A Cup of Tea With…Holly Rutter

In case you missed it, Holly Rutter took over our Instagram account this weekend as our #thortfulTakeover creator, and she completely owned it with her brilliant look at her working life.

We got a glimpse of what she was currently creating, as well as her Pinterest-worthy desk space, which we would quite like in the thortful office!

In a bid to get to know the fabulous illustrator further, we sat down with Holly to discuss who inspires her cheeky designs and what she listens to on her creative playlist…

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Tell us one thing people wouldn’t know about typography…
I think the best typography isn’t always the most traditionally perfect typography. I am a bit obsessed with different peoples’ handwriting, and I love seeing the way illustrators form their letters. Sometimes the little mistakes and quirks are what makes typography authentic and unique.

What comes first the pun or the drawing?
More often than not it’s the pun. I carry a little notebook around with me in case I have a pun brainwave when I’m out and about. Sometimes I’ll dream them too, though once I woke myself up in the middle of the night because I thought I had come up with ‘the best pun of all time’. In a sleepy haze of what I thought at the time was genius, I wrote it down in my notebook and then went promptly back to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I saw that all I had written was ‘draw a picture of a naked bum and instead of Happy Birthday, write Happy Buttday’. Needless to say this hasn’t made it onto a card design yet!

What inspires your designs?
Everything and anything! It’s probably a combination of different artists I admire, animals I love and whatever food I am obsessed with that week/month. Sometimes it’s a perfect storm of all three.

What do you prefer – typography or illustrating?
If I had to pick one it would be illustrating, but a combination of the two is always brilliant. They go together like tea and biscuits.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career so far?
I think getting started was the hardest part really. I’ve been drawing since I was dexterous enough to hold a pencil, but I only started my business ‘for real’ a couple of years ago. Finding a unique style and aesthetic is of course difficult too, but just getting up in the morning and deciding to make a proper go of it was the biggest challenge.

Tell us your favourite social media app and why…
Instagram, hands down! It’s usually the first thing I flick through in the mornings and it’s a constant source of inspiration! I love the little visual snapshots you get into different illustrators’ processes. I also love it as a way of sharing what I’m up to – so many opportunities have come my way in the last year because of putting bits and bobs out there on the platform.

Tell us three of your favourite illustrators…
This is like asking me which Ben and Jerry’s flavour is my favourite (the answer is all of them). One of my all-time favourite illustrators is Dallas Clayton. His view of the world is so beautifully joyful and his illustrations are simply perfect.

I love Reza Farazmand (Poorly Drawn Lines). Pretty much every comic he draws has me wheezing with laughter. He’s a total genius!

Dick Vincent’s work is beautiful and I couldn’t be more in love with his typography. He balances nostalgia with a fresh point of view really brilliantly, and his illustrations are so beautifully unique.

I can’t count, so Catherine Faulkner is also a ridiculously talented pen wielder and a favourite of mine – her drawings are funny and irreverent, and most importantly wonderfully silly!

What’s Plan B for you?
Become a baked potato. I think I’d be really good at it.

What’s on your iPod?
A lot of older stuff – my taste in music was massively influenced by the tunes my Dad used to play me when I was little. My favourite band is The Beatles and I love Folk, Blue Grass and Motown. There is also an embarrassingly large chunk of my iPod memory taken up by ABBA. The first live gig I ever went to was an ABBA tribute band called Bjorn Again when I was 9, and I had quite possibly one of the best nights of my entire life.

Lastly, what’s the best design you’ve ever created?
At the moment my favourite things to draw are dancing avocados, but my two most popular designs are my Dwight K Schrute birthday card and my F*CK you’re old card. I guess there are a lot of potty mouthed Office fans out there (which I absolutely love)!

See more of Holly’s designs on thortful here.