After researching Peter Firmin and discovering his daughter was an illustrator, I decided to email her with a few questions.
What made you want to be an illustrator?
Who are your influences?
What are you favourite techniques/processes?
Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?
She replied saying:
Thanks for your nice email. I’ll try to answer your questions…
I grew up surrounded by people drawing/ making things ,it was normal for me and my five sisters to do creative stuff! So art college was a natural progression. At the RCA I started to enjoy printmaking more and it emerged as my area to work in. I always loved the ‘narrative’ , having stories read to us from an early age and seeing my father and Oliver Postgate working on film and books helped . My influences are wide , Edward Ardizzone for stories ,Edward Bawden ,Claire Leyton,Thomas Bewick ,Picasso for printmaking .Just a few of the people who have influenced me. I use Lino and wood cut techniques but have often combined them with paint and collage , especially for commercial work that is a ‘one off’ piece , and not an edition.
My advice ,briefly, is to concentrate on finding a way of working that suits you personally.if you seriously want to earn your living and enjoy doing that from your work you must find a way that you love and then go out and try to sell it! Things are changing hugely at the moment in the media .After 30 years (!) of working continuously I find I am doing most of my work for exhibition and selling at venues and galleries .This suits me now ,but shows how adaptable you need to be to make a living. Look at and be informed about past and present work that is going on and most importantly enjoy what you do!
All the best with your studies and work. Keep in touch via my website ie see exhibitions I’m doing ect. Good luck! Hannah
It was a really lovely email with some really helpful advice. Peter Firmin has always been a huge inspiration to me, so to talk to his daughter feels like a really big privilege. I can really relate to a lot of the things she says about growing up in a creative environment and just being inspired from a young age as i feel this is definitely a big part of my childhood too.