Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 3, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Kitty Moss


Kitty Moss is an award winning Illustrator and Designer working between Ireland and LA.  Her work is inspired by nature, folklore, ghost stories and the moon. Kitty’s first picture book “Where Bone” will be released by Page Street Publications Fall 2020.

For picture books and literary enquiries please contact the wonderful Adria Goetz at Martin Literary Management LLC adria@martinlit.com

For commercial illustration projects please contact the brilliant Rebecca Bourke at rebecca@assembly.ie

For private commissions or just a chat its

Lyn@kittymoss.com

For love stories & bespoke wedding invitations please visit: http://www.tilldawndear.com/ tilldawndear@gmail.com

Past Clients Include: Kodaline, Ships, Atterly Road, The Four Seasons, Nokia, Image Magazine, Brown Thomas, Kildare Village, The Irish Times, Bash Magazine, Dublin City Council, Temple Bar Council, Irish Tourist Board, Rx Vintage.

Here is Kitty discussing her process:

This illustration is for a book that I’m working on about the story of light- its based on a chapter from another book called “How we got to now” by Steven Johnson. One of the chapters is on the history of the light bulb and how prior to electricity we used to kill whales to extract the wax from their brains to make candles- pretty gruesome ! But fascinating!

I like to begin illustrating with no set plan, just with the general theme in mind. I always begin with quick, abstract collages, I really enjoy this part of the process as its a fast and free way of working, its sort of like emptying my brain onto the screen. The images often make no sense from a storytelling point of view but I find them useful for colour or little details. At this stage I’m not thinking about the final image just doodling and collaging what comes to mind. I work in Photoshop, collaging watercolour and ink splodges and stains to make shapes and textures and then I draw on top with a waccom tablet in an inky brush, I like Kyle T Websters ink brushes.

​*above images are relating to the paragraph above- loose abstract imagery that kicks off my process. They are both too creepy and not exactly understandable from a story telling point of view but at this stage I’m just enjoying the process. With my brain dump out of the way, I very roughly begin to sketch out a composition on paper, I use reference images from books, Pinterest and google for the landscape and once I’m happy with the composition, I doodle it up once more with a pencil brush on photoshop. I quickly add some color just to get a rough idea of what it will be like and save this as a reference layer.

I then begin the labor intensive process of collaging the scene, the people take a long time as their features and clothing details are all collaged together from watercolor/ ink swashes and blobs. I arrange these on a separate page saving each person/ element as individual layers and pop them into the sketch one at a time.

Once I have a few characters in place, I block collage the whale and the background, these are also done with watercolor. I used the watercolor sky and some inner skull imagery from my creepy abstract doodles.

From here on it’s just a matter of building the scene and playing around with shades and tones, all done with scanned watercolor files.

I like the flexibility of photoshop but still love the handcrafted look so this way of working really suits me.

Interview with Kitty Moss:

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating full time since 2014 but doodling since a wobbler.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

I was part of an illustration group called Brainbelt in Dublin back in 2009, I painted a collection of curious characters, most with googley eyes and charismatic teeth ! I sold around 20 of them.

I am interested in how you work between Ireland and LA? Do you telecommute from Ireland?

I used to live in LA and loved it. While I was there, I was working with couples, painting their love stories and turning them into wedding invites (www.tilldawndear.net)- I mostly worked through Ireland but I attended some wedding fairs in LA and sent my invites to suppliers so had a
steady stream of work from a few continents. If possible, I meet the couple but more often then not it’s through email/ WhatsApp and occasionally Skype. I love working with couples for such a joyous occasion – I call it the happiness Business and it pays my bills but I was always working
on a children book or two on the side.


What made you choose to attend the National College of Art & Design in Dublin and get a BA in fashion design?

It’s the main art school in Dublin (some may say Ireland) and I always loved fashion and textiles, prior to this I studied Fine Art and for a few years post degrees I worked across both mediums.

Did college help you get work when you graduated?

Hmmm that’s a tough one as I wouldn’t have had a portfolio without college, so I couldn’t have got a job, but they didn’t exactly help you secure jobs or really prep you for what it’s like out there as a freelancer or trying to get paid in any way.

What types of classes did you enjoy the most?

I loved photography, screen printing, design and art theory, in school my favorites were art and biology.

Do you feel school helped you develop you style?

So many moons ago! I was a constant doodler, everything was covered in scribbles and “my work” was like that for a while so I guess so! In some ways I wish I could tap back into that free wheely doodley style again.

What type of work did you do after you college?

After my first degree I had all the dream jobs- working in record stores, cinemas and video stores anything to pay for all the fun I was having but after my fashion degree I was older and a little bit more responsible so I worked as an assistant designer for John Rocha.

What inspired you to start Maud and Minet? Is that a clothing store?

It was a fashion label but based on an illustrated character called Maud- a very stylish ghost and her cat Minet. I wrote a light hearted poem about the fashion industry (which I have a love hate relationship with) and invented a character to go with it. I used to make clothes for her and paint her outfits. I sold out of the paintings and sold a few items of clothing. I would love to resurrect them but fashion is a very expensive business. I have used her namesake to create a range of bridal and evening wear leather jackets though-coming soon!

It sounds like you design wedding invitations? When did you start doing that?

