Sophia Fletcher (ON 2014-2016), recently illustrated a book titled Hector's Wheels. Sophia attended Norwich School in the Sixth Form and is currently studying at Leeds Art University, specialising in printed textiles.
Hector’s Wheels follows a remarkable beagle on his adventures with his brother, Reggie. Hector was born with a disabled front leg and was set to go and live his life in a dogs’ home, until the perfect human family and a very special American wheelchair came along. Hector’s Wheels is set in Norwich and written by Author Victoria Haddon, a Norwich School parent.
Read on to find out about Sophia's influences and her advice for budding creatives!
Would you call yourself an illustrator? If not, what would you call yourself?
Yes and no. Yes, because my work in Hector’s Wheels was my first commission and I would love to do more illustration, but also no, because I would classify myself first and foremost as a printed textiles designer (which is my specialism at university).
What made you want to become an illustrator and artist?
I've always loved art and have been interested in fashion for as long as I can remember. I was really lucky when I joined Norwich School in the sixth form as I was awarded the Art Scholarship. I was able to study three creative subjects at AS (Art, Photography and History of Art and English) so I was able to immerse myself. I chose my degree at Leeds Arts University because it gave me the opportunity to use my artistic talents and develop new skills, with the aim of working in the fashion industry, but also to do something I really enjoy.
What influenced you whilst you were at Norwich School?
At school I was always really encouraged and pushed by the team in the Art Department (particularly Mr Passam and Mrs Slade) which really helped my creativity grow. I was also influenced by my peers, as well as by our school trips, to Copenhagen and London, as well as the opportunities I had to visit galleries and exhibitions with my family.
Which of your projects, apart from ‘Hector’s Wheels’, are you most proud of and why?
I would have to say I am most proud of my latest project, my dissertation and associated creative pieces. I explored the relationship and synergies between Haute Couture and mainstream fashion and whether couture techniques can be made accessible for a mainstream market. As a creative I really struggle with writing essays, but I am proud of my research and written piece. I produced a large body of printed patterns to go along side it, which show my developing signature as a textiles designer.
Which mediums do you usually work with?
I love water colours, which I used to illustrate Hector's Wheels, but more recently I have explored a lot with digital work on Photoshop. This was another really good skill I was able to develop at Norwich School.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
At the moment I really love taking ideas from the everyday mundane and making them exciting or extraordinary, but I also enjoy following fashion designers and other creatives on social media – particularly Instagram. I also enjoy visiting exhibitions, I am particularly looking forward to the Dior exhibition that is about to open at the V & A. In the summer I interned for two months with designer Ashley Williams, which gave me a hands-on insight into developing ideas for production. I also got the opportunity to be back stage at William's London Fashion Week show, helping dress the models, which was amazing!
How did you get the opportunity to work on Hector’s Wheels?
I am really lucky because one of my best friends from my time at Norwich School is Victoria's daughter Ellie and I already knew their wonderful dogs Reggie and Hector. I was so happy to spend more time with them when Victoria asked me if I would help illustrate her wonderful stories about them and their escapades. I really loved doing something different, even though it was a little out of my comfort zone.
What advice would you give to any Norwich School pupils hoping to be an illustrator in the future?
I would probably give you all the clichés, like try your best and say yes to any opportunities that come your way, but most of all work hard and be prepared to work long hours, being a creative isn’t the easy option!
Victoria Haddon visited Norwich Lower School in January, click here to see all about her visit.