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Introducing Noelle Smith

When did your passion for artistic illustration begin?

It all comes back to when I was a child and dreamt of being an artist. I loved drawing, and was particularly enamoured with drawing portraits and flora and fauna. But even though drawing remained a hobby it got to a point where I felt stuck, and struggled to find my niche in the art world, and to find that thing that gets your heart racing. I kind of gave up. It was only last year, being inspired by my daughters love for drawing that I started to go for it again. In my desire to add text to my drawings I discovered the art of hand lettering and calligraphy. The beauty and structure   of Copperplate calligraphy got me, I found that thing that got me giddy every time I put pen to paper. The use of the pointed pen soon became a favourite tool for drawing. So the journey began, and it’s oh so exciting.

Would you define yourself more as a calligrapher or an illustrator?

That’s a hard one, I think ultimately I see myself as an artist. Sometimes I draw to illustrate the text, and sometimes I choose the text to add more expression to the illustration. Calligraphy is an incredible skill and I admire those who have mastered it. It’s definitely on my radar to develop further in calligraphy, and study that further. I can see it perhaps becoming the more dominant.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

Growing up in New Zealand the outdoors becomes a big part of life. My love for nature has developed from there and is a big inspiration in my work. There is just so much beauty in the subtle curves in a leaf, the shadows created by a cluster of petals. Scripture is another big inspiration, the many words in the Bible offering hope, love and freedom. Words that touch your heart, you can’t help but share. Along with the above I’m inspired by quotes, poetry and art itself.

You have a young child, does she take an interest in your work?

Yes, she does. My daughter is two years old, and has a love for drawing. So I have to be very careful not to leave my pens and nibs around, otherwise she makes a bee line for them. When she is a bit older I would love   to teach her hand lettering or calligraphy if she is keen to learn. But for now she is really enjoying drawing and colouring in.

What are your favourite tools to use?

My go to nib is Leonardt Principal EF. It produces beautiful hairlines, I’m all about the hairlines. If I’m working on very textured paper like Khadi paper then Leonardt crown nib is fantastic and runs very smoothly. For   drawings, again, I prefer ones that create very fine lines. Mapping nibs are brilliant and have great flexibility. I love playing around with different drawing nibs to create something unique.

What would your advice be to people new to the art of calligraphy?

Don’t give up! It may feel tedious doing all the drills and writing a whole page of one stroke. But all of this is the foundation work that will make you a master. Enjoy   it, have fun, experiment and connect with other calligraphers. But most of all don’t give up.

Check out Noelle’s Instagram for more stunning work.