Zoe’s studio is situated in Notting Hill, which is a prime position for an illustrator who loves markets. She’s right next to Golborne Road Antiques Market and minutes away from Portobello Road with its famous stalls selling old papers, postcards, vintage clothing, furniture, prints and more. She trained at Wimbledon School of Art, London College of Communication and Central Saint Martins, with David Hockney a key influence.
Zoe usually works in pen and ink – she has a broad collection of pens to choose from – and loves to draw by hand. She only uses a computer to plan compositions and to touch up the handmade images. Now and again she’ll experiment with collage and screenprinting too.
Depending on the atmosphere she wants to generate, Zoe varies her line work from the strong to the whimsical. Her use of color is often constrained, using splashes and marks to highlight areas of a piece. She knows just when to keep it simple, and when to concentrate on intricate detail.
Question: Where are you originally from? Zoe: A Londoner through and through. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Zoe: I live in Islington. I grew up in South London but there was everything to tempt me North of the river. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Zoe: I studied a BA in Graphic Design and Advertising at LCC University of the Arts and a post-graduate course in Illustration at Central Saint Martins. I think doing Advertising was a great way of understanding how to answer a brief. Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Zoe: I've drawn obsessively ever since I can remember. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Zoe: I work from a studio in my flat. It's amazingly light which is really important to me, it's small but filled with new ideas and old finds. Question: How do you get your ideas? Zoe: I'm inspired by the beauty of the ordinary. Sometimes the most unexpected things prompt new ideas. London is great for that. I love travelling and exploring new cities and I usually come home with new finds and inspirations. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Zoe: I love travelling. I'm very much a city inspired person. Every city I visit, finding a market is on the top of my list. They are my dreamland for hunting out old gems. I'm an absolute rummager at heart; I've found beautiful old prints, cameras and objects. My flat has become host for all the intricate finds. Question: Do you collect anything? Zoe: I collect old Penguin and Pelican books, my favourites are all lined up above my desk. Any old bookshop I stumble upon and I'm straight in there on the hunt!
Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Zoe: I keep a scrap box, which I delve into for ideas every so often. A wall in my studio seems to act as scrapbook of sorts. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Zoe: I've been working on a series of drawings based around my favourite places in the world. From Spitalfields to Greenwich Village, I've combined all elements big and small into intricate illustrations. It's been great fun to do and has given me itchy feet to get back to all these places. Question: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Zoe: Williamsburg, New York. The city is full to the brim with a million things to look at on every block you pass. I love that you can ride 10 minutes out of the city into Williamsburg and the entire scale of everything changes but remains as interesting as the rest. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Zoe: There are too many to name just one, but I'd love it illustrate for Penguin. Question: Who is/are your design hero/es? Zoe: I love drawing old buildings. The more intricate and decorative the better, so I suppose the architects of the 18th and 19th Century. Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Zoe: The late 60's/early 70's. I think it was an era almost ahead of the time we live in now. Everything was individual and interesting without being a format, which often seems to be how we live now. Question: What is your favourite graphics programme? Zoe: My pens, sketchbooks and scanner are pretty much all I use, apart from the odd bit of cleaning up on Photoshop. Question: Who would you like to have as your muse if your were painting their portrait? Zoe: John Hurt has such a fascinating face, I think he'd be my ideal subject.
The Times, Topshop, John Lewis, Mumford and Sons, Bloosmbury, Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward, Dazed and Confused, Studio ConranFavourites
: Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip
: Charles Lamb pub in Islington
: Pauls Emporium on York Way, filled with amazing old finds
: Lula magazine
: Monmouth Coffee