Campus Celeb: Rachael Gillies

The extremely talented Rachael Gillies illustrates for Razz My Berries, a University arts magazine, and talks to Her Campus Exeter about her love of drawing.

Degree: Theology

Year: 3rd

When did you start drawing?

It started as a hobby, ever since I was little. My family are very artistic.  I realised I was quite good at doodling, and then I needed a really cheap way to make birthday presents. 

When did you decide to start drawing for Razz My Berries?

It wasn’t until my Second Year that I decided to get involved. I had been a little bit apprehensive before then, because I’d never shown anyone my drawings, but my friends just encouraged me to submit them. I was also having a Beyoncé moment, having been screwed over by a guy.

What inspires your drawings?

Things that I see in everyday life; I love drawing for people, so commissions are great because I find it a lot easier to find inspiration from the person I’m drawing for, and making it a lot more personal. But equally this year, I’ve been illustrating for Razz’s blog, and my inspiration has been student life.

What sort of student life?

So it started with Freshers’ week illustrations, and I did an illustration of students moving into their accommodation. I also did one on the Timepiece queue, and another on the anxieties of career choices, called “careers’ headaches”. 

How long on average does it take for each illustration?

The more detailed ones can take anything up to 10 hours, but that’s the really detailed ones. On average I’d say about five hours per drawing. I often don’t know where the picture's going until I’ve started it, but then I just find it flows really naturally, and I work with any mistakes I’ve made. 

What’s the process?

I always draw them in pencil, and then go over them in black pen, followed by a water colour layer, and then the shading. 

Where have you illustrations come in handy?

I was in the middle of Brazil, and working with kids in the favelas (slums), and it suddenly became apparent that we had a lack of colouring sheets for the kids, and a lack of people who could draw. So I ended up drawing all of the colouring sheets for the whole time that I was volunteering out there, so the kids could colour them in.

Have you done any promotional illustrations?

Several people have asked me to draw tickets for different events, but also posters and leaflets. I was really touched when I was approached by my old school to illustrate their prom tickets this year.

Do you have any up and coming projects?

I continue to draw for Razz, and that’s kind of expanding, and I’ve also been drawing for Exeposé. I’m hoping to create a little series of greetings cards in the not too distant future.

Can you see yourself doing it professionally?

It’s become a real passion of mine and I would really love to do it more professionally, and take it to that next level. I’m just waiting to see where that will go, but commissions are on the increase. I’d love to be able to illustrate cards and children's books eventually.

Follow Rachael’s illustrations on her Facebook page.