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Our Elmer sculpture artist - Evelyn Sinclair

Why did you choose to submit a design?

I enjoy doing these art trail sculptures. Coming up with the ideas is fun, and it's a bit different from my usual work. I illustrate a lot on the computer, so it's great to actually get a paintbrush in my hand. I really like the Elmer 'blank' - he's very cute and will actually fit inside the house, which is nice! 

Last, but certainly not least, I'm glad my work can help a wonderful, worthwhile charity.

How will you be translating your design onto the sculpture?

My design is all painted on, mostly with acrylic paint and paintbrushes. Sometimes the design needs a bit of tweaking if the actual sculpture is a bit different from the template. In Elmer's case, his ears are a lot bigger than the template, so I had to compensate for that.

I've kept the colours to a limited palette and am using emulsion for some areas. There's a brand called Valspar (B&Q) where they can mix paint to match any colour swatch you provide. This is great, because if you run out of a colour, you can simply go get another pot of the identical shade (trying to mix exact colours can be very time consuming).

I'll use Posca pens as well - these are pens with acrylic paint in them and are very handy.

Please can you share more about your career journey?

I started off as a graphic designer - I was recruited by a design company in Glasgow from my final year degree show at Glasgow School of Art. With a few years’ experience at that design company, I moved to the Lakes to work for another design firm. At that point I started to use my illustration skills more, gradually building my professional portfolio.

In 2001, I decided to set up on my own and never looked back, working for varied and interesting clients. 

In 2014 one of my illustrations was shortlisted for an Association of Illustrators Award. Sadly, I didn't win the Award, but a local publisher saw that work and approached me to illustrate a children's activity book. The first, Lake District edition won a National Trust Beatrix Potter Award. This led onto versions for other areas.

That same publisher then asked me to illustrate a big new book for adults - 'The Lake District in 101 Maps and Infographics’ - which won both ‘The Latitude Prize for Illustration 2020’ and top prize of 'The Lakeland Book of the Year Award 2020’ (in the 'The Lakeland Book of the Year Competition').

Your illustrations have appeared in designs for so many companies, do you have a favourite design or style?

I do enjoy a bit of variety - and the challenge of mastering a different style. I'm still proud of the hand-drawn-in crayon illustration that was shortlisted for the Association of Illustrators Award and the flat colour (computer drawn) illustrations for the sticker books are an extension of that style.

The work I'm most proud of right now is from 'The Lake District in 101 Maps and Infographics'. This job was quite intense - it was over a year of constant deadline pressure, which at times was pretty uncomfortable. But I think some of the resulting illustrations are some of the best work I've ever done.

Please can you tell us more about the Beatrix Potter Award?

The National Trust in the Lake District had instigated some new Awards to recognise local companies/makers of high-quality, particularly those who were environmentally aware and sustainable. One of the key elements in winning the Award (as well as quality) was that our Lake District Sticker book is printed in Cumbria. Some of the sale proceeds from the books went to Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

What would you to say to those considering taking their art and design passion forwards?

Look at and absorb all the wonderful art and design out there - don't copy anyone else's work, but you'll find that, if you constantly expose yourself to interesting, fresh ideas it can open your mind and foster more creativity in yourself.

If you're a messy person, maybe you're an artist. If you like to line up your paperclips neatly, you're probably a designer. Illustrators can fall into either (or both) camps.

Embrace failures - sometimes it can lead to your best work.

Becoming a designer is a safer and probably more lucrative career choice. Animation has a good future. As an illustrator, it's probably better if you have an identifiable style that's all you own - it'll make it easier for clients to employ you and increases your chances of making it big.

Being a fine artist is not easy, but if that's what your soul wants to be, do it anyway.

Above all, see challenges as opportunities to be embraced - don't let a lack of confidence stop you from having a go at something.

Stellar, a piece created using ink and bleach


Sonata, a drawing completed on several semi transparent layers

Find out more about Evelyn's work on her website, Twitter and Facebook.