Meet Rebecca Sheerin - an inspiring artist who is part of our Curiouser team. If you come in every now and then to have a mooch in one of our shops, then you might have seen Rebecca's joyful illustrations on our walls. Her intricate and bright illustrations have been very popular. Rebecca uses mixed media to draw her vibrant, multi-layered images that instantly transport you to the seaside. I met her at her studio in Abbeymount at Out of The Blue to talk a bit more about her artistic practice and take a few photographs. Read the interview below to find out what we talked about. I hope you enjoy getting to know Rebecca a little bit better.
Sketches of sea textures, birds in flight and landscape.
1. What path brought you to being an illustrator?
I have always been creative and started painting from an early age. I became interested in illustration because I loved stories and being dyslexic and so struggling with reading, I found joy in the pictures. When I studying BA Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art I found a community of creative people who also loved telling stories through drawing.
Framed prints in the Abbeymount Studio.
2. What is your favourite thing to draw at the moment? What do you use as reference?
At the moment I have be drawing lots of shells and underwater creatures. I like to visit the coast of Fife and explore the rock pools for interesting shell shapes and patterns. I also watch videos of shell creatures swimming under the waves. I have found videos to be a much better drawing reference than photos as they make my drawings feel more rugged and natural.
Layers of drawing prepared for screen-printing.
3. Do you have a strong connection with the sea? You have made so many gorgeous illustrations of it and we love the sea themed windows that you painted for us.
I find the coast is where I feel most calm and relaxed. Funnily enough I’m terrified of swimming in deep water and I’m allergic to shellfish so you’d think I wouldn’t be interested. But I love the patterns and shapes you find by the sea, in tiny silent eco systems completely unaffected by us humans. I recently wrote and illustrated a zine called Sea Shells which was about the abundance of life along the Fife coast and our relationship with it. The last verse of the poem is:
“And can you hear the harbour call,
“Fresh Today” from every stall,
caught this very morning,
Just like every dawn before
Timeless is the harmony
Of the sea and shore".
This sums up why I love going to beaches. I have always lived in cities and sometimes you just need to be reminded that there's something bigger than you that was there well before you arrived and will be there when you’re long gone.
Rebecca in her studio.
4. Do you have a technique that you like going back to and is there something that you are looking forward to exploring?
I love the effect of Risograph printing so I always return to that. It’s exciting to see how the layers will mix to make new colours and textures. I have been wanting to include more college in my work. College always looks great when riso-printed and its very enjoyable to make the textured and patterned papers.
Prints with hand-finished details done in crayons.
5. How do you find running your own creative business?
There are pros and cons, I like how every day is different and I have control over how I spend my time. However it can get lonely and its important to stay connected with other creatives. I am lucky to have a space in a shared studio (Abbeymount at Out of The Blue). It’s great to have a space outside my home where I can keep a somewhat organised chaos of papers and art materials. And see other artists of all types on a daily basis.
Drawing desk with location sketches.
6. How do you recharge and replenish your energy?
Lots of biscuits and cups of tea. I also love to go to bookshops and art galleries to find inspiration and motivation when I’m feeling burnt out.
Little pencil case with fabric illustrations by Rebecca.
7. Apart from your passion for drawing, is there anything you love doing, or could do more if you had a chance?
I love to crochet and would like to do that more. I find it very relaxes and stretches different creative muscles in my brain. Its great for winding down in front of the telly on an evening.
Colour palette for sea-inspired paintings.
9. If you could be an animal, what would it be?
I wouldn’t mind having a fancy shell to hide in.
Details of Rebecca's work and her paper archive in her Abbeymount studio.
10. What is the most important piece of advice you were given?
My friends always says “Life’s a beach, don’t be shocked if you’re sandy” …
I guess that means, go with the flow, don’t worry if things go wrong, that’s just life!
Thank you for your time Rebecca.
Colourful Scottish Harbour Risograph Print.
Rebecca painting seaside details on Broughton Street window.
You can find a collection of Rebecca's fabulous prints here.