Claudine O’Sullivan, 2013 graduate of LCC’s BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design course, has won a World Illustration Award for a collaboration with Apple

Claudine, born in Ireland and now based in London, primarily works in traditional pencil, and so was commissioned by Apple to create artworks using the iPadPro and Apple Pencil. The images were created as part of Apple’s new campaign and feature two images that are Claudine’s first ever digital drawings.

Claudine has worked with a number of notable organisations including MTV, WeTransfer, Derwent Pencils and Tiger Beer. Winning a World Illustration Award in the professional advertising category for her beautiful imagery with Apple Pencil, her intrinsic detail transfers naturally to the digital platform.

We reached out to Claudine to find out more about post-LCC life, her award win and her upcoming exhibition…

Hi Claudine, congratulations on your award! What most inspires your work?

Nature and wildlife features a lot I’m currently working on a new collection of leaf studies, which I’ll be launching at the London Design Festival. I also attend wildlife drawing classes every few weeks. My work is mainly observation focused, so getting to see my subject in real life and movement is really important. I take lots of photos and do quick composition sketches to reference later.

What has been the highlight of your journey so far?

Probably going full time as an illustrator. I was working full time in a graphic design role and found it a very tough decision – but I haven’t looked back yet.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the field?

It hasn’t been a very direct career path. My parents ran their own business so I always liked the idea of being my own boss. I’ve had jobs since I was 15, so I definitely have a lot of experience in lots of different industries and roles, good and bad. My mum was very creative and a huge inspiration to me. I’ve always been drawing, but it’s only since moving to London that I realised I could make a career of it.

Work by LCC grad, Claudine O’Sullivan, for her collaboration with Apple Pencil

Can you tell us about your upcoming exhibition?

I’ve been freelancing now full time for just over a year, and have been very lucky to be kept busy with client work. I often struggle to commit to personal projects — so setting a date for a solo show and spreading the word is a great way to ensure I make time for personal work. The idea for this range came from a wildlife class focusing on botanics – it turns out leaves make easier models than meerkats. I found greens to be a fresh step away from my usual colour palette.

The next week I went to my local plant shop and picked up some more leaves to draw, just for fun. As I had a couple underway I met up with my friend Gemma who runs an online plant subscription store, Sprout London. We started chatting about my new found leaf obsession. Some tips from her on interesting species, a trip to Kew Gardens and a weekly dash to the flower market and my collection is starting to come together.

Teaming up with Gemma, my studio space Hotel Elephant and London Design Festival has been a huge motivator to get the work done! I’m really excited to share the finished pieces, yet a little anxious on the narrowing time. Most of the drawing is after hours, as I still need to focus on project work too, but it’s definitely a fun balancing act. I’m aiming for around 10-15 prints in total.

What do you hope to achieve through your work and what is the underlying motivation?

My favourite part of illustration is when I’m in the middle of a piece, so I just want to keep doing that. I find drawing my natural way of communicating, hopefully I can show people a new perspective on subjects they’re used to – from foxes, to leaves, to architecture to rubbish.

If there is any advice you wish you received when first starting out what would it be?

Be more confident and value your time and skills.

Work by Claudine O’Sullivan for Apple

What are you working on now and what is next for you?

I’m working on a couple of different digital pieces launching later in September, as well as a new limited edition screen print for a cancer research exhibition in Dublin. I have a couple of more projects lined up for the rest of the year so happily keeping busy.

Do you have a particular process when approaching illustrations?

Each one is different, and the little challenge and struggles make them exciting. I love being challenged with new briefs that push my style in a new way.

Quick fire question round:

My dream collaboration is…

Something I can’t even imagine! It’s always the really surprising briefs that become my favourite

In 10 years’ time I am…

Still drawing

My top 3 illustrators are…

I struggle a lot with this question! A lot of my friends are illustrators and I follow a great mix of amazing artist on Instagram. But in honesty, I try not to look at or focus too much on what other illustrators are up to, in a hope that I stay unique and original. It’s so easy to be subconsciously influenced by those you admire.

Explore other work by Claudine on her website and Instagram page.