Hugo Bilton is an Illustrator from the Isle of Wight, now based in Richmond. Recent commissions have included merch for musician Lauran Hibberd and the artwork for Ventnor Fringe
By Megan Stisted
Hi Hugo, life under lockdown – how is it for you?
Life under lockdown is slow and very hot. Luckily, Richmond Park isn’t far from where I live, so I am able to walk around and watch the deers and parakeets which live there. It’s frustrating to know how hard some people are trying to make things better only to be tarnished by a few individuals. Support for workers and independents is needed more than ever.
What’s it like trying to illustrate under the current circumstances?
Illustrating under these conditions isn’t much different to be honest. There definitely is a lack of inspiration at a time like this. Most of my work turns out to be negative or aggressive which isn’t really similar to my other works. However, it has made me think about what I want to work on in the future.
“…we have pointed out that this might be the most time we will spend together until we both retire.”
What have you been working on at the moment?
I recently finished up a self initiated project to create ten posters in ten days. Which all centred around society and current social problems. I have a few other commissions as well. I would like to start doing a weekly comic perhaps, although it is hard to find the free time, even during lockdown (as I am still only a part time artist, unfortunately).
Has lack of inspiration got the better of you or are you finding it easy with lots of time to create?
A bit of both really. Most of my free time I like to spend with my girlfriend as she is still working very hard during the lockdown, and we have pointed out that this might be the most time we will spend together until we both retire. Which is a sad thing but also great at the same time. However, when I am not working and she is, I do to take the time to draw or study.
How long have you been illustrating professionally, and how’s it going?
I have been illustrating professionally for 2 years, part time. I would like to be a full time artist eventually with my own studio or workspace, maybe teaching other young artists or adults who want to be more creative. It is going well. I am enjoying the challenges that are being thrown my way.
What about your style sets you apart from other illustrators?
It’s very hard to be totally unique within these modern times. We are seeing more images everyday than anybody else has before us with access to social media and the chance to use the internet on our phones. It’s impossible to not get inspired or swayed by another image we have seen. I try to keep the hand drawn respect of my work very clear, and try and only manipulate a few things digitally.
Name one thing that’s been keeping you going in lockdown – could be anything!
Me and my girlfriend have both been keeping each other motivated, but also my routine of exercise has helped.Oh and also watching a ridiculous amount of Netflix, especially a lot of Studio Ghibli films at the start of lockdown.
Ventnor Exchange has commissioned Hugo to create bespoke artwork for Ventnor Fringe, which you’ll be able to see shortly at vfringe.co.uk
Check out more of Hugo's work @hugocharliebiltonillustrator on Instagram
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