First, Caroline got a BA in Illustration at the Chelsea School of Art. She then learned wood engraving as a guest student at Royal Academy Schools.
Scraperboard is card with a layer of white clay covered in black ink. Caroline marks out an initial drawing using transfer paper and then scrapes away the white layer with a craft knife into the black, creating the look of an engraving.
She has used computer software in the past but finds it frustrating and unnatural. The authentic look requires the true, physical medium, though sometimes she’ll add a colour wash in Photoshop to come up with something a bit different. When complete, her work is scanned and sent to the client digitally. Amendments can be made either by going back to the scraperboard, or using Photoshop.
Caroline’s style is reminiscent of 19th century engraving, so it tends to lend itself well to projects that aim to convey traditional and time-honoured values. Not surprisingly, her main influences include the engravers Thomas Bewick and Gustav Dore.
Question: It has been an exciting 12 months for you. What's been the best bit? Caroline: It makes me smile to see my work on meat packaging in Marks and Spencers. Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Caroline: At school I discovered I got higher marks when I added drawings to the text, went on from there really. I had an ‘uncluttered’ childhood in Uganda. My sisters and I would clamor for my Dad’s architectural plans to draw on the back of. A local printing firm would put scraps of paper aside for us and we'd make our own cards and presents. We pored over every detail in the few books we were lucky to own. My teenage years were spent in a delapidated georgian house which dad was renovating, so I guess surrounded by so much creativity I couldn’t be anything else. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Caroline: Did illustration at Chelsea School of Art but I was briefly being taught wood-engraving as a guest student at Royal Academy Schools. This was most instrumental in the direction I took. I discovered scraperboard soon after. Question: Where are you originally from? Caroline: Born in Kenya, grew up in Uganda, settled in Richmond. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Caroline: It’s in a pretty Victorian cottage a minute’s walk from my home. It’s quite empty, there’s just a large victorian desk, a chair, and 2 trunks of my favourite books. Question: Do you collect anything? Caroline: I used to keep everything I liked the look of, labels, cigar boxes, cards, packaging, feathers, books, tins, but thanks to google I’ve saved myself a lot of storage space. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Caroline: No, just piles, boxes and files.
Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Caroline: Nothing recent, but I always enjoy when people ask for an example of what I’ve done and as luck would have it I can point to the logo on the beer glass they’re holding (London Pride) or pick out something from their fridge (M&S meat), or, at worst, some packaging in their bin! Question: Please can you tell me a little about the technique you use to create your artworks? Caroline: Scraperboard is cardboard with a thin layer of white clay that is coated with black ink. I scrape away the black surface with a craft knife. Question: Who is/are your illustration hero/es? Caroline: Thomas Bewick, Gustave Dore. Question: Who is/are your musical hero/es? Caroline: Muse, empowering on a sluggish day. Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Caroline: Something similar, prop maker, decorator. Question: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Caroline: See my old home in Uganda. Question: What's the funniest thing you have ever done? Caroline: I had to draw Atlas holding up the world so took pictures of my scantily clad husband posing with a laundry basket on his shoulders. The photo developers lost the photos and I had to describe the images to them! Question: Do you have any pets? Caroline: Half of a dog. We do a dog-share thing. Question: If you won the lottery what would you do with the money? Caroline: Give it back, it wouldn’t be mine as I’ve never yet bought a ticket. Ok, I’d do something dull like pay off my mortgage. Question: Would you continue to illustrate? Caroline: Definitely. I get irritable if I’m not drawing or creating things. Picking at scraperboard is as therapeutic as stroking a cat, no really. Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Caroline: Always had a thing for Victorian/Edwardian England, I would want to take loads of photos for my reference files.
Domino's, DDB Helsinki, Atlantic Books, Virgin, McCann Erickson Dublin, Marks and Spencers, Waitrose, EnvisionFavourites
: I will have to rethink my career
if Swann Norton ever discontinue blade no2
: first coffee of the day
: Victoria and Albert Museum