Guest blogger Clare Mackie tells us about life as an illustrator.

clare_mackie_illustratorQuick update: this is a picture of me working at home on an illustration for Country Life, whose commissions I love. They employ different writers for their 'My Week' column, and it's my job to realise a scene or a quirky image that springs to mind from their copy. It's always engaging as there's a mix of writing styles, subject matter, and seasons, but as I enjoy painting animals best (and they're mostly what's required!), it's a very happy collaboration indeed.

I'm often asked what paper and materials I use. My studio is well stocked with acid-free watercolour paper and good quality watercolours (so important, as the student ones don't seem to be so clear and beautiful to paint with). As I occasionally use dip pen and ink there are bottles of ink in the drawer and a small metal box of nibs.

As for the technicalities, I scan the finished artwork at 300dpi and tweak it a bit if necessary in Photoshop. I'll also give it a code and save it into a folder on my Mac desktop. I now always send illustrations to clients digitally with one exception as they prefer it that way and always do a beautiful job... therefore well forgiven.

Best wishes, Clare