Name and Passion:
My name is Bridget Beorse and at the moment I work mostly in book and editorial illustration.
As an illustrator I get the opportunity to collaborate with and meet amazing people on a variety of projects: great authors, reporters, musicians, artists and others that are huge inspirations to me. I am in awe of the people who I get to work with both now and in the future. I've wanted to make art for a living for my entire life.
On top of that, I get to see my work published and out there in the world, how cool is that!
How long have you been creating work?
I've been making drawings and paintings all of my life. I've only been illustrating professionally for three years and full time for less than a year.
My advice for new illustrators?
Draw and network like their is no tomorrow.
Advice for anyone starting out in the freelance world of illustration?
Jobs do not come out of the ether, like with traditional work, you most often get work through friends, so start making friends in the industry. Or rather, start introducing yourself, through mailers, your website, social media, and and as many portfolio reviews as phone calls as you can manage.
As far as the drawing part of that goes, drawing is basic to illustrative thinking, even if your work doesn't include drawing at all, it teaches you about the art elements and principles as well as helping you work out stylistic incongruities. Drawing just teaches you to be a better artist.
What school did you go to to get your education in illustration?
Savannah College of Art and Design, the illustration building is a beautiful old mansion. I chose SCAD because the college focuses on on artistic vocational training. I learned not just about creating good work but about contracts, networking, self-promotion, markets, how to present myself and my art and more in class.
Where do you see illustration going in the future?
In short, to a more digital and interactive format. Many of the industries that hire illustrators are hurting now, but I am optimistic for the future.
Like a lot of different parts of the entertainment industry right now, Illustration is in flux. None of the markets are going away, but they are changing. Books and newspapers are main clients for many illustrators, but while paper versions are on the wane, it is a matter of time before people start subscribing online to the newspapers that used to land on the doorstep. Papers like the New York Times have no reason to stop commissioning illustrations as they transition to an online format.
Books too, should not stop commissioning illustrators to bedeck pages with color. The problem in the book industry is not that companies will commission less illustration as society moves online but that like other entertainment, including newspapers, when the physical object becomes less important, it becomes harder to keep their product from being stolen, and easier for the lone writer to self-publish.
This moment in time is the age of the freelancer: a reporter, novelist, and a musician can all create their own market. To some extent illustrators can too, selling prints and originals online, but our main business is in decorating the products of others. While their are certainly opportunities to collaborate with other freelancers, they often cannot afford to pay a livable wage. So our eyes will be on these industries as they grow to fit the digital age.
What inspires you as an illustrator? Where have you found ideas?
I'm an art history nerd, so that has definitely made an big impact on my work. I also grew up hiking and looking at my dads old slides of places that he'd been when he was in his twenties and thirties as an outdoor reporter. I take a lot of outdoor photography and that finds its way into my work as well. I just explored things I liked and found ways to incorporate them into my work.
Have you ever been inspired from your art history background?
I wouldn't say I have an art history background per se, just a passion for it.
As an artist and a creative, I am shaped by what I have been exposed to. For example, I love Rothko, Gauguin, object posters, vintage travel photography, and hiking. I think all of that comes through in my work in some way. In addition, I can look at a previous artists work and see how they solved an visual problem, like warping perspective to make something more clear or interesting, and use that trick in my work. We learn from the past, and we can use that to our advantage.
Why do you think it’s important to understand art history?
It can make you a better artist if you let it.
If you lived in Africa and had to be an animal in the wild what would you be?
Specifically an African animal? I was going to say dogs because they are over populated and therefore are doing just fine living alongside humans, but if living conditions were not a factor I would have picked an elephant or Congolese gorilla. Apparently South Africa is facing an over population of elephants, so I will go with South African Elephant.
If you had the opportunity to travel to somewhere in the world or in space and time where would you go?
If I had the opportunity for normal travel or space/time travel which would I choose?! Doctor Who all the way! Why see Paris or New York now when I could meet Talouse La-trec or Rothko? Modern Rome when I could meet Giotto or Michelangelo! I'm sure you see the direction I would head.