Hello I’m Kirsty (Victoria) McGill an artist, illustrator and designer based in the UK.
I have 8 years experience working for a variety of brands working in-house, agency and freelance, which has allowed me to hone my design skills and refine my process to achieve the clients desired results.
The creative process is mesmerising to me, that moment when some pencil marks start to form a face, some brush strokes create that magical depth or the design concept comes together.
I’m inspired and influenced by fashion, beauty, self expression, sub culture, feminism, animals, magazine editorials and design.
From being a young, shy child to now a sometimes still shy adult, creativity for me is self expression, but more importantly connection and communication.
The Full Story
Some of my earliest creative memories involve my grandad, a keen amateur painter, teaching me how to draw a cartoon clown with a clever sequence of lines and shapes.
I’ve always been creative my parents have told me they were once called in to see my teachers when I was quite young and shown a drawing I had done that was apparently a really good copy of an illustration from Roald Dahls the witches!
I also remember my first commission, I was probably about 10 or 11 and my teacher paid me £1 to draw a floral card for another teacher.
A bit later in senior school my IT class had a project to create a CD cover, I believe I made a design with flames for ‘hot hits’ (how clever), I think perhaps this then put me on to the path of being a graphic designer.
Through the final years of school to college, university and employment I have pursued working in the creative industry working for some high-profile clients as a designer along the way.
Graduating from a Graphic Design degree in 2010 I have built up a broad experience in print and digital design, for a wide variety of companies and clients of different sizes including some high-profile companies.
For about 6 years I focussed my creativity on design employment during which times I was only occasionally picking up a pencil before giving up telling myself I wasn’t good enough so why bother. But creating art continued calling to me, despite me pushing down that desire. So I had to start creating art regularly again.
Whilst I enjoy design there is something special about creating art, because it is so tangible compared to designing on a computer, whether it is the feel of soft pencil marks on paper or luxurious thick strokes of oil paint. It is a much needed quiet practice where I can recharge from the day and get into the flow of creation, it’s almost meditative.
In personal work there is also the freedom to depict what I want without client constraints, to be playful or try to express something.
Art Process & Themes
In my artwork I primarily use pencil to create realistic drawings in a delicate, illustrative style often then working with watercolour, pencils and sometimes digitally to add colour.
When I have more time I enjoy using oil paints and the layering technique that it takes to help shape and bring depth to the piece.
Predominantly I focus on portraiture and figurative art with themes of fashion, beauty and nature. I have always been fascinated by how people choose to present and express themselves so in choosing photo references I often look for something that captivates me in their expressions or style.
I reflect a lot on topics of feminism, equality, beauty standards, gender stereotypes and also how I fit into this world. So in my portraits of women I think that perhaps I am exploring what it means to be female and also aim for my art to connect with other women.