We caught up with artist and illustrator Georgie St Clair about her inspiration, finding time to be creative, and her tips for improving your Instagram following.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m an artist and illustrator living in Brighton with my gorgeous 3 kids and hubby. I create floral and botanical inspired art and illustrations, created using real flowers and foliage.
I sell my prints online and work with a variety of clients across the world. My latest client was in South Korea. They found me all thanks to the power of the internet and Instagram – which I’m slightly obsessed with!
Your Instagram account is hugely popular (48,000 at the latest count), what are your 3 top tips for building an Instagram following?
Consistency, creativity and commenting.
Choose your topic and consistently post around that theme. If you’re a textile designer sharing your process, don’t suddenly start posting about your kickboxing hobby!
Think about how you can present your theme. For example if you’re a textile designer, think creatively. Make interesting origami shapes from your textiles, take them outside and photograph them in the trees. Think beyond just showing them as piles of fabric or textiles draped on a mannequin.
Comment on other people’s photos regularly and reply to people who comment on your photos. It’s a matter of being polite. If someone takes time to comment on my post, 9 out of 10 go off and check out their account and leave a like or a comment.
Make sure you have a good profile picture too – that entices people to check you out.
Who are your favourite accounts to follow on Instagram?
Oh my word I need another blog post! @Caroline_South has been and still is one of my favourite accounts since starting on Instagram 4 years ago. Her creative styling, colour palettes and photography are brilliant.
A recent discovery is @allthatisshe. Lifestyle accounts can be very ‘same-y’ but Dominique has such fantastic ideas brilliantly composed and captured.
We were very impressed reading your client list (Adobe, Stylist, Sass & Belle…), how did you secure your first big commission?
Seriously though, I think Instagram had a lot to do with finding clients in the beginning. Although that has changed as the algorithm changed and made visibility on Instagram more difficult.
However the first big commissions actually came from blogging. I was also discovered by Not On The High Street and invited to pitch my products as a result of having a blog. I’ve returned to concentrate on blogging, e-newsletters and actually reaching out to people now. Old school marketing techniques 😉
You haven’t had any ‘formal’ illustration training, what advice do you have for someone looking to start a creative career in a different specialism than they trained in?
I think you’ve just got to get stuck in and go for it. Find time to develop new skills every moment you possibly can.
When my kids were babies I would draw at nap times or once they had gone to bed. Even now I grab every moment I can to practice and develop new skills. If you’re passionate enough you’ll find the time. I rarely watch TV. And I get up before the rest of my family so I can have creative time to myself.
Your beautiful illustrations contain lots of floral imagery, how much of your design work happens ‘in real life’ and how much is computer based?
At the moment it’s 50/50. I’m currently creating imagery for products so there’s a lot of photoshop work to be done. Once I’ve finished creating these, I want to go back to to simple pencil drawing and collaging with real flowers for some limited edition art prints.
Which artists or designers inspire you?
Artist, Krisjana S Williams work. She uses vintage imagery painstakingly collaged to create the most intricate illustrations that also contain a lot of flora and fauna.
I adore Carne Griffiths for his dynamic portraits created using tea, ink and alcohol.
Also Georgia O’Keefe for her flower paintings. One day, I want to return to oil painting. I find it so relaxing.
And Kelly Smith aka Birdy and Me. Her magical illustrations and beautiful pencil work is so beautiful.
What are you most proud of achieving since setting up your business?
I still find it amazing that I have created imagery that people want to buy and have on their walls! Plus having just turned 40, I’m finally living the dream of having a creative business. It’s still very much a work in progress and I don’t feel I’ve ‘arrived’ yet, but I’m very happy I’ve finally started on this path.
Can you tell us about something exciting you are working on at the moment?
I’m in the process of creating illustrations for products and homewares. Again, something I have wanted to do have for a very long time. And my character Sassy Du Fleur is just about to feature on makeup products in South Korea and across Asia.
There’s a lot of ideas in my brain that I want to get out and create – so everyday feel exciting right now!