The first thing that clear when scrolling through Billie Francis’ illustrations is her undeniable love of texture. “I love to throw shapes around whilst working with lots of texture,” she writes on her website. Using texture also adds to a more tangible quality to her work.
“I love everything tactile so for me, texture just creates this depth and interest to an image,” Francis went on to explain in an interview with Ohh Deer. “Since when I was teeny tiny, reading the Hungry Caterpillar I always remember being engrossed in the beautiful illustrations not realizing my love for texture.”
But though she was drawn to art from a very young age, she describes her illustration studies in somewhat bleaker terms. “For me, my studies were a love-hate relationship,” she admits. “I found the education aspect so fabulous and without studying illustration I don’t think my practice would be the same as it is today. Saying that at the time, there were a few stages during my education where I really struggled.”
Like a lot of young creatives, she found herself struggling with self-doubt. “Being in a small class and surrounded by fabulous work did affect me, mentally,” she recalled. “There was a huge amount of self-doubt I had as an Illustrator and didn’t think I was good enough to later on have a job in the creative sector.” But, of course, we wouldn’t be mentioning her now if she hadn’t managed to push through. Her candidness also adds to her delightful artwork: