’m originally from the Midlands and wanted to move away to study but wasn’t yet ready for a big city.

AUB is an amazing institute to create and learn at, as my tutors always encouraged everyone to do their own thing. My course itself really opened my eyes to the world of illustration and design as it helped me to understand what I enjoyed and wanted to focus on -which is really important for your career.

Illustrator Bel Burkill holding up her deck chair print design on Bournemouth Beach

Illustrator Bel Burkill holding up her new deck chair print design available on her Etsy shop.

What advice would you give emerging illustrators today?

To definitely do your own thing and when you find something that’s yours or that you love, to run with it! Find a way to research it, understand it, and explore any little thing that inspires you. For instance, I LOVE working with colour, so whenever I have an opportunity to use it or work with it, I really let it inspire my process and just enjoy it!

I know everyone says “you do you” these days, but it’s so important to take what you’re good at, what makes you happy and to push it, but in your own way and time. Everyone has a different path and that is okay.

Don’t be put off or disheartened if someone gets to where you want first; just keep doing what you love and find ways to do it your way.

Any favourite tips to manage your working life?

Planning and to-do lists! Lists definitely make a clear head.

This is probably everyone’s top-tip to be honest, but I swear by it. Making daily lists of everything small or big really help me to focus on priorities and to destress, and weekly lists too.

Planning your week and giving yourself deadlines helps to focus you and keep you grounded. You can clearly map – and colour code! – what needs doing in every area of your working and personal life.

Bel Burkill Abstract Print Design

Bel Burkill Abstract Print Design

See more illustration and design by Bel Burkill here