A colourful breath of fresh air on paper and IRL, Eirian opens up a comfortable space to talk about the real pros and cons of working full time in the creative industries.
From being a stay at home cat mum to finding inspiration in the garden and for all your home body inpo read on.
Eirian’s coffee of choice: Flat white / CIBI
My dad’s Welsh and so he gave me a really hard name for Australians to pronounce. I think it means silver in Welsh. I don’t know anyone else called Eirian but apparently, it’s a unisex name. I did find another artist called Eirian on internet and she does unicorn art. I’m like damn it, I want to do unicorn art.
I’m an illustrator, I used to be a graphic designer but then I went freelance and decided I wanted to draw. So now I am a full-time illustrator I work from home. I usually work with commercial clients, a lot of advertising and editorial. I also do my own art on the side.
Photo - Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.
It was a bit scary. I thought if I don’t just quit I’ll just never do it. So after 3 years I just quit. I had money for about half a year and at the time we were living in a pretty cheap apartment in St Kilda, it was only like $400 a month. It was great because it was in the centre of St Kilda, but it was pretty dodgy.
Probably when I was working. I kept thinking ‘do I really want to be designing logos for accounting firms?’. I was following my agency (Jackie Winter) it was around 2007 that I first saw what they were doing and I thought, I want to do that too! So, I quit my job and spent the next year drawing and just taking on any job I could, mainly free jobs to build my folio.
I studied communication design at RMIT and then I did my honours. I think it was a good grounding experience. They had a good illustration elective there taught by Georgia and Alex, they are really great!
I’d say bright and colourful. I also like to have a lot of undertones, I don’t like it to just be pretty. I like it to have some meaning. I do like there to be a little bit of darkness in there as well.
Maybe subconsciously. Because I’m a commercial illustrator it’s hard to put a real emphasis on political or deeper meanings. But in my own personal work there is definitely commentary about that.
It’s really hard I don’t even know. It’s just like a need to do it. Sometimes I’ll watch a movie and get really inspired by that period of time. At the moment, I’m really fascinated with clowns. I’m working on some babushka dolls at the moment inspired by clowns.
I do vector because it’s easier to do for commercial clients. If it’s a vector I can make it really large and it’s really easy to alter if the client makes changes. But with my hand drawing it’s so much more spontaneous. I can’t sell them commercially because it just comes out and it can’t be replicated.
I did work for Drunk elephant last year and that was really fun. Designing gift boxes for their holiday season. It was really fun because they said you can do whatever you want, we just have these themes. One was citrus themed, the other was garden party and one was hot date and I think the last was a wedding theme.
I don’t like looking at the work of any other illustrators. I really prefer to look at contemporary art. The people I follow on Instagram are all contemporary artists. I follow Cindy Sherman her work is pretty creepy.
I think I’ve had a lot of them. I wouldn’t mind doing something with some really great charity organisations. Sometimes when you think of big clients you think but are they evil? Then again there are some clients I have worked for and their practices probably aren’t the best but the project was really amazing. It’s hard to know where to draw the line. I was asked to work for the Spring Racing carnival and I said no. My partner works for the RSPCA.
It’s really supportive. When I first started out illustrating I knew another illustrator who was on Jackie Winter's roster and I loved her work. She was vector artist as well and I asked her if she could give me some advice. If you email an artist they are pretty giving in helping you out and giving you advice. I have never felt like it’s been closed off to me.
I make breakfast for my partner. We’ve had the same breakfast for 7 years. Is that sad? We have fruit with Greek yoghurt and homemade granola. I probably wouldn’t eat breakfast if I didn’t just make something. I’m normally angry by 10 or 11.
I just use Argan oil and sunblock face moisturiser. I don’t like using foundation.
Alaska. It was last year. We just went to this weird hotel that looked like The Shinning. Outside of anchorage in an old gold mining town called Girdwood. It was the most beautiful place on earth. When people go for walks they have to take a mini boom box to scare the bears away.
I’ll say my partner. He writes fiction books. He's had two books published. His name is Chris Flynn his first book is called ‘A Tiger in Eden’ and it’s about an Irish backpacker in Thailand, it’s pretty sexy.
I have two cats Ripley and Electra. Electra is a stripper name, it’s also based on a Greek god’s daughter who has daddy issues and that’s what Electra has. Ripley a grey cat we think she might be a Korat, is mental. Electra is a Bengal. Chris brought both Ripley and Electra home from the RSPCA. Electra needs a lot of attention, lucky we work from home so we can give it to her.
Reading that’s the only way that I am not doing anything and sewing.
I have two fears. One is drowning and the other is space, you know when your head explodes. My partner wants to go to Mars and I’m like no thanks.
Literally sunshine. In August, I get the blues that’s the only time I get really depressed. I just need some sunshine.
I was a clown and hard working. I was a slow learner. That’s why I learnt to draw because I needed something to show I had talent.
Outside in the garden. I find if I’m not inside at my desk it’s much easier.
We live in a really trendy suburb called Balwyn. Its next to Camberwell and Kew. If you’re really old it’s great.
Morning person or night owl? Morning
Favourite city in the world? Melbourne, it’s boring I know. I never go to a city where I’m like this is the best!
What are you binge watching right now? Westworld new season. And I’m dying up here, is really good it’s about comedy in the 70’s. One of the producers is Jim Carey! I just love it for the clothes.
What do you listen to when you illustrate? I’ve been really getting into Kanye West. I always dismissed him on the count of him being a dickhead. But I was always wondering why his albums were so highly rated. I just started listening to ‘808 and Heartbreak’ and I was like that’s really good. Then I found a podcast called ‘Dissect’ where they dissect Kanye’s albums and it blew my mind. It’s just amazing.
What animal do you most identify with?The Anchovy
What’s your signature cocktail? Amaretto Sour.
I have commercial deadlines. When I’m working for Jackie Winter I have mini deadlines and I’ve got to meet those deadlines. It’s not as though I get a brief and I have to produce the final artwork. It’s all little steps, which is great. I do the sketches first then I get that signed off then I can work on colour. If I just thought about the finished product I’d get really stressed. I like to have one or two projects on the go but at the moment I have 3. With creative work, it’s really hard to be creative all the time, to just switch that on. Especially if they are wanting me to do all the conceptual work too. Sometimes I get a brief and the Art director has already thought of the idea and I just have to make it. If I have to think about everything it’s a lot of work and brain power.
No not yet. But I want to go to Japan maybe at the end of the year. I feel like I need at least one holiday a year.
It’s tough. You’ve got to be in it if you love it. If you love drawing. Don’t be in it for the money.