10 Minutes With Illustrator Bobbi Rae

Ellie Weston – 21st Jan 2019

This year's Valentine's Day Campaign has been brought to life by the artistic wizardry of Leeds-based designer and illustrator Bobbi Rae. Like the star she is, she found time to answer a load of questions for us, thus blessing you with this blog post. Prepare to fully immerse yourself in the bold, booby world of Bobbi.

What's the weirdest thing that you've ever drawn?

It might be a woman climbing inside of her own butt - the sentiment being ‘get yer head out yer arse’. But come to think of it, I did once make a design for a ‘get well soon’ card which had a naked man wearing a party hat on it, with the phrase ‘But it’s not my birthday, Hans.’ I think it was one of the best things I have ever made.

What's the best thing about being a freelancer?

I love working to my own schedule. Sometimes I’ll stay up til 2am working and then have a little snooze the next day. It’s not the ideal situation for everyone, but I find that I’m really inspired and love working in my studio at night time, so it’s perfect for me.

What's the most annoying thing a client has ever done/asked you to do? (Not including this interview, you maverick)

My biggest peeve with client work is changing goalposts and deadlines, especially when extra changes and rush projects are expected for free. I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of amazing clients and this is rarely a problem. But I’ve definitely had one or two choice customers in my time.

Would you rather everyone was able to see all of your internet history or all of your Facebook/Whatsapp/iMessage/whatever-chat-thing-you-use-most messages?

My internet history is mostly filled with google searches like ‘cool dogs’, ‘dogs in hats’ and ‘dog parties’. It’s an archive I’d be happy to share with anyone. All the dick pics on my cloud however, well they can stay private if you don’t mind. I’ve attached one to this interview, just to demonstrate the calibre.

Do you take any, er, 'substances' to ease the transference of all that mad shit in your brain onto paper?

You’ll never see me without a cup of tea in-hand - but another thing that a lot of people don’t know about me, is that I really do have a penchant for the smell of permanent markers. Mmmm so good.

Favourite genre of music?

I like a lot of different genres, it’s hard to say. I like fun, sometimes strange vocals - and I’m a total sucker for a female front woman. Check out Regina Spektor - Music Box, Le Tigre - Deceptacon, Tuneyards - Water Fountain and Dananananackroyd’s cover of Devo’s 80’s classic - Whip It. *Good times guaranteed.

What's your favourite thing you've ever drawn?

Last year I got to work on a really awesome project called The GALphabet - it’s a set of alphabet flash cards which feature aspiring job roles for kids, particularly little girls. All of the characters on the cards are female and the job roles included are those which often under-represent women in the work place, such as: Engineer, Director, Kickboxer and even Prime Minister. I loved drawing each and every card for this project. I’m completely behind the motive. I want little girls and boys to grow up, not feeling bound to certain aspirations by their gender. I like to think that my drawings for The GALphabet make some small contribution to changing societal perceptions.

It’s a project which I think I’ll be hecka proud of for a long time to come.

P.S. You can bag yourself your very own copy of The GALphabet from BossBabs!

What pisses you off about being an illustrator?

Being asked to work for free. This happened to me, and for a lot of creatives, more often in the earlier days; because the market for creative work is highly competitive and some companies will abuse the fact that budding artists want to be noticed in the creative world. Some will also bank that young artists might not know how to price their work properly yet.

Creative jobs are a skill and a craft. Clients want you to work with them because your skills add value to their business. Illustrators, designers and all artists should be mindful of that fact before they agree to do anything for free. And clients, well they should compensate artists fairly for their time and skill, which they’re usually ever so happy to commodify.

Would you rather have cigarettes for fingers or accordions for arms?

Accordions for arms for sure. That sounds fun. Or at least novel, for a while.

If you've got time, can you sketch us a quick horse? Doesn't have to be a good one.

What a lovely horsie. What lovely handwriting. 10/10 as far as we're concerned.

Would you rather have a giant moth for a flatmate, or have to live with worst flatmate you've ever had for five years? (This one's a bit shit)

I have a strict ‘no asshole’ policy when it comes to choosing my flatmates and I’m much too awkward to have ever moved in with strangers. I still love all of the people I’ve lived with to bits, so even the worst ones (you know who you are!), I’d pick them.

Did you have to practice drawing loads or are you naturally this good?

Definitely practice. I practice a lot. Pretty much every day and as often as possible. I guess I have had an advantage from a young age, since I’ve always loved doodling but I do always look back at old sketchbooks like ‘WTF?! Just no.’

If you weren't an illustrator, what would you be doing?

A pretty big part of me fantasises about making an all-female rehash of The Chuckle Brothers as a tribute to the late, great Barry Chuckle (aka Barry Elliot). If I weren’t so terrible at early mornings, I could’ve loved a life working in children’s TV.

Would you rather have a billion quid and never be able to draw again, or keep being able to draw without the billion?

If I use my billion quid to build bionic arms that would draw for me, is that cheating?

Where's your favourite place to draw? E.g. on a train, at your desk, in a coffee shop...

Although I have a nice little space set up in my studio, with my desk and chair angled so that I can look up out of the window as I’m drawing... My ass always gravitates toward the floor and I swear that’s where I have made most of my best work. It’s really not something I would recommend though, as its awful for my knees and back. Most other artists and illustrators that I know prefer a desk, drawing board or even a table at a quiet coffee shop. If you’re reading this article looking for advice, I wouldn’t take mine on this one!

Quickfire round!

Cheese or chocolate?

Trick question?

Digital or traditional art?

Both combined. Traditional if a gun is to my head.

Quality Street, Heroes, Celebrations, or Roses?

I had this debate quite a lot over Christmas... Quality Street for sure.

Booze or soft drinks?

Soft drink please!

Matte or glossy?

Matte

Love or money?

Love 💖

Coke or Pepsi?

Neither ideally. A tango wouldn’t go amiss though.

Tigers or monkeys?

Monkeys

Eastenders or Coronation Street?

Corrie

Dogs or cats?

DOGS DOGS DOGS

Piercings or tattoos?

Tattoos.... they’re drawings, ofc!?

Going out or staying in?

Staying in

Winter or summer?

Summer

Coffee or tea?

Tea

McDonald's or Gregg's?

Both. At the same time.

Up north or down south?

North is where my heart is

Portrait or landscape?

Portrait

Answering questions or not having to answer questions?

Questions! I feel like I’m on a game show. Do I win a luxury holiday?

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Sadly there are no luxury holidays to be won, just the hearts of the audience. Big thank you to Bobbi for answering our annoying questions (even if she enjoyed it a tiny bit). Please show her some love over on Insta or hit up her website - you can buy stuff with her stuff on it! Neat!