an internship with Lisa Stickley-Levis

guest post by Meg Fussell

MEG FUSSELL

MEG FUSSELL

UPPERCASE readers will recognize the Fussell last name… I am pleased to welcome Tif Fussell (aka Dottie Angel)'s eldest daughter Meg Fussell as a guest on our blog today. Meg is studying in the UK and over the summer she had the opportunity to intern for Lisa Stickley-Levis.

Lisa is probably best known by her maiden and business name Lisa Stickley. Unfortunately, Lisa had to step away from the brand that she founded and has started fresh with numerous projects. Just launched is Betty & Walter, a vintage-inspired line of cosmetics available through Boots in the UK. 

Meg shares her internship experience with us, along with some images of Lisa's inspirations.

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During my internship I’ve hunted for luggage tags, lottery tickets, balloons and miso soup near London Bridge where her new studio lies. When I’m not running errands for lunch, I spend time tip-tapping away on the computer, helping with techy-stuff and blogs, in her beautifully decorated studio.

Some inspiring packages in Lisa's studio.

Some inspiring packages in Lisa's studio.

Lisa’s studio is full of old teapots, jars stuffed with plastic flowers leftover from her wedding day, and drawers full of odds and ends. Boxes full of treasures tower up to the ceiling, resting against the walls around her desk that are covered in recent designs. It’s rummaging paradise. 

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She starts work on an idea by painting, drawing and collecting to create mood boards. Once Lisa’s found a creative direction, she narrows down her vision and consolidates her collection into display books and sketch books. Full to the brim with magazine cut outs, these sketch books give insight into what Lisa finds inspirational, which is mainly her interpretations of the 1930’s to 1950’s. Throughout these books you find little quirky doodles and photographs that Lisa added. When you spot them, you can’t mistake her whimsical and playful style!

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As a creative person, I am always struggling with the dreaded ‘creative rut’. One thing that fascinated me about Lisa was her endless creative steam, so I asked her how she kept it up. She said that her foolproof way to get out of a creative rut was to sew lines repetitively onto a piece of fabric, essentially freeing up her mind.  I reminded myself to give this a go next time I’m stuck for ideas.

Illustrations by Lisa Stickley-Levis showing some of the pattern designs used on the new line of cosmetics packaging.

Illustrations by Lisa Stickley-Levis showing some of the pattern designs used on the new line of cosmetics packaging.

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Lisa has never-ending enthusiasm and an impeccable amount of courage. Not many people could pick themselves up and dust themselves off after deciding to resign from being the creative director of Lisa Stickley London. She is coming back with full force with a new toiletries brand, Betty & Walter, launching in Boots stores in the U.K. mid September. It’s a quirky collection of 1950s-inspired toiletries with alliterated names like ‘Handsomely Hydrating Handcream’. When the samples arrived I had to stop myself from testing all the lotions and potions right there in the studio!

Sadly, the summer went by far too quickly and it’s back to Cardiff to finish my illustration degree. However, I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to work under such an influential designer. Look for Lisa’s new brand at www.bettyandwalter.wordpress.com.

Ben the Illustrator

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The Ben the Illustrator Collection includes fabrics, lampshades and pillows created by Ben and Fiona O’Brien. Ben (aka Ben the Illustrator) creates the fun artwork and his partner Fiona does the product design. These days, it is very common for illustrators to have such side businesses such as selling prints and products to supplement their freelance careers. For some, these self-initiated products overtake a freelance career and the illustrator becomes his or her own brand.

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Ben has some engaging articles posted on his website. "I Don't Recommend Becoming A Freelance Illustrator or 'How to become a freelance illustrator right now'" in particular alludes to the adversities faced by illustrators:

 1 - It doesn’t pay straight away, no matter how amazing you are, it can take months, or years, before you get enough regular commissions to make a living. And even once you’re established and well-experienced, you’ll still go through dry patches. Then even when you get your first commission, there’s a chance you won’t see the payment for a month or three!
 2 - We all lied to you, I’m so sorry, we all lied, we made it look so easy. Magazines, blogs, professionals, we all went on Twitter and did some interviews and just talked about how much of a blast it is, how easy it is, how busy and rich and satisfied we are. But that was a lie, I’m sorry. Just because someone is appearing to be super busy and showing some amazing projects, it doesn’t mean all is well behind the scenes, it doesn’t even mean they’re paying their rent. 

Read the full article here. >>>

Purchase some pillowy illustrations here. >>>

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maison alice: art for your home

Jeff Rogers (Profiled in issue #10 of UPPERCASE magazine.)

Jeff Rogers (Profiled in issue #10 of UPPERCASE magazine.)

Anne Smith (Anne illustrated the pigeon on the cover of issue #12.)

Anne Smith (Anne illustrated the pigeon on the cover of issue #12.)

Petra Börner

Petra Börner

Alice Hoffmann

Alice Hoffmann

Alice Hoffmann is a German art director and graphic designer living in Zurich, Switzerland. She recently launched a new venture, an online poster store called Maison Alice. Curating a small selection a few times a year, the posters are by contemporary illustrators and designers with a nod to the heyday of vintage advertising posters.

"Quite recently I discovered my passion for illustration," shares Alice in her subscriber profile featured in issue #15 (October). "All day long I am searching for cool illustrations: old or new, coloured or black and white, 3D or linedrawed, on paper or on textile, in advertising or on bookcovers, on packaging or on the street, for children or adults, from China or from TImbuktu. Doesn't matter. Through all theses different styles and influences I get my everyday inspiration."

Art by Alice Hoffmann, founder of Maison Alice. (Read Alice's subscriber profile in the forthcoming issue of UPPERCASE magazine.)

Art by Alice Hoffmann, founder of Maison Alice. (Read Alice's subscriber profile in the forthcoming issue of UPPERCASE magazine.)

"At Maison Alice, we are passionate about beautiful art created by illustrators, graphic designers and typographers—and we think that their works should be part of stylish apartments. This is why we set up an online store where we sell art prints. The prints are all produced in limited editions, as we truly believe that quality should be more important than quantity. Maison Alice is positioned between the high-priced art market and the low-priced poster galleries and we collaborate with selected artists from places such as New York, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Japan and Switzerland.

We print our collections using offset and silk-screen printing processes and high-quality paper. We also collaborate with long-standing printing shops in Germany and Switzerland, who turned their craft into art."

Sawdust (Participants in the upcoming Beautiful Bitmaps feature in issue #15.)

Sawdust (Participants in the upcoming Beautiful Bitmaps feature in issue #15.)