Featured Illustrator/Lecturer

Bett Norris

September 2019

Bett Norris is a freelance Illustrator and Lecturer based in Bristol specialising in editorial, advertising, and publishing. Bett shares the impact moving into a co-working space had on her work and career; we discuss how isolating it can be as a freelancer and the trend towards more socially conscience design.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I’m a freelance illustrator and Lecturer in Illustration from Bristol, UK. I make work for editorial, advertising and publishing projects. I have a blog where I talk about my process and a shop where I sell prints of my work.

Did you have a plan for graduation and what actually happened?

I didn’t have much of a plan! I left university with a portfolio of work that I had learnt a lot through doing, but didn’t have a strong commercial application. I worked for a bit as a designer for an e-book company, and although I learned a lot it was unfulfilling. That job ended and I started working part-time in an art shop, I think that was the push I needed. I rented a desk space in a studio with some friends from Uni and this was the most dramatic change, both in the look of my work and how I promoted myself. They were all further along in their careers by that point so I learnt a lot from them. I made some self-initiative work to try and attract the sort of clients I wanted to work with, and gradually built my career from there.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I think style is a difficult thing to identify, especially in your own work as it’s hard to be objective! My style is constantly evolving, and that this is probably true for many people. My style is also often influenced by the type of commissions I get. When I started using digital processes I had more freedom to experiment and this had the biggest influence on the 'look' of my work.

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I made some self-initiative work to try and attract the sort of clients I wanted to work with, and gradually built my career from there

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What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day.

For my illustration practice, the best parts are how varied it is, its always a surprise to get a new project. I like being able to manage my own time and have something tangible at the end of the day. The worst part is how isolating can be, which is one of the reasons I value my job as a lecturer. When I’m working at the University I’m away from my computer (usually) and interacting with other people. It’s a good balance.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

I think one of the most exciting things is new technology and how this is becoming available to more people. I see students using Augmented Reality in their practice and it’s inspiring to see the possibilities with this technology. I can also see a trend from more socially conscience design, especially in regards to environment matters. For me personally I think I’ll carry on what I’m doing, but make sure I’m up to date with any new technology that will benefit my practice.

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

Hay Design

Studio Rhonda

Printed Goods

Kaye Blegvad

Lisk Feng

Website: bettnorrisillustration.com

Instagram: @bettnorris

Twitter: @bettnorrisdraws

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