Originally from Wales, Sian Bowman became a freelance Illustrator in 2012

When I told some colleagues we were in the process of signing Sian Bowman, I had some fantastic feedback/  responses saying they knew of Sian’s work and had been following her for some time.

Originally from Wales, Sian became a freelance Illustrator in 2012 after completing an MA in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University. She now works from her home studio in Herefordshire and is inspired each day by the surrounding countryside, the people she meets on dog walks and her two young children.

She is very open and enjoys the communicative side of Illustration almost as much as creating the artwork. Sian loves to work on projects with nature, imagination and inclusivity at heart. Here’s where we found out more….

When did you start illustrating?

After completing my MA in Fine Art and taking some time to work on my portfolio I started freelancing in 2012. I began by creating custom illustrations and approaching local businesses with my card and print designs. It really all began a lot earlier though, since I can remember I have always loved to draw. My ‘light bulb moment happened’ when my sister Jody and I went to the video shop and accidentally picked a film about ‘how to draw Garfield’, after the initial disappointment that we hadn’t picked the cartoon - I remember avidly watching how the characters were developed and I have never really looked back.

Who has been the most supportive in your illustration career, perhaps your teacher, family, friends?

My parents gave us so much encouragement; I remember they made such a big fuss about a card I made for my uncle when he was in hospital. I recall feeling I’d done something special and recreated the picture so many times afterwards to try to capture the magic again. I am so grateful for their belief in me and all of the encouragement from my friends and family over the years.

Did you always think art was something that was going to be a major part of your life?

Yes, I would spend all my time drawing. I learnt from a young age that if drew a lot I would get better and this still drives me today. Whilst in Japan after university, I had time to paint my surroundings and the people I met and I realised art was something I wanted to spend every day doing.

What is your favourite subject matter to illustrate?

I particularly enjoy drawing animals and nature. I am passionate about music and singing and so I am drawn to drawing dance, music, performance and capturing movement. I am fascinated by weaving imagination with reality, for instance an imaginative dragon flying above a real city scape. I am very open to new opportunities and relish in a drawing challenge.

How would you describe your style?

My line work is fluid and I endeavour to capture the feeling in an initial sketch. My work is gentle and fun and I hope to spark the viewers imagination with lots of hidden details.

What is your favourite collaboration to date?

My favourite project to date was working on ‘Dexter! The Amazing School Dog!’ written by Lucy Plunkett with Sam at Owlet press. Sam was very open to ideas and the collaboration was very creative. The book is from the heart with such an important message of inclusivity and kindness. The school dog Dexter spots when a child needs some support in their activities and knows just what to do to help them. I loved Illustrating all the different scenarios, the various seasons in the book and thinking about each characters feelings.

What interested you about being represented by Illo Agency?

I am drawn to Illos ethos to celebrate all creative voices and the desire to have a positive impact in society. I am passionate about how creativity and imagination is a universal language and can bring people together. It is clear to see how each of the artists in the agency is able to pursue their own unique creative voice. I am incredibly excited to be part of such a wonderful community of artists.

Do you have a favourite author, film director, or designer?

I have so many favourite authors but currently I am inspired by an oldie but one I have only recently discovered, the work of author/ Illustrator Roger Duvoisin. I particularly love the books about ‘Petunia a very self assured goose, they are so funny and clever. The characterisation and expression and use of colour in his work is incredible and he has such an eye for design.

Are you working on any personal projects you can share with us?

I make time each week to work on some art for fun, I find this helps to keep my ideas flowing and feeds back into my client work. Personal work can be in response to a book I am reading, events, the season, ideas I have whilst walking the dogs, or in preparation for a weekly sketchbook club I run. This year I am also making time to work on my own picture book stories which I hope to share one day.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you have a favourite?

Yes I do, I enjoy listening to the Illustration podcast ‘Three Point Perspective’ it offers a great insight into the Illustration industry. We have a local podcast called ‘Sutton Voices’ which I find inspiring as it centred on the people in the locality and their stories and offers a fascinating insight into so many different walks of life. Mostly I listen to BBC Radio Two and I can often be found having a little dance at my drawing desk :)

If you’d like more info, please contact: [email protected]

At illo agency, we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.