Elizabeth Olwen’s drawing tip

Saturday is illustration day. Each week, we put one of our favorite illustrators in the spotlight, and ask them to share a golden tip to help us get started with drawing. Today, it’s the turn of Elizabeth Olwen from Toronto, Canada.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m a surface pattern designer and have clients all around the world. My patterns are used for many things, from fabrics to wallpaper, and I love the idea that my work brings beauty into the lives of others. I remember as a kid always staring at the wallpaper during those “boring adult conversations,” and really losing myself in it. When I’m designing, I try to recall that child and have her in my mind. My patterns have something to offer if you really take a moment to look at them. I create beautiful backdrops to everyday life, which I think is so nice.

How would you describe your work?
Organic and graphic at the same time; fresh and modern with a nod to bygone days.

What inspires you?
Nature is my muse: I love to go camping and to be in the forest. And I collect vintage fabrics and English wallpaper.

How do you get started on a design?
I always start with sketches. Once I’ve found a direction I’m happy with in my mind, I continue the development of the design on my iPad. After that, I transfer it to the computer and elaborate on it there. Bit by bit, and with great care and love.

Can you tell us a bit about the illustration below?
I showed it to a friend and, according to her, it seems as if the flowers are whispering to each other. Which is exactly right! I like the fact that there is an airy movement in it. It’s an illustration that I definitely could have lost myself in when I was a child.

Got a golden drawing tip for us?
I think it’s important to remember that nothing can be right or wrong when you draw. Earlier, I used to doubt myself before putting pen to paper, and question whether the end result would be dull or look stupid. But there is nothing right or wrong in art. It is your own interpretation of a form, an object or a motif, and that makes it so unique. The whole goal is just to have fun, be creative and express yourself. So be free and be yourself.

Do you want to see more of Elizabeth Olwen? Take a look at our Flow Book for Paper Lovers. She drew a ‘Folding house’, built on her love for folk art and fairy tales.