The aim of my work is to make people smile

The aim of my work is to make people smile

- Hi Emma, Tell us about your work, what inspires you? 

- I am a freelance illustrator and am very much inspired by my love of nature and all the wonderful shapes, forms and colours that she provides.  My love of birds seems to represent my passion for the natural world and I try to feature a little bird in most of my work.

Emma Lawrence drawing in the middle of a green field with lilac flowers.

Emma Lawrence logo where it says Emma Lawrence Designs and there are drawings of nature and birds.
- What do you try to express with your work? What perspective is particularly yours? 

- I try to express the feeling that nature provides so readily – a sense of calm and beauty.  Looking at the natural world fills me with a wonderous joy that can’t be matched by anything and instantly creates a sense of peace and relaxation.  I try to create a soft and fresh colour palette that is gentle and calming. Fine details are important to me and reflect examining nature closely. I also enjoy using humour in my work as the aim is to make people smile.  You might find my farm animals wearing wellies, birds with a hat or necklace and a worm with a smiley face!

Illustration of white sheep in green boots.

- Tell us about artists that you admire and why?

- Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe (1901-1979) is an artist I much admire.  His drawings and paintings of birds and animals are incredible, and his illustrations featured on many items, from stamps and collectable cards to books and advertisements.  Being able to look at his sketches and plans for larger paintings or how composition was developed is very inspiring. His measured drawings are stunning and reveal his depth of knowledge for the subjects.  Perhaps because he was originally from Cheshire, UK, as I am and that he later lived and painted from his home in a small village in Anglesey, where my parents live, makes his work feel even more special. I can sit and draw from the same spots he once did!  His work is timeless and that is something I particularly admire.
I also admire the work of naïve artists, with simplified shapes and perspective.  Often when drawing a plant or flower, I change the perspective to produce the clearest view of it.  I think this particularly works well in children’s book illustrations. My favourite pieces of this style are of animals which reflects the side profiles that I create.

Illustration by Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe where we see many fawns.

Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe (1901-1979) – Ring of Fellow Bucks 

- What motivates you to draw the world around you?

- My interest in nature and passion for wildlife has been there since a young child and I draw the things around me that give me so much enjoyment.  I love the fact that in such a tiny patch of earth you can find such a wealth of interest and beauty. 
Illustration by Emma Lawrence that explains through images the functioning of an ecosystem.
- What made you start illustrating and designing?

- Throughout my childhood I spent my time drawing, collecting and making.  Nature always provided so much pleasure but at school I wasn’t encouraged to pursue art.  I wasn’t allowed to study art and biology together either. After a degree and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, I became particularly interested in brain injury rehabilitation and worked for over 20 years as a Neuropsychologist supporting patients with memory and other deficits.  Looking back, it was interesting that I always tried to use my creativity in rehabilitation, even creating customised drawings for patients to help them remember information. I would draw in my spare time and wrote and illustrated my first book whilst still working full time. With my young family growing, my desire to improve my work-life balance and to fulfill all my design ideas became stronger.  At the end of 2015, I took the leap and became a freelance illustrator and have never looked back.  

Emma Lawrence drawing in her studio.

- Do you remember about the first time you saw our creations ( Materia Rica )? What did you think?

- I first saw Materia Rica online and loved it but then saw it for the first time in a gift shop in Anglesey.  Wow! Simply stunning! The collection stood out as being exquisitely beautiful, really fresh and appealing and the quality really stood out.  Everything from the packaging, colours, designs and finish. It was so wonderful and I felt that the previous photographs I had seen didn’t do it justice.

- Can you tell us a moment in your career that made you feel super empowered as a creator?

- It is hard work being a freelance illustrator without the security of an employed position and regular income.  However, there have been a few moments when I have won an award or seen my licensed product ranges for the first time when I have felt empowered.  At those moments I feel more confident and that people like my designs. That is the best feeling – when someone smiles at your greeting card or I’m told a child keeps picking up one of my books to read again and again.

Handmade drawing of a bee and painted in colored pencil by Emma Lawrence.

- What’s your dream design achievement? 

- My dream design achievement is to be able to see a variety of my designs on different products that people love using.  Everything from bedroom décor, jigsaws, stationery and homeware. It would be great for my style to be recognisable and known far and wide!

- What pieces created with Materia Rica do you feel most identified and why?

 - I think it would be the necklaces with the FLOWERS IN A JUG necklace and GARDEN SCISSORS, as they reflect my love of wildflowers and nature.  I am also attracted to simple things that can be so appealing, such as a small jug or little pot to put flowers in or the cutting scissors which have a beautiful design but are functional.  I think that is why I find WATERING CAN earrings so lovely – it is their shapes and colours – balanced designs, functional, practical and beautiful in my eyes.  They help us water our precious plants and flowers so there is that connection too, reflecting life and growth and nature.


FLOWER IN A JUG NECKLACE necklace, a white jug with wild flowers. The necklace has an old gold chain.

Garden Scissors necklace where you can see a part of scissors cutting flowers.

Earrings WATERING CAN Earrings, blue. Each earring is a watering can and has an old gold colored hook.

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