Bright Landscapes: Jane Newland Talks Technique, Style and Future Plans
Jane Newland has a distinctive and extremely eye-catching style. Her artworks are green and luscious — the fronds of every fern, and each and every leaf are detailed, with soft looking textures, like a springy moss or camomile lawn.
There is something magical about Jane’s compositions; they make me want to jump into them, just as Mary Poppins and the children jumped into Bert’s pavement art. It’s a style perfect for all forms of art licensing, from greetings cards, to make-up bags, to umbrellas and more. Those landscapes, with an almost 3D feel to them, could work so well in a children’s picture book too. A book you’d always remember, and pass down through the generations.
I am full of questions for Jane — how did she develop that style? How does she create those soft looking layers and textures? Jane makes me want to be an artist. So here she is, talking about all these things and a little bit more . . . LM
Hello! I’m Jane, a freelance illustrator, represented by the awesome Bright Group since June last year.
I live on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Norwich with my partner, daughter and whippet.
I’m a child of the 70s, very short sighted, and deaf in one ear. I think it made me quite self-contained, and it’s probably where my obsession with detail began. I was naughty and didn’t wear my glasses, so the only things I could see properly were the things right in front of my nose! My family is definitely on the creative side – both grandparents, my parents, an uncle, a cousin and my brother and sister all studied various subjects at art school, so there was no escape from it! I was surrounded by loads of amazing artistic influence. So I studied illustration at art school, got a degree, worked a variety of awful jobs while also freelancing, mainly for my brother’s design company. This gave me a really brilliant grounding in working as an illustrator, and I’ve worked with some amazing clients. Wanting more from my career, I started to show more personal work online, which eventually led to me joining Bright.
Jane recently illustrated the cover of Breathe Magazine.
I was inspired to become an illustrator by my dad and grandfather. My dad is an amazing landscape painter of moody, glorious-skied Norfolk landscapes, and my grandfather, who was an architect by trade, also painted illustratively, particularly once he had retired. His work was reminiscent of Arthur Rackham, and as a child I loved sitting beside him watching him work.
Did you know, Arthur Rackham’s artwork influenced the design of The Faun in the extraordinary film, Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro?
Now, I am still inspired by dad & granddad mostly and I like to think I’ve kind of merged the two into my own style.
I love looking at other artist’s work on social media, and I’m sure I’m influenced by what I see. Favourites at the moment are Yasmeen Ismail, Marc Martin, Karl James Mountford, and too many more to mention. I’m also inspired by the photos I see of people’s lives, and I love seeing young up and coming illustrator’s work. But Bright are keeping me busy — so much so that I don’t actually have a lot of time to spend on social media these days!
Melbourne based artist, Marc Martin — @marcmartinillo
Artwork by fellow Bright artist, Karl James Mountford — @karljmountford
My current style began to emerge over the last couple of years. I was actually on the verge of giving up illustration, and decided just to forget about my style, instead simply doing what came naturally, and drawing what pleased me — not what I thought anyone else wanted to see.
And out it popped!
Then later, these pieces of work from November 2016 were the big changers for me.
Pink House, and Sea Blue.
I’d had an email from the Bright Art Licensing team (emails detailing trends, inspiration and ideas) and one of the current trends was “adventure”. It sparked something in me, and I decided that for my personal pieces of work I would take myself on an adventure. So I began by imagining where I would like to go, and, much to my genuine amazement and delight, it seems lots of people would like to go to the places I imagine too!
On future projects:
In ten years time I hope things are much the same really! Since joining Bright last year I have been blessed with the most fantastic opportunities. I’ve had lots of licensing contracts, and I’ve illustrated some children’s books – both of which were long-time goals for me. The only other thing I would love to achieve would be to write and illustrate my own children’s book, but I’m not the best at the written word, so it may be one dream too far!
How much time do you spend on an illustration?
The detailed pieces take me between three and five hours. It’s my treat late on a Friday afternoon to do a personal piece of work. I take part in #colour_collective on Twitter, where a huge bunch of lovely illustrators post their artwork using a designated colour every Friday at 7.30pm (UK time) So that’s my deadline. I start with a potential colour palette in mind which includes the colour of the week, and sometimes I will have an idea of what I’m going to draw, sometimes not. I begin regardless, with a general background layer, and just keep adding more and more layers, building up details and intensity of colour. All the details, the billions of little leaves and grass etc, it’s just doodling on a large scale really!
Your preferred media?
I mainly work digitally these days using Photoshop on a PC, a Wacom pen tablet, and Photoshop’s standard brushes. It’s a bit old school now, but I don’t think it matters what you use, if you can make it do what you want.
I’m currently working on a children’s book where I’m combining traditional watercolour painting with a bit of digital. I’ve been lucky to have had a good grounding in most mediums, both at home and also at school/college.
If you’d like to work with Jane, you can get in touch via The Bright Agency here.
More inspirational reading:
A Journey into Picture Books: The Art of Richard Jones
From the point at which an artist signs with Bright; from early development — to their first illustration project — to the moment their career blossoms, is a wonderful journey to follow. . . (continue reading)
Instagram for Illustrators
How to make it work for YOU
Exactly what constitutes a great Instagram account, and is it important in terms of helping your career? (Continue reading)
The AOI: Investing in Illustration
When you embark upon a career, there is usually an organisation, be it government run, or an independent body, there to make sure you are paid correctly and the conditions under which you work are fair and just… (Continue reading)
Bright UK Makes Top Book Deals with the Best in Children’s Publishing
If you’re looking for representation,
your future could be Bright… (Continue reading)