Claire Ritchie

Brisbane artist and designer Claire Ritchie recently chatted to us about how she developed her illustration style, teaching workshops in Brisbane, and remembering to stop and eat for lunch.

Any hilarious stories about you as a kid being creative?

When I was in Year 3 I wanted to be a singer. I had a friend who was in a band and she said that I could audition. So we called her other band members and I had to do a phone audition! I got into the band but we never actually all met up. I later became friends and singing buddies with one of the other band members. We didn't realise for quite some time that we were meant to be in a band together at the age of 8!

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

Over the years I have had a few different aliases as an artist and maker. I found it hard to choose, so using my name seemed to make the most sense and feel the most comfortable. After all, everything that I create starts with me. It also meant that I was open to doing many things, rather than limiting what I could do by a name that had a meaning or purpose within it.

Design work by Claire Ritchie The Design Kids interviews Claire Ritchie work-2

Talk us through a typical working day include for you right now.

Once my partner and I have sorted the kids and he heads of to work, I head down to the studio with a cuppa and the dog. I jump on the computer and start sifting through emails. I write myself several lists. I love hand written lists. It's quite satisfying to cross things out or do a big tick next to the task! I then move on to making and packing any online orders I have. This can take up a good chunk of the day. Then in the afternoon I usually have a little drawing session, once I've finished with the admin/business side of things. It's something to look forward to and makes me feel really happy and relaxed. The drawings that come out of these sessions will end up being used for jobs or my own work. Sometimes I don't use them for anything and they are just for me. There is normally two cups of coffee and one cup of tea thrown in there and my lunch will be some sort of lentil salad, which I'll eat in the sun, or a peanut butter sandwich if I'm eating on the go. I'm getting better at stopping to eat!

What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Way back when I was first learning how to use the Adobe programs, a friend who is affectionally know as 'Maddog' told me that the programs are just tools. They are tools like a paint brush or pencil. They won't make your work better or even great, they are just there to use like any other medium. Not sure if he would remember telling me that now, but it really helped me get over the fear of going digital and using the programs to enhance what I was already doing. I now combine both hand drawn and digital to create my finished work.

Design work by Claire Ritchie The Design Kids interviews Claire Ritchie work-4
Design work by Claire Ritchie The Design Kids interviews Claire Ritchie work-4

Know that there is no right way, there is only your way.

Are you involved in any teaching and if so, how does it shape your practice?

I've just started teaching workshops here in Brisbane. I love it. I always knew I would, because I love sharing what I've learnt. It's really exciting to be in a room with people who want to learn from you. I've worked hard to be where I am and now I get to share this with others. I want to inspire ands encourage others to find their own creative path. I think mine has been a bit of a different one, so I feel I can offer a unique perspective.

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

I just drew nonstop. I worked with lots of different materials. Tried different styles and just kept pushing until I found a process that felt comfortable. My tip for everyone out there reading is to know that there is no right way, there is only your way. Don't compare you work to others as there is nobody out there who will ever be able to do what you do. And just enjoy it!

Design work by Claire Ritchie The Design Kids interviews Claire Ritchie work-6

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

I am hoping to focus more on drawing and painting. I have been quite attached to the sewing aspect of my work, as it has always been a part of it. So letting go of that, at least for now, will be hard. My artwork has always helped me personally, as it is time to reflect and to still my mind. I feel like I need more of that in my life right now.

Design work by Claire Ritchie The Design Kids interviews Claire Ritchie work-7
Design work by Claire Ritchie The Design Kids interviews Claire Ritchie work-7

Where to find Claire Ritchie online.

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