Me and my studio: Alice Pattullo

Me and my studio: Alice Pattullo

By NellFrizzellIdeasTap 08/08/13

The illustrator and printmaker Alice Pattullo has worked with several high profile clients including the V&A, Faber, Leeds Museums and Galleries and Whistles. Here she talks us through the anatomy of her studio, from where she buys her sketchbooks to why she has two desks...

I’m definitely in the studio five days a week, if not more. It is so much better than working from home. Being able to physically walk away from your desk makes a big difference.


I always use the same sketchbooks. I used to be way too precious about them and want everything to be really polished. But now I just want to keep filling them up for the rest of my life, so I have thousands when I die.

They’re from Seawhite in Brighton and literally about a pound each.

I draw all the elements in black and white separately. Generally I rough things out in pencil before I start inking or using acrylic. I also cut out the shapes sometimes too, because I prefer the tatty line to a hand-drawn line. Then I put all those elements into Photoshop, to build the composition and to do the colour work. I never do any colour work physically.


I just buy whatever brushes are cheapest, because I destroy them. I like really thin ones, but I forget to wash them and they get all matted. I tend to buy them from Cass Arts or Seawhites in Brighton. 

I also use a lot of white ink. I’ll paint something black and then draw in white over it, rather than doing it the other way around.

I think I established the style I work in during the second year of university, although hopefully it’s a little more refined now.

I tend to do all my emails when I first get in. They always take longer than I expect. I’ll then set aside a day to do all the proper admin things. But I’ll draw all through the week. 

This is my new set up, so I can have the drawing and the computer separate. It’s really nice. I used to just have a pile of sketchbooks in front of my keyboard but now I have an empty fresh side to draw on and the computer side is just for computer things. 

I think I’m better at breaking up my time, now I’ve divided my space. Before, I’d just be checking my emails, or wasting hours on the internet.

I listen to radio when I’m working. Radio 4 in the morning, but not beyond The World at One, then This American Life. Sometimes a bit of Radio 6

I’m definitely a collector (well, hoarder) so I’m always surrounded by a lot of stuff. A lot of my designs and illustrations are quite symmetrical, and that’s part-and-parcel of the way I display the stuff around me. A lot of the ephemera I collect is because I’m drawn to the colours, more than the type, or whatever. 

I do put my own prints up – partly because I have so many it seems a shame for them to just sit in a drawer. It’s also good at encouraging you when you feel a bit rubbish.

This is Bert. He lives upstairs. Having a dog around is so lovely. Any animal is good – there’s some scientific study that shows stroking an animal lowers your stress.


To see more of Alice’s work, visit her website.

Photography by Nick Scott, @narcsville.

For more articles, jobs and opportunities visit our Art & Design hub.

Closing Update

8524 Page views

Most popular
Our past collaborators