Mixing retro with clean forms and a hint of color, Cheryl Epstein creates beautiful illustrations that put us in a good mood. Inspired by mid-century design, she uses simple shapes that make her posters playful and vivid. We have recently caught up with her to talk about her style, passions and work-life balance. Discover this week’s On the spot and get to know the creator behind her art.
What were your first steps as an artist?
I like to work digitally so my first steps were learning about all the software that would help me create digital art. I remember teaching myself Adobe Illustrator and learning all the tools from A to Z, practicing and discovering what I could create. My first illustrations were pretty terrible!
Where do you live and what does your studio look like?
I am originally from the U.K but I currently live in a small home in Texas that I share with my family and rescue animals. I don’t really have a fancy studio. When I left my full-time job and decided to pursue illustration, I downsized a lot. The great thing about digital art is that you don’t really need a lot of space to create!
Describe your ideal working environment.
My ideal working environment would have lots of light and be surrounded by trees and nature. My dogs would also be with me, of course, as they keep me company during the day. They are not very good at making coffee though. ☹
Which of your artworks is your favorite and why?
I feel that I have only just reached the stage where I like what I am creating. I really love my “Inspiring Women” collection and I want to create more illustrations like this. I am also very happy with my city illustrations. Cities aren’t my usual subject matter, but I really enjoyed illustrating them and sticking to a limited color palette. I am planning on creating more and trying to decide which cities I should illustrate next
You create playful, vintage-inspired art. How did you develop your current style?
When I was at school, I was encouraged to create very realistic art. I feel that is the reason I became discouraged and gave it up for a very long time. I was always comparing myself to others.
I find it much more fun and interesting to try to reduce my art to shapes and limited color palettes. It’s a challenge to do this but it makes it so much fun. It may sound surprising but creating something simple is often harder than creating something complex. I am still working on this skill!
Which artist would you wish to have dinner with?
I would like to have dinner with Salvador Dali and we would leave the restaurant in a Rolls-Royce filled with cauliflower. I would like to talk to him about the hypnagogic state and admire his epic mustache.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
I absolutely love the bold, simple style of Tom Eckersley. He is generally regarded as one of the best of the mid-century graphic designers in Britain. I love how he uses flat blocks of colour and geometric forms in his designs. I would have loved to attend one of his poster design classes!
What are your passions, other than creating art?
I very much love nature and gardening. I am quite good at propagating plants so a lot of plants in my garden are from cuttings or seeds.
I recently had my little garden certified as a wildlife habitat. I think a lot of people would find my garden quite messy but that’s the way I like it and I think the garden animals, including my resident opossum, like it too!
How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist?
This is quite difficult at the moment as I am trying to build my business. I have to remind myself to take breaks. It is very important for creativity to get away from the computer screen.
I like to plan little outings for my family and take my sketchbook with me.
I also try to take time every day to go for a run or take the dogs to the dog park.
Describe your dream art project.
I would love to illustrate a book, perhaps a children’s alphabet book. I also love creating patterns so any project that involves creating fun, colorful patterns would be cool!