Alyson Pearson (aka Alykat Creative) is an Australian freelance illustrator & graphic designer based in London who has recently added an impressive new title to her resume; teacher at the progressive design school, Shillington College.
Major life decisions often coincide with milestone birthdays. This was certainly the case when Alyson Pearson, just shy of her 30th birthday, decided to pack up her life in Melbourne and make good on a promise she had made to herself years earlier... to live in the UK for a while. Armed with just an Ancestry Visa, she quit her job, said goodbye to her family and set off for the bright lights of London. One year on and she has not only found her own creative feet but is also helping others find theirs by teaching her craft to the next generation of graphic designers at Shillington College in East London.
Why did you become an illustrator/graphic designer?
I have always been a little left of centre, and Visual Arts was my favourite and highest achieving class in high school, so when Graphic Design was introduced to me as a career option it sounded like something I would enjoy.
Describe your work in three words.
Whimsical, quirky, and magical.
What does your creative process look like?
A lot of researching of images, drawing with pen over a light-box, playing with watercolours, scanning, Photoshopping... oh and a heavy dose of procrastination!
What part does colour play in your work?
I seem to subconsciously find myself using a lot of pinks and typically ‘girlie’ colours. That’s not actually my personal colour preference, so I’m not sure why it comes out when I'm creating my work. I started out using quite subtle tones and have gradually gotten brighter and louder. Maybe I’m getting more confident as I progress?!
What are you currently interested in and how is it feeding into your work?
I’m fascinated by outer space, and wanted to combine my interest of stars and the galaxy with my love of animals, so I recently set out to create the Stardust series which encapsulates just that.
You're originally from Australia but now live in London - how do you think your change in surroundings & community have affected your work?
I don’t know if the move affected my subject matter or style, but it certainly affected my mojo! It was such an ordeal to move to the other side of the world on my own, and even when I found a job and a flat, I wasn’t set up with any equipment and didn’t know where to begin. I avoided any new work for quite a while – about a year actually – until I had to literally force myself to just draw something. As soon as I was able to see something I liked, the ideas started flowing and I was excited to create some new work. Really excited!
you have just started teaching - why do you think it is important to study art?
For me, I found it hard to enjoy a 9-5 job if I wasn’t being creative. To learn the importance of design elements such as balance and contrast is not only vital for good graphic design, but when combined with art or illustration, it also helps your overall work make sense.
What are you passionate about besides your work?
Other people’s work! I think that’s another reason why I’m so excited to be teaching. I get so inspired by other people and their passion to create, that it ignites my own.
I’m also pretty passionate about good coffee! Seriously. I’ve even been writing reviews on my phone since moving to London in the search for amazing “Melbourne-esque” soy lattes with the idea of starting my own blog… if I could just find an extra day in the week it might even happen!
What does success look like to you?
Success is being happy with your day-to-day, whether you work for yourself or with amazing people, and having enough money in the bank to travel the world.
Which women do you admire and why?
I adore Laura Blythman's work and am in awe of how she is able to juggle the demands of being a single mum with running her own amazing business. All while still managing to find the time to create gorgeous, happy work! She is inspiring.
I also really admire Courtney Elise Hall-Eastey, the owner of Melbourne boutique store, The Design Court. I met Courtney when she used to work nights at a Melbourne bar and she’d run her little boutique gift shop during the day. She approached me when I had some work on display at the bar to see if I’d be interested in selling at her shop. I still sell through her shop years later because of how well she treats her artists and makers. I've always admired (and slightly envied) her for having the guts to open her store at just 25.
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'The Galaxy Lioness' Print
'Playing with Stardust' Print
'Donkey on a Journey' Print