The Artist’s Studio: Jessica Durrant

Inspired by her travels around the globe, music, film, fashion, architecture, vintage illustration, and Scandinavian design, freelance illustrator Jessica Durrant is in high demand. Her work has been featured in magazines across the globe and for high end designers like Oscar de la Renta and Elie Saab.

Needless to say, the Audrey team was enamored by her whimsical art; so enchanted that we not only decided to use one of her paintings as the over of our launch issue, but we used another piece of her artwork for Issue 3! Read on to meet the talent behind the cover, Jessica Durrant…

Tell us more about what you do:

I am a freelance illustrator, with a focus on creating fashion, beauty and lifestyle illustrations. My career blossomed out of creating artwork for myself, and as a form of self expression. The artwork I created allowed me to have a successful Etsy shop and take on freelance illustration jobs. It is my dream job, and I feel so fortunate to do what I do, and be creative for a living.

What is your most important tool?

I have so many wonderful tools, and some that have grown to be sentimental to me over the years. I would say my paint brushes are my most important tool. When I have them in my hand, it just feels like when you put on the perfect, broken in leather jacket. It makes me feel confident, myself and like I can do anything.

What inspires you?

I typically am inspired by the latest books, magazines and documentaries I am watching. It’s a mixture of fashion, nature, architecture, music, and being lured by experimenting with different mediums. Right now I have been doing things entirely new like paper cutting, and painting on black paper-it allows my mind to work on a new, vulnerable level that I find you always need in order to make good art.

Describe a typical day at work?

I try to start everyday with 30 minutes of reading from an inspiring book, while having my coffee. It allows me to feel centered and positive before I get to addressing emails. I spend about 30 minutes answering emails, planning out the list of priorities of what needs to be edited, created, revised, etc. I post to social media at least once a day, so I keep in mind something that seems exciting, or sharing a time lapse video or what not.

I try not to think too much about what I post, and when I post-even though everyone tells you you should. I started Instagram because it was a fun way to connect, and share and it takes a real intention to keep it that way. Then I turn my phone off and get to work so I’m not distracted.

I try to dedicate 3-4 hours of creating/editing every day, that is uninterrupted by emails/texts/social media. I’m not always good at this when I have crazy deadlines and need to be in touch with my clients for last minute edits or revisions. Once I get the work done, I end my day by following up with clients, or answering further emails. If I ever get blocked or not feeling ready to paint, I go for a walk around lunchtime.

Is there any artwork you are most proud of? Why?

I am most proud of a painting I did titled, Trees as Veins. It really captured my life at that time, in a dark and sad but yet still beautiful way. It was one of the rare pieces I am not critical of. I remember when I completed it, how scared I was to show it-because I felt I was revealing something about myself that I did not want to.

It just goes to show you how important it is, to take risks with your art and share it-even if you are scared. People crave deeper connections, and seeing reality more than perfection.

How do you know when an artwork is finished?

Most of the times, I stop before overworking a piece. After studying composition and design in school, and just being a lover of artwork I think it’s easier for me to know when a piece is completed. However, I also have been able to take pieces that maybe I knew something was missing from it, file it away and pull it out later to to do something new with it months or even years later.

Whether collage it, layer something else over it, etc. The piece you used for the cover is actually a product of that. It started out very simple, I filed it away and then pulled it out and was inspired by pattern work and embroidery and thought I would just go crazy on this painting with embellishing it. It was so different for me. So I’m so glad you enjoyed using this artwork for Audrey! I am super thankful!

See more of Jessica Durrant’s artwork at www.jessicadurrant.com and purchase Issue 1, Audrey Daybook – Inspiring You and Issue 3, Audrey Daybook – New Beginnings with her cover art here.