Monday, November 4, 2013

Meet Emma Block: an interview & studio tour

When I was in my first illustration class back my first year of college, we were encouraged to reach out to some of our favorite illustrators. I immediately had a list of illustrators I'd love to ask some questions, but I'll admit, I was terrified. There's something enormously intimidating about reaching out to an already successful & highly respected person, especially one who you look up to. There's this weird risk that they might not be what you think they are or that they somehow won't like you. 
After that year and attempting to & succeeding in contacting a few illustrators I admire, I felt much better about contacting people that inspire me. 
Meet Emma Block, a darling & enormously talented illustrator, writer & curator. Back in August, I read this wonderful interview she did talking about a few things graduates should know. She's always been a huge inspiration for me and after reading that interview, I contacted her with a few questions of my own. 
& The crazy part is, she not only said she liked my blog & would love to do the interview, she was super friendly and lovely the entire time. So I'm happy to now share the interview & a few goodies from Emma's new studio! 
+Was there ever a time you felt like, " Oh, I'm not ready for that job/opportunity/etc.?" How did you overcome that// did you?
This happens to me a lot. Normally I just go for it and learn as I go along. Sometimes it means learning how to do something new on photoshop or illustrator, or looking up new technical words and phrases. The only time I say no is when it is completely out of my comfort zone, it’s a lot of work and it’s not well paid; then I just think it’s not worth the stress.

+All rainbows and lovely things aside, honestly what's the hardest part about what you do? 
Self-doubt is the hardest part. I worry that my work is not good enough, that I won't get any more new work, that this is it and next month there won't be any new commissions to pay the bills. It’s never happened yet, I’ve always had work and I’ve always paid the rent, but money is something you do worry about.
+What's the most rewarding? 
For me it’s between seeing your work published and knowing that your dream job and your day job are the same thing. Those are the two greatest things about being an illustrator.

+What's your sketchbooking process like?
 I always start my work in sketchbooks, usually a moleskine cahier. I just sketch with a 2b pencil and make lots of notes. I hate it when people pick up my sketchbook to look through it because it’s full of notes on budgets and deadlines! Once I have something I like I normally scan it in a clean it up on photoshop before sending it to the client. I work using a lightbox a lot so my sketches form the basis of my artwork. I wish I had really pretty sketchbooks full of paintings, but for me my sketchbook is just a functional tool.

+What was your first published gig like? // How did that happen? 
My first gig came about via social media, which was obviously the start of things to come, as that is how I get most of my work now. I had ordered some Moo cards with my illustrations on them and blogged about it. Moo saw the post and asked me to work as a designer for them. At the time I was only 17 and Moo had only just started.

 +If you could give your senior in college self any advice, what would it be? 
I think I would tell myself that it's all worth it. All the hard work and the late nights and stress and tears paid off. I would also tell myself to get my accounts in order from the start! Keep every receipt! 

+What's next for Emma Block// What do you see yourself doing in five years?
In five years time I would like to have a couple more books under my belt, be working with a few more dream clients, hopefully I'll be able to afford somewhere with a garden (not easy in London!) and get a dog.

Emma Block, for me, is one of those amazing illustrators that touches people's lives & brightens the day. Her blog & twitter  are things I constantly keep up with, as she's one of those few people who feel real and are open with their lives. & There's nearly all of her shop on my Christmas & birthday wishlist, tehe.
But all of that aside, I'm so glad I reached out to her. She's always been amazingly inspirational for me and I was so happy to realize that she's exactly the kind of warm & wonderful person I thought her to be.
Are you familiar with Emma's work? What's your favorite thing she's done? Do you have someone who inspires you that you could contact? xo,


  1. What a lovely interview. I especially love her advice to her senior self, it also seems perfectly perfect for another very talented artist I know...
    Her work is very charming, I've admired it for quite some time as well.

  2. Wow love art, she is awesome and thanks for sharing her talent.

  3. I've been a fan of Emma Block's work for a while. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely interview with us! It was a lovely and inspirational read! Hope you have a great week :)
    Beth x

  4. How awesome!! I love her!!! I know you will be a great Illustrator Zie!!
    She's right, all the hard work pays off.

  5. Awesome interview! I didn't know her before hand, so it was a great introduction! I'd love to see more of that.


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