I’ve got some corking Culture Vulture artist interviews coming up – it’s such a privilege to be able to reach out to connect with and champion creatives. It also gives me hope during this strange old world/Black Mirror episode we find ourselves in that there a wonderful talented creative people out there, smashing it. I find it really motivational on a personal level, but at a time, when freelancers have but really hit HARD by the pandemic, I’m feel it’s even more important for me to champion folks when I can and use my platform to profile and amplify!
So here we go with another wonderful Culture Vulture interview – this time with Sophie Mosley aka Watch Sophie Draw (@watchsophiedraw on Insta). Sophie has a wonderful Insta feed, sells lush prints and creative products alongside a whoppingly brilliant design portfolio.
Well hello Sophie – long-time admirer right here! For my fellow Culture Vultures, introduce yourself!?
Hi there! I’m Sophie Mosley aka Watch Sophie Draw; I am a 27 year old cis woman from the North East, living in Newcastle. I am an all-round creative and illustrator with a background in Interior Design.
How would describe your creative practice?
Watch Sophie Draw is a funnel for my self-expression. I have all these interests (some people say too many) like architecture, art history, travel and culture, psychology, minimalism and living sustainably – they all influence my work.
Have you always felt drawn into the creative industries or described yourself as creative?
Absolutely! I grew up around creative minded people like my grandad who I hail as my ultimate hero; it was always a path I was going to pursue. The biggest question was what direction I would take?
I really had no clue on what to specialise in at University and ultimately it was my lecturer’s enthusiasm during my interview that made me want to study Interior Design. Outside of my studies and developing within the industry, I have always loved the arts scene – my friends often refer to somewhere a bit arty as “very sophie”… which could be taken either way.
You’ve had roles like “interior designer” and “3D visualiser” – tell us about those roles? What on earth is a 3D visualiser? Are you still doing it freelance?
I was really fortunate after graduating to be offered my first role working for Ikea as an Interior Designer. I had three fun, chaotic and flourishing years designing room sets for Ikea Gateshead and commuting to London working on a brand new store, with some of the most creative people I have ever met from all over the world. I really do owe a lot to the team from Gateshead and specialists I worked with in London; they made me the designer I am today.
The best way to demonstrate my role as a 3D Visualiser, is if you look at an interior design magazine and really look closely at the “photographs” of bathrooms, 90% of them will be CGI. That’s what I did. It is now something I can never unsee; the talent and skill that goes into these images is beyond crazy. It was the most challenging role of my career.
Just last year I ventured into the corporate and leisure side of Interior Design and thought finally “this is it” but in all honesty I hated it. I really struggled to align my values with the industry and found it to be, as much as this word is overused, toxic. I quit instantly and started doing some casual freelance work to pay my bills, but it was never going to be a long term plan as I had fallen out of love with design. That was until I decided to use my time of unemployment to finish all my personal art projects and that led me to ‘Watch Sophie Draw’.
How does your brain manage the focus, precision of technical drawing for your interior design and then the freedom to be creative and illustrate within other areas of your practice? To me, that seems opposing and contradictory – (I’m creative; the least precise person in the world and as delicate as a fat elephant)….
You are right! They are completely contradictory. I hated technical drawing when I was learning but somehow now it’s like my own personal ASMR. I used it daily for one of my roles and it is so natural to me now that the days I wanted to throw my computer out the window are long gone. It actually relaxes me now.
Oh gosh – love ASMR – obsessed and addicted. Tell me about your illustration work and how that came about?
I never set out to start illustrating, my main aim was to finish all my unfinished art projects as a way of therapy when I was in a really uncertain position after quitting my job and feeling really burnt out. I started flying through old sketchbooks, experimenting with new mediums and then my sister donated an old tablet to me and I started dipping into digital illustration. It wasn’t until lock down, that I really sat and found my groove.
Tell me about your graphic design style? You seem to have a love affair *like me* with colour!
I think my graphic design style is really driven by my interior influences. I love mid-century design and my ideas are often just me designing for myself. Which often means a lot of colour and bold lines.
You’ve illustrated iconic buildings and places in the North East – what do you love about the North East?
I love the people, the culture and the architectural history. I love how it’s so diverse and you can meet people from so many walks of life. Mostly I love the creative buzz and how, as a community, the north east always comes together to support small businesses and the arts.
In your spare time what is your creative pleasure or indulgence? I.e. something creative that you do just for yourself?
I have an overwhelming amount of old interior magazines and I try to repurpose them into collages. It often breaks down my creative block, but it is also just a really relaxing activity. I have a few of my pieces framed around my home. They often are very punchy and bold like my illustrations.
I do love collaging as an activity – very soul soothing! Where do you seek inspiration from?
I am really fascinated by old matchbox graphics, particularly those from Japan. I did a little sketchbook study during lock down and I am constantly going back and forth to it for ideas. The graphics are fun, bold and colourful yet still simple; I try to mirror that in my own designs.
Tell us about a highlight of your career so far?
This is probably the unexpected answer, but it would be leaving the corporate world. I am so much happier now having found something that I can really express myself doing and being part of a great community of creatives in the north east.
It’s a more common highlight than you’d think…. So, how have you been spending lock down?
I really developed my style and identity as an illustrator, I decided to dive head first into my illustration to cope with being locked up in a tiny flat all day. It really was a bridge between me and self-care, in a time where I was concerned about a decline in my mental health. Between illustrating, watching Tik Toks and my daily walks, I decided to teach myself hooping – lets just say I almost broke the tv and a few windows practicing some basic techniques.
Do you sell any of your work? Take commissions?
I do, I’m currently selling prints on Etsy and Redbubble and I am always open to commissions. You can catch me on my Insta @watchsophiedraw or on my website.
What are you working on right now? Any projects?
My local illustrations were really popular, so I am working on a few more and I have some commissions brewing inspired by our north east mining history. So there is a lot of exciting things to come.
Can you share with me a few artists that are inspiring you right now or suggestions of artists I need to check out?
I think everyone in Newcastle already knows of Nolasean, I am obsessed with her work and it definitely inspires me especially when I’m collaging. Another is a friend of mine Curious Smark, her embroidery work is beautiful and totally reflective of her fun personality.
What’s next for you? Any projects or creative happenings in the pipeline?
I’m hoping to host a few stalls at local markets this year, to really get out and meet the community. If all works out my first one should be in November, fingers crossed! I am also in talks to get some of my north east illustrations stocked by a local business, which would be amazing.
How can we stay connected with you?
You can follow me on Facebook or Instagram @watchsophiedraw
All sounds very exciting – loving hearing an empowering story of a creative finding their voice and honing their practice during lock down. Check Sophie’s work out and I guarantee you will fall in love with it like I did!
Big love fellow Culture Vultures!