Kindred Tales | Sophie & Hopper | Illustrator & Graphic Designer
Tell us a bit about your work and how you became an Illustrator/Graphic Designer?
Drawing was always something I did in the margins of school work, and I come from a creative family so pursuing a creative career wasn’t completely a shock. I’m constantly integrating my two disciplines and trying new ways to combine them. There’s this strange divide between Graphic Design and Illustration and several tutors over the years have told me I can’t be both but now I’m a little older I’m a little wiser and I can make my own distinction between the two.
My style has developed out of a desire to create illustrations that draw the viewer back again and again to find the new aspects to look at. I love work like that! It’s always so fun and playful. Young illustrators forget sometimes to have fun with their work because there’s this constant pressure for the work to be perfect. I try really hard and sometimes fail to ignore that feeling, because the best work comes out when you’re not thinking about anything.
What inspires your work?
I love to draw people, before the pandemic I would routinely sketch on buses/tubes/overground, and these would develop into fun snapshots of the strangers you come into contact with in London. The textures in my work tend to reflect the atmosphere of the moment. I like to think they are a reflection of mood of London during that month. During the pandemic it’s been a bit strange because my usual inspiration has been limited to me and what I’m doing, not to mention I’m in my final year of an MA and designing for an independent bodywork studio - so it’s been busy, and illustration has become a refuge.
What’s your first memory of dogs being in your life?
I grew up globally, so we lived in a lot of different countries and pets aren’t really something that is conducive to that sort of lifestyle, but my sister and I campaigned hard for guinea pigs, cats and eventually a rescue dog. Cleo was an ‘experiment’; our grandmother has just passed away and our grandfather is a massive dog lover, so we fostered a puppy over a Christmas break for a local recuse centre in Dubai and obviously we ended up keeping her. She was hilarious and beautiful but ended up becoming extremely unwell and eventually we had to let her go. It’s a very bittersweet memory but has forever endeared me to rescue dogs.
Tell us about your Hopper and how he came into your life?
I never thought that London life would have been suitable for a dog until me and my partner sat down and actually talked about it after seeing rescue charities online like Underdog and Wild at Heart who will only let you adopt if they think the dog would work in your environment. We couldn’t find a good enough reason to not get a dog when we knew our positives completely outweighed our negatives. I think we registered interest at 10 different charities in about a week?! It was a bit mad because we saw Hopper on the SPDC instagram account and by the end of the week we were talking flight dates. We picked him up just before the December 2020 lockdown in a weird service station carpark and he was just so tiny and friendly in his too big tartan coat, and all of a sudden we had a dog buckled into the back seat of the car. SPDC has honestly been the most supportive and lovely charity, and they’ve definitely calmed our ‘new dog owner’ anxieties.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
We’ve been really lucky and Hopper is a pretty chilled out little man. We take him for longer walks in the morning and evening and 10 min run arounds twice a day, but most of the time he’s fast asleep on the sofa. It’s been a great way to break up what can be a seriously monotonous day. I’m a constant WFH and my partner is looking at being half WFH half in the office post pandemic so if anything Hopper has changed our general working day for the better.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out with the dog?
Well since we’ve had him we’ve only been allowed to go to local parks, which has been great fun watching him bounce around. He’s not a fan of mud, puddles, general dampness so we haven’t had to wash him after every outing. We’re very much Pub people, so he’s working on what we call tinny training (we sit down in a park and have a beer) in preparation for nice afternoons in the pub. He does love a good cycle though, so we bundle him into his backpack and go for a bit of exercise and he just looks around at everything passing by.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk?
A jumper, Hopper has a tendency to shiver when it gets even the slightest bit cold (drama queen) and so naturally I have become quite invested in dog jumpers. Currently he’s either in his LOKOPET onesie or his Jute and Sable long sleeved Jumper. We’ve always got his K9 backpack, the hypoallergenic treats and poo bags clipped to one of our jeans. But really, we can’t live without the dog lead that can clip around your shoulders, it was a panic buy from amazon but has turned out to be the MOST useful thing we own.