Fiona Pattison's picture

MEET: Illustrator Lucy Gell

Today we meet Derbyshire based illustrator, Lucy Gell who gains inspiration from her animals and walking in the local park. Character is what drives this illustrator to distraction, taking in all there is to be seen and capturing it in her drawings and etchings. 

Lucy Gell

What is your background and where did you study? 

I studied Illustration and Graphic design at Staffordshire University and then pursued a career in puppet animation. I started in the industry working as a puppet maker for Mackinnon and Saunders. During that time I made the foam latex for the Martians in the Tim Burton film Mars Attacks.

At the end of 1997 I was selected to train as a puppet animator for Cosgrove Hall Films in Manchester. I animated on television programmes such as Postman Pat, Andy Pandy and Bob the Builder.

I have recently gone back to animating part time and have been working for Factory TM based in Altrincham on the remake of the Clangers, which will be televised Autumn 2015.

What and who are your inspirations?

I am inspired by many people and things in my life, from the Geoffrey Key paintings that my mother owns to the Richard Scary books I read as I child. I was set to have a career as an animator from a very young age and I have been very fortunate to experience that. The animated children's programmes I watched as a child have had a lasting effect on me and how I approach the work I do now, from the Magic Roundabout to Rhubarb and Custard. I love to make people smile and that's what I strive to illustrate in my work with the subtleties of expression and character like the children's illustrator Quentin Blake and very favourite Richard Scary.

I love the simplicity of the drawn line from the printmaker Anita Klein to the drawings and paintings of Picasso.

Where do you get your ideas for your characters? Do you have a favourite?

My characters come from life. I grew up surrounded by animals, I love animals. Everyone is different with their own individual personality.

I try capture these in my work. I started producing etchings of my cat Mojo and that's when my love of print making began.

I have many favourite images and usually they are the most popular with the people that buy them. I see my work as a continuation of life in the animals we own, pets give us joy in our lives and anyone that has a much loved pet can relate to the images I produce.

Would you like to write stories or animate your illustrations?

I would love to write and illustrate children's books and I have some ideas in the pipeline, and to animate them at some point would be very exciting.

Describe your process?

I use various print making techniques such as etching, dry point etching and screen printing. The etching gives a texture to the image while the screen print retain a graphic quality with strong eye catching colour.

What are you showing at The Art Market this November? And why is it important to do shows like this? 

I will be showing new etchings and other branded products. Creating new work is part of the process of exhibiting each time. I always like to bring something new to The Art Market as there is always a high standard of work on show, so I like to do my part. 

Exhibiting at The Art Market and other shows is a very important part of being creative. I love to see the instant response to my work and meet potential new buyers, and of course existing customers that return to purchase again.

The Art Market have really pushed me to consider how I promote and display my stand at shows and as an artist which is very important to me.   

Who do you follow or look too?

I admire people that care and work hard to achieve their creative need. I have met many designer makers while doing various shows across the country. It is always so lovely to see everyone each time there is a show. Social media is brilliant for allowing the constant contact we need as many of us work alone in our studio's.

What is next for your company?

I have been updating my website and now every item I produce is available to buy online at

What new pieces have you got? 

I have been producing new dry point etchings that will be available at The Art Market this November, as well as Christmas cards of some of my most popular images. I also have new three dimensional birds available with Christmas in mind.

Follow all of Lucy Gell's events and happenings here