Welcome to the Women in Fantasy Illustration interview series. I am interviewing a selection of women who work in the Fantasy Illustration Industry. You will find the links to more interviews at the bottom of the page.
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Paulina Cassidy, a successful independent artist with a very unique, enchanting and whimsical art style. Paulina not only does illustration, she’s also a talented musician. You can find a link to her website at the bottom of the page. I hope you will enjoy the interview.
1. Please give a brief introduction of yourself, your career and your work.
I’m an artist working from my home studio out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. My work is inspired from a synergy of imagination, intuition, and nature. I mainly use watercolour, pen and ink.
2. When did realize you wanted to make a career out of illustration?
I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl. I suppose I decided from that time onward that this was what I was going to do for the rest of my life, haha! I was also inspired by old storybooks and fairy tales with all of the gorgeous classic illustrations from those such as Arthur Rackham and John Tenniel.
3. What difficulties have you faced in transitioning into becoming a professional artist?
Pricing has always been always a curious factor, no matter what stage you’re at.
I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl. I suppose I decided from that time onward that this was what I was going to do for the rest of my life, haha!
4. What do you like the most about illustrating?
The experimentation which leads to the flow of new ideas. The journey of not knowing where a piece is going to take me. The feel and sound of pencils and paint on paper.
5. What do you like the least about it?
I don’t like getting stuck, becoming frustrated with a piece of art when it isn’t working out but this is a blessing in disguise. These temporary hurdles encourage us to learn and grow. From these points of frustration, pleasant little epiphanies can happen.
I don't like getting stuck, becoming frustrated with a piece of art when it isn’t working out but this is a blessing in disguise. These temporary hurdles encourage us to learn and grow.
6. Can you tell us a little about your illustration process?
I choose my best sketches and make final pieces from those. It’s important to keep the initial ‘lifeforce’ of the piece in the final. Nurturing that seed. Keeping it organic from early stage to completion. Continuing to breathe movement and energy into it all along the way. And then knowing when to stop.
7. One thing I really admire about your work is it has a very unique, playful and whimsical quality.
Many young artists often struggle with finding their style or voice, how was this path for you? Did it come naturally to you?
My style has changed over time. I used to create cartoons for newspapers when I was a teenager. Style morphs and develops naturally with practice, and is appointed with the intended direction.
We find our unique ‘voice’ through experimentation. Style development is also influenced by other artists we’ve long admired –- this affects our transformation and provides nourishment for that ever-evolving inner voice.
Style morphs and develops naturally with practice, and is appointed with the intended direction.
8. What is your favourite project that you have worked on? Whichever project I’m working on right now — that’s my favourite! But in the past, I especially loved working on the Joie de Vive Tarot. It was a slightly painful process since a 78-card deck (and booklet) takes a long, long time. But it’s rewarding. In the end. I also had fun putting together ‘The Enchanted World of Paulina Cassidy’ book of art.
9. What is the best advice you have ever received regarding your artwork and career?
Keep true to your unique voice and be open to experiment with your work. Yeah, I said that already, but it’s worth saying again!
Keep true to your unique voice and be open to experiment with your work.
I wish you all the best with your artwork in the future and look forward to seeing more from you, Paulina.
As for you, dear reader, thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed this interview with Paulina Cassidy. If you’d like to read more you can find all the Women in Fantasy Illustration interviews here.
Have a great week!
Paulina Cassidy’s Website