I'm so excited to share my next interview with you, as this lovely lady- Mique Moriuchi, is one of my favourite illustrators. I have been a fan of her work for a few years now & I'm building up a rather lovely collection of her books for my daughter who adores them too! Her favourite being Butterfly Girl.
I just love all the textures & patterns Mique creates. I adore her characters & the colours she uses are just, well, beautiful. Whenever I'm reading one of Mique's books to my daughter, she always ends up telling me off for reading too slowly because I can't help but linger on each page taking in the amazing art work!
I was so thrilled when Mique agreed to do the interview, as she is a first time mummy with a toddler in tow & something mummies just don't have is spare time!! I really appreciate this Mique! Thank you so much :-)
Hi Mique, can you tell us a bit about yourself & how long have you been painting/illustrating professionally?
I've always loved making pictures, ever since I was a little girl. My mum is an artist, so from an early age, we enjoyed making things together, from pots to picture books and crafty summer projects.
I studied Graphic Design/Illustration at Norwich School of Art & Design, then completed my MA in Sequential Design & Illustration at University of Brighton in 1999.
It took a few years of persevering, pestering and being utterly broke before things finally started to happen for me. I'd say I've been illustrating professionally for a little over 10 years.
When & how in that journey did you discover your love of Mixed Media?
Truthfully, it happened through my inability to paint! I did a lot of black and white lino cuts during my BA, but what I really wanted to do was use lots of colour freely and create textures. I was useless at painting figures, but enjoyed painting abstract backgrounds and pattern. I experimented with collage as a way to combine my lino printed characters with painted backgrounds towards the end of my BA, and that was how it all began.
When starting a new piece of work, staring at a blank canvas can be daunting. What is your go-to/favourite method you use to create your backgrounds & what are your favourite supplies currently?
The beginning bit is the carefree, easy and fun bit for me. I loosely lay down colour using a combination of collage and acrylic paint. There's no pressure at this point, as any mistakes can be painted over, and becomes part of the process of creating layers and texture. I love painting so freely, and it helps me think about what I want the picture to be.
On the other hand, I find finishing a piece often the hardest part of the process. It's rare that I'm happy with a finished piece; I could probably go on tweaking little bits here and there forever.
Like myself you are a mother and someone who is self-employed. We have to wear many hats & take on many roles! It's a juggling act & most of the time I struggle to fit in anything creative into my day! Can you give us any tips on how you organise your days to ensure you have time to create & what percentage of your time is 'creative time' during the week versus everything else? (Don't worry if burning the midnight oil is your answer to this one!)
My boy is at nursery 2 days a week, and these are my working days. It took 15 months until I was able to have this precious bit of time for myself, so I try not to get distracted with housework etc, but it's hard to ignore all the stuff that needs doing when you work from home.
When I am with my boy, it's near impossible to get any work done, so I dedicate my time to him and try to keep phone and computer time to a minimum. Once he goes to sleep for the night, out comes my ever-growing list, and I'm lucky if I manage to tick one thing off. In those few precious hours between his sleep and my own, I cram in dinner, email and all correspondence type things, blogging, catching up with partner (although more often than not, we tend to have our heads buried in our laptops, engrossed in our own little worlds), and at the end of or in between all that, I create.
Knitting and sewing is ideal as I can pick up and put down whenever and wherever, and I can do it in front of the telly, which is a bonus! Illustration is more tricky; as I do everything by hand, it's super messy, with paper and paint everywhere. Evenings are dark and I can't see the colours properly. It's hard to drag myself away from the comfort of the sofa to sit in my cramped little corner of the living room, especially when I am tired and sleepy from constant sleep deprivation and a full belly. However, if there's a deadline to meet it's a different story. I'll put in all the hours I have into my work. Sleep is the biggest sacrifice I make to fit it all in. Being a night owl, I used to enjoy working through the night but of course things are different now. If I stay up too late, I pay the price the next day
Are there any words of encouragement you would like to give to creative Mummies out there who are feeling run down & frustrated creatively. In other words when you are tired and don't have much time spare, how do you keep yourself ticking over creatively & how would it effect you if you didn't do anything creative?
Creativity is both a curse and a blessing. You can't switch it off. You're always looking, thinking, questioning, making observations and jotting down. Although I may not physically be creating something, it's all part of the same process. It's still creative time. Having a baby boy who wasn't the greatest sleeper, and who mostly only napped in my arms, I had no spare time or energy for anything but I still made observations (mostly about my boy) and jotted things down when I could. I'm glad I did, as my sleep deprived fuzzy brain wouldn't have remembered half of those things. When my boy started nursery, or had the occasional long nap, I would refer to these notes and make pictures. Right there in those scribbles and notes is my endless source of inspiration.
For anyone just starting out what did you find was the best way to get your work out there & seen? i.e Agent, Facebook? Blog? Etsy Shop? A combination of all?
Things were very different when I was first trying to get my work seen. It was before the days of the world wide web, which makes me sound ancient! I used to send out packages with photocopies of my work and handmade stationery to publishers, editors and agents. I came up with different ways to try and make my work stand out from the crowd. These days everything seems to be done digitally and online, which is great for saving time and money, but with so much great talent out there, I still believe it's important to make yourself and your work stand out from the crowd. Persistence and innovation are key. Exhibitions are also a great way to get your work seen, in addition to providing you with a deadline to work towards. One of my exhibitions led to my very first picture book commission, so you never know where things take you!
Today, I have a blog, Flickr page and Etsy shop, and I've just recently updated my website and set up a Facebook page. I enjoy all of these things and feel like I've made some lovely connections with fellow illustrators, as well as parents, students and people from all over. Life as a freelance illustrator can be pretty isolating at times, and likewise being a parent to a baby or toddler, so these little bits of communication can put a smile on my face, inspire and keep me going. Admittedly, I'm not sure whether these platforms alone would have led to big commissions. They are more an outlet for personal work, but it's really important to keep personal work going. My agents Arena take care of the business side of things, looking for suitable projects, and helping me manage my time, contracts, wobbles etc, which enables me to focus totally on my work. I've been with them for about 10 years, and they've been great!
Lots of people! Here are just a few of my favourites illustrators: Beatrice Alemagna, Kumi Obata, Morteza Zahedi, Jon Klassen, Christian Robinson, Blanca Gomez, Carson Ellis, Laura Carlin, Marika Maijala, Violeta Lopiz, Yasmeen Ismail, Tupera Tupera, Shinta Cho, Gomi Taro, 100% Orange, Leo Lionni, Tove Jansson...the list is endless!
Thanks so, so much for taking part, please tell us where can we connect with you?
You can find me here: