Meet Our Creatives - Polly Crossman
Calligraphy and Illustration
1. So, tell us a little about you.
My name is Polly and I am an illustrator living in South London. I love good coffee, stripes, gin & tonic and my cat, George. I also love drawing!
2. What’s your creative story? Tell us a little about your creative background and what you do.
I have always loved drawing. I come from a creative family – my mum is an art teacher, my aunty is a painter, and my uncle a professional photographer, so I’ve been drawing since before I can remember. I studied art at school, and then went to university and left it behind, until a close friend asked me to create artwork for a wedding invitation. One piece led to another, and another, until eventually I took the plunge to work as a full-time illustrator in summer 2017. So now I run my own studio, creating bespoke stationery, drawing for brands, illustrating editorial work, and teaching a couple of creative workshops at M.Y.O - modern calligraphy, illustrated maps of London and watercolour flower painting! All suitable for beginners ;).
3. What artist or artwork inspired you the most growing up?
David Hockney, Picasso, Matisse, Howard Hodgkin, Turner, Lucian Freud, Monet… the works! I was so lucky to be taken to tonnes of exhibitions in London right through my childhood – and flashes of them continue to inspire me now.
4. What artist most inspires you now?
I WISH I could draw people like David Hockney. The precision in his use of line blows my mind every time. Plus, he’s still creating new work and breaking boundaries, in his 80s, for which I have huge respect.
5. What do you create mostly for work and what do you create mostly for fun?
Creating never feels like work for me! I often have to pinch myself that I get to do what I love, for work. Everything I create has a big dose of fun.
6. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
I’m incredibly proud of the business I’ve built – so that includes all of the work so far… and all that’s to come. But looking back, we’ll go with this drawing. I made this when I was four, and it ended up becoming the logo for my pre-school – and still is. I think my mum has the original somewhere. We’ll call it my first masterpiece!
7. Do you think people are just born creative or is it something everyone has, but many don’t explore?
I think everyone has creative juice in them, they just need squeezing in the right way at the right time. With something like drawing, I believe that its charm comes often in its imperfections – and I think sometimes people are too worried to give it a chance…
8. What’s your favourite colour? Why?
Petroleum blue. Because it’s the colour of sailor stripes and sometimes the sea, or rain clouds, and the night sky. It’s such a deep colour, and a brilliant alternative to black.
9. What’s your favourite album to listen to whilst you create and why?
I love listening to podcasts while I’m drawing – an episode of Desert Island Discs, or something creative and inspiring. At the moment I’m loving Emma Gannon’s Ctrl + Alt + Delete and Lizzie Evan’s How To Curate Your Life – both really inspiring for creative entrepreneurs.
10. If you were stuck on a desert island and had to bring 3 items with you to create with, what would you bring!?
A never-ending sketchbook, a never-ending pot of ink and a lifetime supply of nibs.
[M.Y.O note - cheater!]
11. If you could give advice to yourself growing up, with the benefit of hindsight, what would it be?
To be brave and take risks while you’re young – it took me a really long time to take the plunge!
12. What / who made you decide to become a professional creative, rather than doing it as a hobby?
The realisation that I could potentially make a living from my artwork – that it was actually possible – was the turning point. There came a point when I had a strong run of work, plus really positive encouragement from clients I’d been working with, and then one thing lead to another and it all came together. Hopefully it will continue!
13. What makes you most happy?
My favourite place in the world is a small fishing village in Cornwall where my grandfather lives. I am instantly at home there, with the smell of salt and the wind in my hair. On a sunny day in August, swimming in the sea, there’s nowhere I’d rather be!
14. What’s next for you? What you would like to be doing in 12 months?
More of the same! In 12 months I hope that my business is continuing to grow, I’m still working on exciting ideas, and pushing myself to be even more creative. Maybe that will lead to some new workshops too!
[M.Y.O note - it already has!]
15. Is there anything exciting coming up that you would like to let people know about? You can catch my at some spring wedding fairs in London – A Most Curious Wedding Fair, 1-3 March, and Chosen Wedding Fair, 25 March – and at my M.Y.O for lots of their modern calligraphy classes in London, illustrated maps of London workshop and the new [April 2018] watercolour flower painting class in the next few months. All are beginner friendly and do come say hello at my stand at the Chosen Wedding Fair in March 2018 too!
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