After my best friends wedding in 2014. I painted them a map with points of significance in their lives and just loved working with them on something that was so meaningful to them- I was hooked and have been working with couples ever since- I love a good love story!


Did you study calligraphy in college or do you pay someone to do add that writing to your wedding cards?

Gosh no, I can’t read my own hand writing! My style is quite quirky and fun so in general couples come for that look rather than very beautiful calligraphy.

How did you connect with Adria Goetz at Martin Literary Management and get her to represent you? How long have they been representing you?

Ahhh Adria-my hero! I had an Irish agent at the time who was trying to find home for two books I wrote ‘Gone Bone Gone’ (now called ‘Where Bone’ ) and The Oinking Horse (which sadly has never found a home). Although she was very accomplished I found her hard to get in contact with and offered little feedback so my husband (another big hero of mine) found Adria’s email address in a list of publishes accepting unsolicited manuscripts and I tentatively sent her my books. I think she wrote back to me on a weekend with very positive feedback, I was overjoyed to say the least- we had a chat later in the week and in 2018 I signed with Martin Lit. I can’t stress this enough -Adria is an unbelievable agent and a truly lovely person, I feel so lucky to have met her.

When you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?

A gizillion years ago- probably when I was around 15 but I started to take it seriously around 2009.

Your debut picture book Where Bone published by Page Street Kids recently came out. I featured the book this month. Was it always your plan to write and illustrate your own books?

You did indeed, thank you. Yep it would be really amazing if I could make a career writing and illustrating.

Are you open to illustrating a picture book for a publisher?

I am indeed, I would love that, I adore collaborating and I’m about to start working with a very talented writer on another book soon.

Would you be open to illustrating a picture book for a writer who would like to self-publish?

Yes of course- I really admire people who do this- I’m awful at sales and self promotion so anyone who takes that on is incredible in my eyes.

Are there any children’s book publishers in Ireland?

There are indeed, we have a few publishing houses but sadly I’ve not worked with any yet.

Is there any group of illustrators or artist in Dublin where you can interact and network with other artists?

There are indeed, most of my close pals are artists from varying disciplines so that’s great fun my trusted supremeos are writer director Stevie Russell, photographer Neil Smyth, illustrator Shane Cluskey, fashion designer Karen @ Rag Order and multidisciplinary artist Bob Corish.

Have you ever illustrated a book or a cover?

Apart from my own-no not yet but definitely in the market!

 

Do you sell your art in stores in Ireland and LA?

I used to but now it’s all online through my websites.

Do you plan to write and illustrate more picture books?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, please.

Some of the textures in your painting look like they could have been painted, cut-out and added to the painting. Do you ever do that?

Yup, I work mostly in collage, I paint textures/ blobs, scratches, doodles and scan them into photoshop and manipulate them from there.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Being published with Page St is a real dream come true so that’s got to be it. I’m also very proud of a video my husband, my friend and I worked on in lockdown with our daughter for the band Kodaline and Amnesty international called Say Something –

What is your favorite medium to use?

I love the look of watercolor but I’m not very good at it, I’m not delicate enough ! So I like to mix them all together and hope for the best.

Has that changed over time?

Yes, I used to paint on canvas a lot and you could find all sorts mixed in there, I loved tea and wine staining and adding fabric, wire, dog hairs and jam!

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

I would be lost without my waacom tablet but recently I’ve fallen very hard for my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.


Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I work on it everyday – not that it shows! Time is a little more hard to find with a 1 year old so I steal moments when I can.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

Not yet but again very much in the market.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

If I’m painting on canvases I’ll take photos or collect objects but for illustrating it’s more down to Dr Google and Pinterest which are both a god send and a curse- there are so many talented people out there !

Do illustrators in Ireland do school visits?

I’m sure the published author/ illustrators do, but I’m yet to be asked, I would love to do school visits- how fun!

Have you gotten your beautiful daughter interested in art, yet?

Ha-ha not just yet, we’ve given her crayons but she’s not quite sure what’s the point of it all yet! She does love a paintbrush though and is often seen wobbling around with one in her hand.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Definitely, as I said I’m hopeless at self promotion and the hustle, I’m very introverted so it suits me, I can hide behind my screen and hope people come to me- please do xx

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

So many, I have a few loose ideas I’m putting out to the universe and looking for some magic dust to bring them all together.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on private commissions, wedding invites and on a self directed book about the magic of nature.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

The word is long out there- but the procreate app is incredible ! I also love the Pentle Fude brush pens .

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Maybe in a few years! But so far the best advice I’ve come across (but often find it hard to adhere to is) ‘to be yourself everyone else is taken’ and ‘don’t worry, nobody else knows what they’re doing either’!

Thank you, Kitty for answering the interview questions and sharing your expertise with us. Please let me know your future successes so I can share it with everyone.

To see more of Kitty’s work, you can visit her at:

Website: http://www.kittymoss.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kitty-Moss-Illustration-299419670090699/

Wedding Invitations: http://www.tilldawndear.net/

Agency: https://www.martinlit.com/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Quite a variety here. All of it is lovely. Thanks for a pretty post.

    Like

  2. Thanks for sharing so much of your work, Kitty! Such an interesting array. I love your art. 🥰

    Like


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