How did your artistic journey start, Julie?
I studied Interior Design at GSA and worked as an Interior Designer for 20 years, specialising in hotel and leisure design. In 2018 I realised I was exhausted and in need of a change so I resigned, took some time off and found my way back to drawing. Turadh Design Co. launched during Lockdown and has been growing steadily ever since!
How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
When I was younger my main passion was for life drawing, big messy sketches using charcoal and ink. The architectural illustrations I do now are very different to those but I guess they are a development of years in my interior design career, producing technical drawings, understanding perspective and proportion and the use of colour. The subjects I choose for my drawings, or am commissioned to draw, focus very much on the nostalgia of the places and space around us. We all have buildings and locations that are special to use for may different reasons – where we met our partners, time spent with loved ones, memories of childhood, our homes… the list is infinite.
Can you walk us through your creative process?
I tend to start with a very rough pencil sketch to decide the fit on the page, I then work up a more technical drawing with most of the detail before completing a full ink outline in fineline pen. This is then scanned and digital colour is applied in Photoshop. That process is much as I’d approach a painting; applying layers of colour and blending to create texture, depth and shadow.
How has your practice changed over time?
I’ve become more confident over time, minimising the sketching side and adding lots more fine detail at the drawing stage. My digital art skills have improved ten-fold as I’ve learned to use Photoshop in different ways. I think my drawings are becoming slightly looser now and they most definitely have more warmth and contrast than they did a few years ago.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I have an infinite list of buildings and spaces that I want to draw. If I need a break from something I’m working on I simply stop and do something else for a little while then revert back. A break, a step back and fresh eyes are always the best way to resolve anything.
Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love?
There are more than a few architectural illustrators out there who produce hugely impressive works. The OG has to be Glasgow-based Adrian McMurchie, whose work I greatly admire. Also, Netherland-based Illustrator Astrid, who works under the moniker of Urban Anna. Her watercolours are divine! Glasgow’s David Richardson and Bryan Evens have some amazing paintings of the city. I also love the work of many photographers, particularly those who document day-to-day life in Glasgow; Oscar Mazaroli, Alan Dimmick are just a couple. I love the sketches of Coll Hamilton, who also does some architectural sketching, but it’s his portraits and life drawings that I particularly love and have at home.
What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
If you want to work in the mainstream, find a story that people will relate to and start a framework around that, don’t underestimate the time and learning needed on the business side, make sure your costs stack up and don’t sell yourself short. I like to be affordable but it’s taken a while to find a balance that works.
See Julie’s work at our Summer Show, running at Six Foot Gallery until 6th July 2023.