I started following @sealegscartoon on Instagram before Christmas and admired the fun surfboard cartoons, they can’t fail to make you smile and think of catching fun waves in the sunshine. So, I invited the artist behind the cartoons, Claire Williamson, to appear on Country Bumpkin Chic.
Hi! My name’s Claire Williamson and I’m the illustrator/cartoonist behind the surf cartoon Sea Legs Cartoon.
Hi Claire & welcome to Country Bumpkin Chic. Where in the world are you based?
I’m lucky enough to spend my time between charming Vienna, Austria and beautiful Dunsborough, Australia.
Oh wow, that sounds idyllic, so how did you get into sketching cartoons?
By total accident 😀 Although I’m always constantly drawing/painting/doodling/etc. I never had any intention of committing myself to a cartoon or even a specific drawing style. It was all just play. I drew and doodled Fin and his pals for yeeeears, before having the courage to show people outside my family. My family loved them! My friends loved them! But for some reason (hello shyness!), I never put much thought into sharing them publicly until I started playing around with Instagram a few years ago. I had random blogs and accounts, and one day I thought… What if I share these cartoons I draw?
And they’re fab designs, tell us a bit more about the story behind Fin.
Fin and his friends were born the day I saw Thomas Campbell’s movie ‘The Seedling’. In one scene, the camera follows a surfer walking with his board under his arm and, to me, the shadows that were created look like the surfboard had legs and was walking itself. My brain found that amusing and I immediately started drawing surfboards with legs. Fin became a fish pretty quickly as those are my favourite boards.
So, are you a surfer or super? And where are your favourite spots?
I SUP whenever I get the chance…so Spring/Summer here in Vienna, along the Danube River. As far as surfing goes, I am a total beginner 😀 I grew up in a very beach/surfing oriented family, but as a kid, I was much more interested in art than sports, so I never progressed. As an adult, I learn more whenever I get the chance, but as I live in a landlocked city most of the time, I again have not progressed very far. Drawing Sea Legs is my way of staying connected with that part of myself until I’m back in the water. My favourite place to learn, to date, has definitely been Wategos beach in Byron Bay, Australia. I dream of getting back there… maybe this will be the year!
|Image courtesy of www.ytravelblog.com|
Do you own a board?
Yes, the first board I ever bought was a blue fish with thick rails and a ridiculous amount of buoyancy. It was so hard to duck dive! I chose to sell it when my trip around Australia ended and I decided to travel around Europe, just for the sake of travelling light. But I regret that decision every so often as I am a bit of a romantic and the thought of keeping your first board seems really sweet. Luckily, my brother is a professional surfboard shaper (@awol_custom) so I just borrow boards from him whenever I’m visiting. Now that I think of it though, I bet if I ask nicely, he would make me a pretty close replica…perhaps a bit easier to duck dive 😉
What’s your top tips for anyone wanting to get into drawing cartoons?
Just draw! All the time, whenever you can, with whatever you have. The more you draw, the faster you will develop characters, a storyline, and a style. You’ll learn what you love to draw and what you don’t like to draw (hands! ah!). I recommend spending any money you have for cartooning on pens… the paper isn’t important until you want to make prints, but bad pens can really take the fun out of drawing pretty quickly. As for gathering ideas, just look around you and find some way to record whatever strikes you as funny or odd. You may be able to fit it into your cartoon later.
And where do you get your inspiration from?
Oh man, everywhere; surf blogs/magazines/movies, my family. I have tons of pieces of paper, notebooks and notes on my phone, filled with random jokes, incomplete Sea Leg cartoons, phrases I read or overheard that I would like to turn into a joke, things I find amusing, etc.
Who do you follow on Instagram?
There are so many amazing artists out there, but to name a few:
@piaopfermann: great illustrator and super sweet person 🙂
@jamesredmaynewriter: his ‘TheSurfing Animals Alphabet’ book is so cool!
@lizzyartwork: I love her sweet, feminine style, and colour palette.
So, what’s next for Sea Legs?
An online shop with prints, stickers, annnnd hopefully shirts/tote bags/etc! I’m mega stoked and can not wait to open the virtual doors :)))
Where can we find out more about Sea Legs?
For more Sea Legs, please feel free to check out my website: sealegssmile.com and sign up for the newsletter. You’ll be first in the know when the shop opens and see new cartoons before anyone else!
Huge thank you to Becky for this interview! I’m so flattered and had a great time answering your questions :))
Well, thank you, Claire for inspiring us through a very grey January! Stay tuned for more interviews on Country Bumpkin Chic.