We are so excited to be collaborating with Clare Lewis to create a new collection of products with her beautiful designs adorning each unique creation. In celebration of this, we thought we would let Clare takeover our blog in an interview style so you can get to know her better. With us she shares her background, what life is like after University and advice for other creative graduates.
Tells us about yourself, where are you from, what do you do?
“I’m from a small village just outside of the South of Wales. I’ve always been a creative person and it was always clear that I was going to be an artist of some kind. In a lot of ways I feel very fortunate that I had such a natural and clear path for me, and I was also lucky to have such supportive family and teachers around me to nature my skills and passions.”
When did you go to University and what did you study?
“I went to the University of Worcester. I chose there because it wasn’t too far from home and they offered a Joint Honours system, which meant I could study two arts for a combined degree. I began by studying Fine Art and Illustration, but after the first year decided that Illustration was where my heart lay and I continued with that course alone.”
What did you enjoy and dislike about University?
“I really enjoyed the course I ended up following and the lecturers were incredibly supportive of any issues I had either with my work or personally, which was a massive bonus. There was a brilliantly relaxed atmosphere which made me want to work hard.
Personally, I didn’t enjoy the social side of uni as much as other people. I’m not a big drinker and a lot of the focus on social events were about drinking and clubbing, which made me feel a little alienated, which pushed me further into my work. By the time we got to third year most people had got over it and there was a lot more casual gatherings between friends to enjoy.”
How did you feel when you graduated?
“I felt excited for the next stage, as well as nerves about what I was going to do next. I’d met my partner at uni and so we were both excited to start our lives and become fully fledged successful adults!”
How did you feel 6 months after graduation?
“Reality hit. We realised how sheltered uni life had been and it was harder to find work than we thought. We were lucky and had some savings to live on, and enjoyed our new found freedom for as long as we could! We knew we’d have to get jobs soon and having so much free time would soon be over.”
What do you think your University could have done to prepare you for life after graduation?
“I really think the main thing lacking from uni studies was the day to day workings of getting commissions, the licensing, the payments - how the whole process works. I learnt a lot of this from books and becoming an AOI member after graduating.”
Did you struggle to get a job after University?
“We thought that within 3 months or so we’d have got jobs in our fields and be self-sufficient. In reality it was hard to get responses to applications and we found that our market was very saturated with people much more talented. Because we’d expected it to be easier we probably didn’t put quite as much work in as we could have, but we’ll never know.“
How did you overcome any difficulties after University?
“In order to feel more like my efforts were working, I took a couple of unpaid internships. I wasn’t getting a job, because I had no experience, and I couldn’t get the experience. I also invested time into make personal work I could send out as mailers to potential clients.”
Tell us about your favourite University or personal project to date
“The most important project for me was working for Penguin Random House, purely because it was a career goal of mine fulfilled as my first ever job, which was crazy. It was so amazing to see my work in a published book. At uni I worked on a big map depicting my idea of a Utopian society and the end product is still one of my favourite things I’ve ever made.”
Why did you want to collaborate with Eclectic Ocean?
“Having been given such good career advice from both books and the AOI I feel passionate about ensuring that others have access to that advice. I feel that Eclectic ocean has the standing to help others out from an approachable standing point and I’d love to be able to help with that. It’s also always really great to work with someone you admire and have a friendly working relationship with.”
What would be your advice to other creative graduates?
“Do some research. I never thought I’d be saying that but some of the best advice I’ve received has been from reading books on the industry. Make sure you understand the concepts of copyright and licensing because they will be crucial to ensuring that both you and your client get the most out of any commission. Don’t lose hope if you don’t get overwhelmed with commissions straight away. Keep making work that you want to get paid for. Send out mailers and keep your website and social media up to date.”
Anything else you want to mention?
“For me, the thing that has kept me working hard has been the need to find some stability in my career. So at the moment I am a full time graphic designer and I freelance on the side. I’m working towards one day that balance reversing and freelancing being my main income, but for now the financial stability is what allows me to be creative in my own ways without that pressure.”
The new Eclectic Ocean X Clare Lewis collection is coming soon, make sure you follow our Instagram for the latest updates and launch date.