Behind the Paint Pot: Jessica Smith Illustration

Behind the Paint Pot: Jessica Smith Illustration

As a freelance illustrator and lover of colour, Jessica is known for creating playful, bold and colourful art that has been featured in a wide range of projects, from packaging and advertising to children's books. Her impressive list of clients includes Adobe, Kate Spade, Oxfam, Slimming World, Canva, and many more.

If you're interested in getting a one-of-a-kind hand-painted notebook design, we encourage you to stop by our Chelsea store on the event day. You can find out more about the event and register here. Jess will be painting a mural on our Chelsea shop window at the start of Chelsea Flower Show for you to come and see too.

We sat down with Jess and asked her a few questions about her artistic journey, process, and inspiration, as if we weren't excited enough.

Jessica Smith Illustrator

First off, everything starts with inspiration. Where do you draw yours from when starting a new project?

Most of my inspiration come from the things around me, plants, people, landscapes and everyday objects. I also follow some amazing artists on Instagram who are a massive inspiration to me too,

Did you study illustration or was it an accidental path?

I studied illustration at Falmouth University. I got to spend 3 years by the sea and it hugely influenced my work. I have always been ‘arty’, ever since I was little, but I don’t think I realised I could actually make a living from it until after I graduated and my agency approached me.

How do you approach colour selection in your artwork?

I just love colour and I feel like it’s something that is just really intuitive to me. Colours that pop and have good contrast with each other are the ones that I’m drawn to the most. I love a good pink and red combo at the moment!

What materials do you use for your art? Is there anything you couldn’t live without?

I use gouache and digital mediums the most! I couldn’t live without my iPad and Procreate or my favourite holbein acryla gouache paints!

So you work with both. Do you prefer digital or traditional artistic practices?

For me, there is nothing like painting with real paint on real paper. Obviously digital mediums are amazing for client work for me. But I love painting and will do it whenever I get a chance!

How important is doodling and sketching out your plans before you start your final artwork?

I can take it or leave it if I’m honest. Sometimes I like to plan, if I'm not feeling too confident with layout or subject, but other times I like to just go straight in and not plan too much! Sketchbooking, however, is a vital part of my practice. I love how free you can be and it’s just a place to have fun and try new things.

What’s your favourite part of your creative process? Do you enjoy the mark making, the colour, the subjects or anything else?

Jess: Colour is my favourite. I love building fun colour palettes and choosing colours that work well together.

What’s your advice for aspiring illustrators trying to make it in the industry?

I think it’s so hard to advise how sharing online has changed and Instagram has become so hard to navigate, but saying that, I do think it’s so important to get your work out there and seen! So just start posting, don’t worry about likes because you never know who might see your work.

Talk about the designs and colours that will you be doing on the 24th? We can’t wait to have our notebooks customised in store.

Jess: For this event, I’ll be painting designs on the Papersmiths notebooks to celebrate ‘Chelsea in Bloom’. There will be lots of florals and plants in various colours!


We can't wait to see Jessica's beautiful illustrations on our Papersmiths notebooks and hope you'll join us for this event.

Pick up a notebook here ready to be painted, or buy one in store on the day.

Jessica Smith Illustration

Follow Jessica on Instagram here.

Visit Jessica's website here.

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