GRINtroducing: Pickle Illustration
Founders of Pickle illustration, illustrators Liv & Lauren join us for a chat to talk about all things design!
We are back again with another feature for our GRINtroducing series! This week we are introducing you to Liv & Lauren, the two creatives behind ‘Pickle Illustration’, a Birmingham-based illustration and mural design business. We got chatting to them about their career, upcoming design projects and their most recent move to become part of Birmingham’s creative art scene…
1) Hi Liv and Lauren! Thanks for taking part in our GRINtroducing series. For those who don’t know about Pickle Illustration, can you tell us a little more about it?
Of course, it’s our pleasure! We’re Liv and Lauren from Pickle Illustration, an illustration and mural business based in Birmingham. We strive to turn spaces into places through public art, add personality to print and digital and collaborate with the community to spread the joy of creativity.
2) How did Pickle Illustration first come about? What encouraged you to start working together creatively?
We met whilst studying Graphic Communication and Illustration at Loughborough University back in 2016. It was clear from the very start that we both had similar ideas over what we wanted to do as a career (freelance illustration) and also both have a similar tone of voice within our illustration work.
Lauren completed a ‘Year In Enterprise’ for her placement year (freelance for a year with the Universities support). Liv was completing her final year whilst this was happening and snuck into some of the workshops (with the promise of free pizza!). It was during these workshops that we realised we wanted to work together to form something that could be a bit bigger. We had no clue what we wanted to do, but knew illustration had to take centre stage (first ideas were recycled t-shirts in pickle jars!?). A few months and mentor sessions with the glorious staff at Loughborough later, Pickle was born!
3) Pickle Illustration is especially known for its mural work and recent community-based trail projects, such as your ‘Rocket Round Leicester’ 2021 and ‘Fosse Foxes Trail’. What is your favourite thing about working on these kinds of projects?
Definitely the challenge! The variety of people you work with, the amount of components within a project and the different canvases you can get presented with keeps our brains ticking for sure. With these projects you really feel part of the journey and it’s so rewarding to see the outcomes in a physical space being interacted with. We hope we can do even weirder and more wonderful ones in the future!
4) Which Pickle Project are you both most proud of and why?
It has to be painting 34 larger than life fibreglass foxes over Christmas during a national lockdown! There were a lot of challenges with this one (finding big enough space, social distancing, the painting of all of them!) and we can’t quite believe we accomplished it all.
5) What is it like working collaboratively? How do you go about tackling the creative process and merging two illustration styles together?
It all begins with a discussion, we LOVE the brainstorming part of a project. It always feels more fun with two people contributing too. Then it’s a lot of passing the ipad back and forth! It’s really nice to be able to get fresh eyes on work, especially when we have two brains and two different approaches to illustrating. It keeps things interesting and we are always challenging ourselves to get the best out of each other.
6) If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start work as a designer/illustrator, what would you say?
Be willing to talk to people. Making connections and just being nice, friendly and open people has by FAR opened the most doors for us. It can be so daunting at first, but like everything it just takes practise. Start with your local network and work from there.
7) Do you have a designer/illustrator/filmmaker/creative that you’re both currently obsessing over and why?
We are ALWAYS obsessed with Morag Myerscough. Her work is so vibrant and full of life and we always hope our work can spread as much joy as hers!
8) I know you have both only recently moved into a new studio space in Birmingham, but what made you both decide to move to Birmingham? What’s one of your favourite things about the city?
We love answering this question because it’s such an underrated city. The more people start talking about it the better! We were just given the WARMEST welcome by Luke and Dan from Birmingham Design Festival which honestly sealed the deal for us moving here. It’s buzzing with creativity and there’s always something happening. It’s a very humble city and the people are what makes it so great.
9) We recently saw your ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ The Creative City Poster work at Birmingham’s 2021 Design Festival, do you have any more exciting Birmingham-based projects coming up?
We’re working on a couple of early stage murals at the moment as one of our biggest goals is to get some Pickle creativity up on some Birmingham walls. If anyone is in need, you know where to find us..
10) Plan B – If you both weren’t working in Design, what other job could you see yourselves working in?
Lauren – I’ve always had a love for English as well as art. I’m a big old bookworm and also love writing the blog on our website so something in journalism or writing would have been great! I’m thinking of getting into design writing more so let’s see if a side hustle emerges.
Liv – Potentially dermatology, my dressing table looks a bit like a science lab and my friends have definitely picked up on it haha! Alternatively something in the world of psychology, this might have been influenced by watching many episodes of Derren Brown as a kid.