L: Illustrator Leila Rudge in her home studio. R: Leila’s drawing desk with materials and references at the ready. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
Leila Rudge. What a star. She emailed me a couple of weeks back to introduce herself and because I instantly fell in love with her illustrations (be sure to check out her blog, link at the end of this post) and the lady herself after reading this ‘interview’ I hoped she’d take part in a TNF Q&A. Not only did she turn around the Q&A in a matter of days, she had no qualms with my request to visit her studio to see where the magic happens. Model interviewee!
As you may have noticed I have been trying really hard this year to include original photos for posts on The Novocastrian Files to sit alongside participant’s Q&As. It’s a lot more work, but I think that it’s worth it. Especially on occasions such as when I headed over to Leila’s apartment in Hamilton that she shares with partner Trystan Eeles (who is playing a gig with his band The Buzzard Mix at The Terrace Bar, 529 Hunter St, Newcastle West, this Friday evening).
Here I was thinking I was going to be taking a pic or two of Leila in her home studio. What I hadn’t counted on was the most adorable apartment I had clapped eyes on in a long, long time. From the moment I arrived at the front door, painted entirely in green chalkboard paint with an elaborate door-knocker expertly drawn in chalk for decoration, I knew there was more magic behind that door than I had at first supposed…
L: Who doesn’t love a purpose painted calendar on their office door? R: The cosy reading nook in the studio. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
I completed an Illustration degree at Bath Spa University, and then jumped on a plane to Australia. Hello sunshine!
In 2009, I illustrated my first children’s book Duck for a Day, which was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Award – Younger Reader’s category. No Bears, my second collaboration with Meg McKinlay also popped up on the shortlist in the Picture Book of the Year and Early Childhood categories of the 2012 CBCA awards. The sequel to Duck for a Day, Definitely No Ducks was released in early this year alongside Ted, my first solo project.
What has been your most memorable project?
Definitely Ted. I get a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing him hanging out in bookshops.
L: Studio details R: Leila gets busy on character studies for a new book. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
What would be your dream project?
Something to do with illustration and food. And travel. Perhaps a travelling food journal? Hmmm… Back to the drawing board.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Turning my picture book obsession into an occupation.
What is your most treasured possession?
A big box of support from friends and family…
Leila works on character studies for her next book. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Lots of drawing. And tea. And emails. My studio is freezing so keeping warm is usually high on my agenda. (Ed’s note: I loved that Leila is wearing Ugg’s in her portrait!)
What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?
Sometimes it’s best to stop worrying and start working.
Where do you derive creative inspiration?
It seems to pop up in all shapes and sizes. Newspaper clippings, old raffle tickets, overheard conversations and brown paper bags.
Lounge room details. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?
Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?
Sketching ticks all those boxes but other fun things include morning yoga and afternoon walks. All things foodie. Drinking tea and curling up with Grand Designs…
Entry to Leila’s apartment with an alcove that doubles as pantry. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
How long have you been a Novocastrian?
Five years and one month…
Newcastle in a word?
Goldilocks “Just right.”
What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?
The empty spaces…
How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?
It’s exciting to watch a city take shape… Newcastle has only just begun.
The kitchen has been recently renovated to include cement counter-tops and Ikea cabinets. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:
Subo (551D Hunter St, Newcastle) is super special.
Caffestry (143 Pacific St, Newcastle) has an amazing assortment of teas.
MacLeans Booksellers (69 Beaumont St, Hamilton) is my happy place.
Merewether Baths (Henderson Pde, Merewether) are perfect for a dip.
Lauren Ozard (165 Darby St, Cooks Hill) is a massage magician.
What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?
This week – A spot in the garden at Goodness Me Organics (617 Glebe Rd, Adamstown). Next week? Who knows…
Leila and Trystan’s bedroom. Photos – Siobhan Curran.
L: The bright bathroom recently renovated with butcher and pennyroyal tiles. R: An exit with a handcrafted message. Photos – Siobhan Curran.