When it comes to imagery with a quirky Victorian vibe, Emily Woodard is the go-to illustrator. She loves sepia tones and vintage paper textures, and is inspired by the poetry of Edward Gorey, and the great Victorian illustrators Sir John Tenniel and Arthur Rackham.
Brought up in Cornwall, Emily now lives in London. Her mother was an artist, so she had a head start in creativity. She’s fascinated by the history of London, believes in ghosts, and claims to be a direct descendent of Henry V. Another of her talents is horseback riding, which she’s been doing since the age of four.
One of Emily’s dream projects was to provide artwork and costume designs for the Opera San Antonio’s production of Fantastic Mr Fox, based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl. She not only worked with the project’s artistic director Tobias Picker, but also conferred with Roald Dahl’s widow, Liccy. Having grown up reading the author’s work, it’s a project she loved working on from start to finish, and the show has been touring the United States.
Emily has a BA in Illustration from the London College of Communication.
Drawing straight onto vintage paper can be tricky – it’s so soft it often clogs up pen nibs. So today Emily uses coloured papers. She works with ink, watercolour, acrylics and gouache and doesn’t like to stick to any one media. She’ll often use a bit of gold or silver leaf to add a bit of depth to a composition.
Her style harks back to Victorian and Edwardian illustration, with anthropomorphic scenes in which richly detailed animal characters take on human roles. Sometimes these creatures have a fantasy or fairytale element to them.