Author: Kerry Date Posted:15 April 2019
Meet the Maker: Bethany White of toadstoolcheeks
I first stumbled across Beth’s gorgeous instagram last year when she was doing Inktober and had put together the cutest murder mystery characters that you ever did see. I immediately started following her and sending all my praises on her amazing style, flawless colour choices and just general cuteness. I asked Beth if she’d ever consider doing a collaboration with pur tiny australian fashion label and she said she’s always wanted to design fabric for clothing. After much bonding about the love for our pets and Panic at the disco - a dream friendship and collaboration was born. We sat down and chatted with the incredible woman behind toadstoolcheeks(or typed because Beth and I live a world apart *cry*). We touch on everything that makes Beth’s illustrations so unique, quirky and the most perfect first artist collaboration that grump could have ever asked for.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Hi! My name is Bethany and I’m a 25 year old freelance illustrator living on the Isle of Man, which is a magical little island perched between England and Ireland, surrounded by the irish sea.
How did you get started? Have you had formal training?
I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful family, who have encouraged me from day one to be whatever I want to be and do whatever makes me happy. My Nana passed on her artistic genes to Mum and I, I have really fond memories of painting with both of them from when I was around two or three years old, claiming the swirls of colours on the page were actually storms and tornadoes.
I also had some really wonderful art teachers in high school, studied art and design in college with some amazing tutors. (Ian who taught fine art and Billie who taught fashion were really, really encouraging towards what I did and where I wanted to go.)
And from college, I went to University in Falmouth, Cornwall in England to study illustration, which was an amazing experience and where I met some of my best friends. It was a beautiful little seaside town and felt like a home away from home, despite the 12 hour journeys back to the Isle of Man on countless trains and the rockiest boat you can imagine.
I’d do it all again if I could!
Where does the name ‘toadstoolcheeks’ come from?
I’ve used the name ‘toadstoolcheeks’ since my first year at University, when I first started posting online. I think it was on tumblr that I first posted, and I received my first message of support from someone who wasn’t friends or family. It said “I’m a big fan your artwork, I really love the toadstool cheeks!” because I went through a little phase of painting big rosy cheeks with white dots on them. I thought it sounded really cute and started an instagram page under that name and it’s gone from there.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I like all my characters to look like they come from another world. I’d like to think my style is ever-changing and improving, yet still keeps that magical sort of look to it.
What mediums do you use/what tools do you use?
I’ve recently gotten procreate and an apple pencil and haven’t looked back since! I used to hand-draw all my illustrations, first in pencil, then traced on a light box in black fineliner, scan them in and finish up on Photoshop. I still want to keep painting because I recently sold an original watercolour, and I have SO much fun doing those but was scared to try and sell them because obviously they’re pricier.
What inspires you?
So many things! I live in a very beautiful place that’s also brimming with folklore, so as someone who enjoys storytelling, that’s something I find very inspiring. But also there are so many other artists that I adore and I’m a giant music geek, so I find inspiration in things like that, also. Aaaand, I probably own more Children’s books than adult ones as well as binging TV shows like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Bee and Puppycat, Over the Garden Wall whilst working.
What does your workspace look like?
My desk is in my bedroom, which I hope to change once I have more space, but it’s got the window to the left hand side and directly in front of it is an inspiration wall, covered in prints and originals I’ve bought from other creatives that I love.
What is your fave part about being an illustrator?
It feels like there’s so many parts! One of the things would have to be the freedom. I love having my own work space and my own schedule and being freelance means I could take my career in so many different directions. I think it’s difficult sometimes when the thing you love the most is also your job, because it’s no longer a way of relaxing or therapeutic, but it’s also really fun when you have projects you’re really excited about.
What do you do when you’re not creating?
Since quitting my part time job, I’m almost always creating! I work from 9am to 6 or 7pm, walking my dog on my lunch break and then have dinner and catch up on Netflix or Youtube. I work my days off around when my friends and family are free and go swimming with my Dad on one day of the weekend.
Have you always wanted to turn your illustrations into clothing?
Always! It’s definitely a dream come true. I was very picky in choosing who I wanted to work with though as I always want to find the right fit. As soon as Kerry at grump messaged me asking for an adorable family portrait, I looked at her instagram and was blown away by both her quirky, adorable designs and the positive message behind the brand, encouraging self love. I jumped at the opportunity and asked to work with her and here we are!
What do you like about grump?
I love that the clothes are not only so CUTE, but anyone can wear them! As soon as I saw grump was size inclusive, I was over the moon and desperate to work with such a fabulous company. Also, Kerry is honestly now one of my closest friends, even though we live on opposite ends of the world! She’s so supportive, kind and hard-working.
What’s your dream project?
A children’s book would be a dream come true. I love to write as well as illustrate, it’s my other big passion and I have so many ideas about what I’d like to publish. I’d also looooove to have a cover and spread in a beautiful magazine that I love such as Frankie, Flow, Oh Comely… etc.
Any advice you’d give to your younger self/other creatives looking to get started?
Don’t be scared that you’re not good enough. Create as much as possible and put things out regularly and in time as you improve, so will your feedback and opportunities. As long as you love what you do, you can do it!
We have loved working with toadstoolcheeks for our first artist collaboration and these amazing fabric prints will be available exclusively to grump for a limited time ONLY. So get yours now - while you still can. And keep an eye out for more grump x toadstoolcheeks collaborations in the future.
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