There is no doubt why Angela Nickeas' illustrations have been commissioned by renown brands such as Target, Primark and Wallmart. Her illustrations are just stunning! Bright and cheerful, every piece she creates is a great source of inspiration, (not only for clients but also for other artists looking for high quality print trends) Let's have a talk with the creator of the amazing Hiccup Studio Designs:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Has illustration always been constant in your life?
A: My name is Angela Nickeas and I am a freelance surface pattern designer. My design life officially started 2000 when I gained a place on the prestigious BTEC Foundation Studies course in Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. From there I studied a BA (Hons) in Surface Pattern Design at Staffordshire University - a fantastic course with an emphasis on drawing skills which also allowed a lot of freedom due to its diversity. We could dip into glass, ceramics, paperwork and textiles. I specialized in printed textiles.
I exhibited at New Designers in London in 2003 and upon graduating I worked mainly in the home textile and furnishing market, designing patterns and styling ranges for a number of major UK retailers, manufacturers and international clients. I travelled a lot during this period, mainly to factories in the Far East which really gave me an insight and understanding into the manufacturing and printing process which I feel has enhanced my work on a commercial level.
I live in Manchester, England with my husband Oliver and three young children Lola, Theo and Otto.
Q: You are the owner of a successful illustration studio. Was it hard to make the decision of going freelance?
A: I set up my own studio - Hiccup Studio Designs in 2010 and began to undertake various design projects in the interior, stationery and giftware industries for a variety of UK retailers and manufacturers. I always knew that I wanted to set up my own business and after the birth of my daughter I came to the decision that a full time career was not the right path for my new family so it was a relatively easy choice.
I’ve been really fortunate with the success I’ve had and I’ve worked on some fabulous briefs for companies such as Primark, Brother and Belly Button. I am also represented by the amazing Pink Light Studio in America, and my work is available for licensing. I honestly don’t think that my freelance work would have happened if I hadn’t worked in-house first. The experience, knowledge and contacts I gained along the way were invaluable.
Q: What do you enjoy to draw most? What less?
A: I love to draw florals - my work is quite heavily decorative and feminine but my florals are mainly stylized and quirky in their appearance. I also feature birds and butterflies often within my designs and love for these to be filled with pattern. I’m not great at drawing people… faces in particularly. I’d love to take up some life drawing classes again in the future.
Q: Could you share your creative process?
A: My process generally begins with a concept or theme. I spend a lot of time at the beginning of a new collection doing research and gathering reference – this could be an inspirational colour palette or a single flower motif which may then spark a myriad of ideas. I love to have a vast source of visual inspiration to work from. I like to sketch layouts and motifs first freehand before turning to the computer where I use a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop to develop concepts and create repeats.
Q: What do you do when you have creative slumps?
A: If I feel a design isn’t working, sometimes I just stop, walk away and come back to it later which I find often helps. Most of the time though I generally go online and search for inspiration. There are so many amazing design blogs and websites out there and I love to delve in and get lost and I quite often feel invigorated and motivated after. It’s important to accept that these slumps or moments of ‘artists block’ will always happen but will pass eventually!