In the Studio: Lisa Evans

London, UK

Lisa Evans’ highly original style, which is based on a rich narrative language, produces images that draw audiences in and allow for a very engaged level of communication.

What five words would you choose to describe your illustration style?

Digital, detailed, childlike, atmospheric and dreamlike.

You have a beautifully eye-catching style, which is based on a rich narrative of language. Tell us a little about the process of your work to create this style of illustration apparent in your work?

Thank you! 🙂

Most of my work starts out as a series of pencil sketches within my notebook. I use small thumbnail sketches to work out the composition of an image, and then I draw and re-draw the design over and over, adding detail and firming up the idea with each iteration.

When I’m happy with it, I scan it in and start working on top of it in Photoshop. The work can change a lot as I add colour and more detail than is possible in sketches. I’m constantly adding layers to the work to try to get the lighting and atmosphere I’m looking for.

Pick three things that are most valuable to you in your working studio and explain to us why you have chosen those and what story there is behind them…

My PC. It’s an essential tool for my work.

My window. I stare out the window a lot, mostly at the sparrows and wood pigeons in my garden. They have a strange routine going: the sparrows empty seed from the bird-feeder onto the ground, where a large wood pigeon eats it. Either the wood pigeon is a mobster demanding payment from the sparrows, or the sparrows are manipulating the pigeon for some unknown dark purpose.

A sketchbook and pen. I write, sketch and draw a lot and I’ve kept my sketchbooks stretching back years. They’re important for developing ideas, and they’re a log of work on each project I’ve done.

How do you feel being part of an agency represented as a freelance illustrator has helped with your work to date?

It’s been a huge help and I feel very fortunate. It frees me up to focus on creating art while Folio deal with the business side, whether it’s contracts or copyright. They’ve been essential in helping keep relationships with clients healthy and on a number of occasions have gone above and beyond.

Working within illustration and creativity can have its highs and lows. What are your three constraints and three motives to work during the day?

I tend not to need much motivation to work; the challenge for me is to get the work done without letting it consume my entire life! In that sense, my motivations are to work with focus so I have time to do as good a job as possible, so I can give the client what they want, and to finish so I can spend an evening on personal projects or with loved ones.

The constraints are the other side of the same coin. I get up and start work most mornings at 7am, but I divide the day into different projects so I remain motivated and interested. It can be different to self-impose that structure and routine without an external pressure, but I find that once I’m into a routine I work better and can maintain that routine more easily.

Who and what keeps you inspired?

My boyfriend Graham. He’s kind, rational, calm and insightful. He always offers a positive perspective and is open to talking about anything and everything.

I’m invigorated by nature, and so I find going for walks in the countryside near our house can help a lot. Whenever I’m stressed about a project or growing tired of something, walking through some fields and seeing flowers and wildlife instantly helps.

I also spend a lot of time online reading, listening to podcasts, and trying to learn about new subjects. I’m particularly interested in science and neuroscience and they’re a constant source of new ideas.

When, for you, do illustrations hold more strength than words?

That’s a hard one, but: when I need to express myself.

I’m not sure about strength but pictures help me think freely. There is no right or wrong picture. I find that more liberating as a tool of expression. I like the ambiguity of pictures. The potential for meaning and interpretation is broad, which allows for more play and creativity. The meaning of words can change too, but there are limits.

Lastly, tell us something we wouldn’t know about you…

I’m making a point-and-click adventure computer game. I’ve been working on it for just over a year. I’ve wanted to find a way to bring my work to life for a long time and computer games let me do that in a way that will allow players to walk around my artwork, talk to my characters and explore them at their own pace. It’s hard work and has been a huge learning experience so far but it’s also hugely rewarding. Hopefully people will enjoy it when I’m