Interview with illustrator Rebecca Walthall

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Meet Rebecca Walthall, a very creative lady whose illustrative work features in Artisan Issue 5. Rebecca collaborated with Trudy Slabosz (Queensland-based foodie and creative force behind Veggie Num Num blog) to create a touching personal narrative exploring the joy of growing your own veggie patch. The Artisan Team asks Rebecca a few questions about her interesting work.

Artisan Magazine (AM): Can you tell us a bit about the city you live in. What are your favourite things about it?
Rebecca Walthall (RW): Wellington is beautiful, I love that it is surrounded by coastline in every direction, that you can walk or bike anywhere you need to go, and that there are more cafés per capita than New York City (and better coffee, too!)

AM: Why did you decide to become an illustrator? Can you describe the pathway that led you to this type of career?
RW: I was originally going to pursue a science-based career when I decided to study graphic design. I never knew you could draw for a living but once I worked that out there was no turning back.

AM: What are the biggest influences on your work?
RW: I think it is very important for visual communicators to actively put the right messages out into the world and not to perpetuate stereotypes and ideals (unknowingly or not). I am highly aware that my personal worldview has a huge influence on my work so I am always looking for opportunities to make this richer.

Rebecca’s opening illustration for The Humble Veggie Patch – Artisan Issue 5  © 2013 Artisan Magazine

Rebecca’s opening illustration for ‘The Humble Veggie Patch’ – Artisan Issue 5
© 2013 Artisan Magazine

AM: What themes are most prominent in your work?
RW: I think I am too close to my work to be able to see an overarching theme clearly – I take each piece as it comes, though I probably gravitate toward editorial projects that might reveal a real-world truth and the everyday beautiful.

AM: Can you describe your style? Do you find your style has changed over time?
RW: One of my tutors took us through a drawing exercise where you deconstruct the subject into basic component shapes. This exercise really resonated with me and ever since has influenced the way I draw and put together my illustrations. Experimenting with tactile media (collage, crochet) influences my digital illustration work and vice versa, image-making with different media helps me to discover new approaches to the same problems.

AM: What projects are you working on now?
RW: Whenever I get a substantial spare moment I work on a series of paper cut portraits I’ve been doing for the past year or so – I’m not entirely sure where this project is going but I enjoy exploring the minimum of form you need to make an image.

I am also working on a couple of html-based projects at the moment. I’m learning how to code and it is so satisfying (when it works!). I’m interested in what html can be used for outside of the traditional website framework.

AM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years – what areas of illustration would you like to focus on?
RW: In five years I would love to have the flexibility and experience to freelance internationally – the dream is to travel the world and be able to work from wherever I am.

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download issue5_2Download Artisan Issue 5 to see more of Rebecca’s beautiful illustration and to read ‘The Humble Veggie Patch’.

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