We speak to Higgledy Ink Illustration's Tamsin McGeown
"I love drawing animals. From a very young age, I was the youngest of five children and had a whole heap of pets around me, I drew all the time.
"My cats and dogs were always the perfect models (as was my Dad), as they (and he) liked to sleep a lot, which made them good to sketch. I particularly love dogs, and have made many a four-legged friends on my travels around the world, notably the scruffs on the beaches of Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Goa who sported many multi-legged friends of their own.
"I’ve now set up my own company, Higgledy Ink illustration, where I get to do what I love most all the time. I work from a home-based studio in the heart of a Wiltshire village, 10 miles outside of the beautiful city of Bath, where I specialise in portraits and illustrations of pets and their humans. Working in this fashion suits me very well, as it gives me the flexibility to split my time between art and raising my two very spirited girls.
"I always had a keen sense of fun and creativity, which I try to ensure come through in my work. After leaving home in Hertfordshire at the age of 19, I studied illustration at Liverpool John Moores University, where I learned to hone my skills across a number of disciplines, but I especially loved pen and ink, which gave me a great sense of freedom to work with. It is this style which I have brought to my pet portraits, but now I mainly work digitally, using a Mac and a Wacom tablet – a skill which I taught myself over the last four years.
"The journey towards setting up my own business took time. I went from university, to working in the creative industries in London, where I spent 10 years as a scriptwriter and a PR. After getting married in 2006, I travelled the world with my new husband, Jay, before uprooting from London, and moving to the West Country in 2007.
"I worked in publishing in Bath for five years, but the creative pull of illustration proved too much. I gave up my job following the birth of my second daughter, bought the Mac and the tablet and set to work building my own business.
"Although I still work freehand and dabble in printmaking and life drawing, digital has proved to be the best format for me to create pictures that my clients love. I like the immediacy of it, and it allows me to tailor a picture exactly to a customer’s taste prior to sign-off. Four years later, I can happily say that I love working this way. I have found my own style and niche.
"When working on my pet portraits I like to discover a bit about each subject's personality and relationship to their owner, as this helps me pull together the perfect portrait – it is important to me that their personality shines through in my own Higgledy Ink way. The foremost thing for me is that the people I work with go away feeling like they have something very special that they can treasure for life. Achieving that is what makes my job so wonderful."
If you’re interested in commissioning your very own Higgledy Ink Portrait - Tamsin accepts commissions small and large, weird and wonderful - plus she loves coming up with ideas, should you want something slightly different. Check out Tamsin’s website for more examples of her work, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, she is always happy to help and to find out more about your lovely dogs.