Artist Spotlight: Kate Pugsley

June 23, 2016

It’s a delight to feature one of our newest artists, Kate Pugsley, on our blog today in the Artist’s Spotlight hotseat Not only is she a fantastic artist, but she’s an inspiring human being as well. From her vibrant patterns, greeting cards, and prints–you can pretty much immerse yourself in Kate’s work on a daily basis and be a better person for it (or at least be living in bold and patterned color).

We will try not to give much away, but Red Cap also has some pretty fantastic things in the works for our next release, and a lot of them involve her work. Read on to learn more about what inspires Kate, about her favorite pieces, and her advice to up-and-coming artists. Thank you, Kate!
Kate Pugsley at work

Tell us about your childhood—did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?
My childhood was pretty dull, so I spent a lot of time reading, drawing, and dreaming of becoming an artist. The other career options I was aware of at the time didn’t interest me much, so I decided pretty early that I wanted to be an artist. Growing up I had no understanding of what a life as an artist would be like. So far it is completely surprising and satisfying!
Papercuts by Kate Pugsley

Your patterns are to die for. Any chances that wallpaper or the like might be in your future?
I really hope so!

Underwater Pattern

What is your creative process like?
I am constantly painting and drawing and always keep a running notebook of sketches, thoughts, and ideas that I’ll reference for project inspiration. My sketchbooks are an important resource for me and I often find ideas I completely forgot about and feel ready to revisit. Work generates inspiration for me. For illustration assignments, my early sketches can be pretty rough. Since I am a painter I sometimes struggle to convey my ideas in pencil alone. I use traditional materials as much as possible since I don’t enjoy spending too much time on the computer. Once an idea is ready I paint the finals in gouache and use some digital tools for cleaning up or assembling.

Kate Pugsley Page
Abstract Birthday and Birthday Suit

We love, love, love the James and Giant Peach illustration. What were your favorite books growing up?
Some of my favorites were Eloise by Kay Thompson, and all books by Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Scarry.

James and the Giant Peach by Kate Pugsley

What inspires you?
I’ve been asked this question a lot, and it’s hard to answer honestly. My environment has always been really important, including experiences of new places. Work and life are so intertwined that I can’t really pick out specific inspirations. Taking the time to observe what’s around me helps me stay conscious of what I’m thinking and feeling, and I think that influences my work.
Kate Pugsley's Thelma and Louise
What is your most successful piece?
When I look back on work, it can be hard to decide what really makes it “successful.” This piece I did for Flow Magazine is one I consider to be because it led to several other great projects for me.
Flow Magazine Kate Pugsley

What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
An illustration teacher told me that she paints at least 6 days a week, every week. I just remember this made me realize what kind of dedication this job takes.

Favorite medium to work in?
I love to paint with gouache on hot press watercolor paper.

Feather Kate Pugsley
Birds of a Feather

Do you have a favorite piece that you have created?
I don’t have one single piece that is my favorite. This is a painting that I remember really enjoying my time working on, so maybe that qualifies it as a favorite.

Kate Pugsley's favorite piece of her own work

Who are your role models, in terms of art or otherwise?
Some people who have inspired me over the years by sharing their creativity are Karin Dreijer Andersson, Tomi Ungerer, Kara Walker, Beatrice Alemagna, Julie Mehretu, Camilla Engman, Maurice Sendak, Frida Kahlo, and Morrissey.

If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you hope to be doing?
I’d like to be an architect or a teacher or mixing colors in a paint factory.

Kate Pugsley Paints and work

Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
I’m having a show in September in Madrid at Do Design Gallery, which is pretty exciting. There are a few illustration projects in the works, but I can’t really talk about them yet.

Where would you like to see your work in ten years?
I’d love to work on children’s books in the coming years.

Kate Pugsley working at her desk

Any advice to burgeoning illustrators?
Don’t give up too soon; it takes a long time to develop good work. It would have been really easy for me to give up when I wasn’t having success in my early twenties, but I would regret not having made all of those horrible paintings that eventually led me here.

Congratulations Kate Pugsley
Three Women Congrats

View more of Kate’s designs for Red Cap Cards, here.

Photos courtesy of Kate Pugsley and Red Cap Cards.