How to Be an Illustrator with Clare Grove

‘My Mummy Loves’ illustrator Clare Grove, who’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, has sketched time out of her dream lifestyle to let us in on her secrets to being a successful illustrator.

W.S.B: Hi Clare, great to chat to you today! How’s life in Auckland, New Zealand treating you?

Clare: Hi, it’s a cold rainy day today here in Herne Bay, so am trying to keep as dry and warm as possible!

W.S.B: Just from your Instagram, I can see you have well over 7K following you, who’s inspired you the most from the list?

Clare: Instagram has been an incredible platform to be able to show my work and to meet like-minded designers, illustrators and other mothers. I’m blown away by how many talented ladies there are out there that manage to juggle work and families. They inspire me every day.

W.S.B: At what age did you know you wanted to make illustration a career?

Clare: My mother is an artist so I always knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps. After I finished University I went out on my own and started commissioned artwork for private clients and small companies. The first few years of trekking around London with my portfolio were really tough. I had a lot of rejections in those early days, but I refused to give up and made myself keep going!

W.S.B: Did you go to university or take any courses in art to get to where you are now?

Clare: I completed a Foundation Course at Wimbledon School of Art in London in my early 20’s, then went on to University to gain a BA Honours in Graphic Design & Illustration.

W.S.B: You’ve worked with many companies including, ‘OH baby!’, ‘NZ House and Garden’ and ‘Bird & Knoll’, do you have any exciting new collaborations you’re allowed to announce?

Clare: I’m currently working with the gorgeous Andrea Moore. I’ve always loved her clothes so it was wonderful when they contacted me for a collaboration. I’m also thrilled to be working with the incredible Kathryn Wilson. We are in talks about some very exciting future projects.

W.S.B: Is there anyone you’d like to work with in the future? Any dream fashion houses maybe?

Clare: It would be a dream to work with iconic fashion houses such as Dior and Chanel. Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele is well known for contacting artists via Instagram for collaborations so you never know.

W.S.B: With support from influential leaders like, ‘Diane Von Furstenburg’, ‘The Chic Petite’ and ‘Joanna Lumley’, you’ve become a worldwide success. Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?

Clare: My mantra is:

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Claire: I feel very fortunate to have received such wonderful reviews of my books from top fashion designers and celebrities. If you love what you do, work hard and keep at it, great things will eventually start happening.

W.S.B: You’ve also launched the ‘The Fash Pack’ app; a collection of illustrated emojis by your design. How did you develop the idea and who did you work with?

Clare: The FashPack App came from wanting to see more emojis other than that red shoe and the old fashioned pink bag! I illustrated over 250 emojis such as Louboutin heels, Chanel flats and tweed jacket, Gucci and Mulberry bags, Charlotte Olympia pumps, a smokey eye, botox, and white wine bottle. People keep telling me they can’t live without the pink flamingo and heart of flowers. The FashPack watercolour illustrated emojis are a fun way to add a bit glamour to your messages. I worked with a fantastic software company based in central Auckland that developed the app for me.

W.S.B: What’s the hope for your business during the next 5 years?

Clare: I’m currently working on my third book in the Mummy Loves series, “My Mummy Loves Hats”. In a couple of weeks’ time my eldest daughter and I are heading off to New York to hand deliver my books to Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Ave. They are going to be selling my books in the personal shopping department. While we are there I’m meeting with some of New York’s finest designers, makeup artists and beauticians. It’s going to be a whirlwind six days, but we’ll have lots of fun I hope.

Clare: Re the next five years, gosh that’s a hard one. It would be a dream to see my books sold in iconic worldwide department stores such as Selfridges, London and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Through this journey I’ve met some amazing people and made lifelong friends.

Everyone has been so supportive of my books, I can’t thank them all enough. x

W.S.B: Thank you so much for letting ‘WhatSheBlogged’ interview you. Good luck with ‘My Mummy Loves’!


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