• Jess Hinsley Illustration

    Jess Hinsley Illustration

    Hi Jess! Tell us a little bit about yourself?
    Hi Papio! I'm from a little town called Worthing on the south coast, near Brighton. I graduated from the University of Gloucestershire last summer - I can't believe it's been a year! I primarily illustrate narratives for children, I've always loved making up stories and quirky little characters. As a child I adored poring over book illustrations, always looking for a detail I'd missed. I am passionate about all things creative, so I make and create in every spare moment I have. I'm really into typography; my sketchbooks are filled with letterforms!

    What's your weapon of choice?
    I use watercolour and gouache, and add details and texture with coloured pencils. I love the translucency of watercolour and gouache - you can get such wonderful patterns in the paint and such vibrant colours! They are very loose and fluid mediums and I love that I'm not restricted. My curious nature never allows me to stick to one medium; I often flitter between a variety of paints and techniques, but I always return to watercolour as it's the one I feel most natural with.

    You graduated a year ago now, they say that first year is the hardest! How/what has you kept yourself motivated to keep illustrating since then?
    I think they're right - the first year after graduating is definitely very difficult! I've stayed motivated simply because I just love illustrating. It's my passion and I will never stop, not even when I'm 102! After graduation I went straight into full time work and spent each evening and all weekend illustrating, but it just wasn't enough time to get everything done and I found myself getting very stressed and unhappy. I knew I needed a change, so I took a break and found myself some part time work. Now I have lots of time to progress my career and as a consequence I've been getting lots of small commissions through word of mouth and self promotion. I'm quite poor, but very happy! It's an incredible boost when someone compliments your work, commissions you or buys one of your items.

    What's been your favourite job so far, and what's your ideal commission?
    My favourite job was the mural I did for Kalahari Moon, the southern African shop in St Nick's Market in Bristol. It was the first time I had worked on that scale, and I learnt a lot. It was wonderful to see the joy in the shop owner's face when I'd finished. My ideal commission would be to write and illustrate a picture book, or to illustrate one that someone else has written. I want to bring happiness to children and adults through my illustrations, and inspire them in the way that art has inspired me. If a child spends time poring over my illustrations then I have reached my goal!

    What would your one piece of advice to young aspiring artists & this years graduates be?
    Draw, draw, draw! And write, paint, and then draw again! It's so important to hone your skills, it really makes a difference. If you don't practise, your artwork will shout it out to the world. My second piece of crucial advice is to learn how to juggle five jobs at once, because you will have to do this a lot of the time! University was a great time for me to practise the juggling act, but it still didn't quite prepare me for how intense it can get.

    Thanks Jess, such good answers! If you'd like to follow Jess on her social media (which we think you should) here are the links:
    Or to see her full portfolio, visit:
    Or even better, to buy some of her beautiful work, here's her Etsy store!