Artist Profile: Leanne Coelho

Leanne Coelho is a writer, illustrator and owner of Sloth and Stork an Etsy shop which sells her quirky illustrations and accessories. She lives in Hertfordshire, UK with her wife, Sarah and their cat, Pawtia. Leanne loves sushi, coffee and rainy days! Head over to her store and give her a follow on Insta! 

1) Can you tell us a little more about yourself and where you are based?

I'm a writer, illustrator, artist and designer living in Hertfordshire, UK, with my wife, Sarah and our cat, Pawita. I grew up in South Africa where my every scribble and story was awarded the high honour of a place on my parent's fridge. We later moved to Portugal for six years where I developed my skills, inspired and encouraged by a fantastic art teacher. I studied graphic design in London and completed a course in picture book writing and illustrating through Curtis Brown Creative. I've have worked as a designer, copywriter, freelance illustrator and commissioned artist. I love sushi, coffee and rainy days! 

2) What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
I love the process of creating something from nothing. A blank canvas is very exciting for me! I love bringing my imaginary world into the real one, I think there's a kind of magic in creating characters and worlds that weren't there before.
3) Where do you draw inspiration from?
I'm inspired by children's picture books and a long list of authors, illustrators and artists work. 
4) What motto do you live by?
Ethos, pathos, logos, kairo (Ethics, empathy, logic, opportunity). 
5) Favourite artist?
I couldn't have only one favourite artist, there are so many I admire and am inspired by. I love the work of  Oliver Jeffers, Steve Anthony and Rob Biddulph. 
6) How do you stay motivated?
I tend to go through phases of creative energy. I'll be super productive, creating tons of work that I'm very happy with for a while. Then I'll have a block of time after that where I won't feel inspired to create anything, it can be quite scary especially if I have a deadline that falls into this period of time! To get motivated when I'm not feeling inspired I read picture books, catch up on what illustrators and authors I'm inspired by are doing or watch a documentary (eg. Disney+ studios documentaries) or kids movie (James and the Giant Peach, The Little Prince etc.).  
leeane coelho art
7) Describe your work in 3 words.
Fun, quirky, imaginative 
8) Quote to live by? 
'A creative mind is engineered by an adventurers heart, oiled with the passion of a dreamer.' - Lauren Lolly Beukes 
9) What is the best advice you have been given?
Just draw. 
10) What processes do you use when creating? 
I tend to start creating a project by free drawing, I try not to overthink it and just sketch, scribble and scrawl until I feel like I've reached a starting point. Then it's a process of refinement; editing, redrawing and scaling to a final version that I'm happy with. There is always a real risk of overworking, I try to take a step back and little breaks often so I can look at my work in progress with fresh eyes. 

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