Vibrant folk-inspired children’s illustrations by Molley May

I was born and raised in the small, rural town of Frome in Somerset, UK and it was here during my childhood that I developed my love of drawing and making. I was a relatively quiet and reserved child so found a lot of enjoyment in creativity. When I was 18, I went to university and studied for a degree in Illustration. I had a brilliant and transformative time at university and learned so much about myself and illustration. Currently I live in Bristol and I am really enjoying the vibrant and free atmosphere of living in a creative city.

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When I was around 7 or 8, I started drawing stories and characters, and putting together little homemade books. This had continued since. I try and draw everyday, it makes me feel so out of joint when I haven’t put pencil to paper for longer than a couple of days! I began illustrating professionally and accepting commissions during my final year of university and I am grateful for each client every single day!

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My style is definitely still developing. I try and think of it as something fluid that will never reach a set point where it stops changing. I would describe my style as vibrant, folk-inspired, children’s illustration.

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A bit like my style development, my approach is also a bit all over the place. I tend to just draw without much pre-planning, occasionally I will thumbnail a few ideas and do a bit of warm up work but often, especially if I’m drawing just for myself, I will simply start.

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I’m inspired by a lot of things, currently I am greatly inspired by browsing online museum archives. I really enjoy drawing characters, in particular Victorian/Edwardian people, I love the clothing and patterns.

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I think the best tip I could give a fellow illustrator would be to be resilient and dedicated. This practice takes up a lot of time and energy and most of it can end up feeling wasted. It’s better to try and think of unsuccessful projects or rejection as part of the process not the world telling you to stop! As long as you like what you’re doing, eventually somebody else will too!


Photo credits: Molley May / Used with permission.

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