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A picture of Emily May

Emily May

Artist (The Nonsense Maker)

in artist

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Emily May and I am the Australian artist behind The Nonsense Maker. I create highly detailed hand drawn illustrations, most of which I make into greeting cards and art prints with the help of my business partner Sidonie. My imagery is fun, whimsical, and sometimes a little sad. My style has developed over the years, and over time I realised that the more nonsense sneaks into my drawings, the more sense and meaning they have to me.

My illustration style is inspired by the etching techniques used by old time illustrators, in particular John Tenniel and Francis Donkin Bedford. We try to incorporate this nostalgic quality into every at The Nonsense Maker, from the artwork, to our shop displays, right down to our packaging!

What hardware do you use?

Fine liner pens and my sketchbook are my bread and butter. Once I have sketched out my idea in pencil I use a method called cross hatching to create the form and the tone in the illustration. Depending on the illustration it can take me anywhere up to 50 hours to finish this step.

And what software?

Once I have finalised my drawing and filled in the cross hatching with pen I scan the images onto my computer. All my artwork is coloured digitally, so Photoshop and Illustrator are my best friends. I also rely on social media for inspiration, particularly Instagram and Pinterest. I love fun interior design and vintage architecture accounts, and anything a bit out of the ordinary!

What would be your dream setup?

My ideal studio would be flooded with bright natural light so I can draw from dusk until dawn. Ideally I would also have colourful and inspiring artworks by my favourite artists covering my walls (although I must admit I'm not too far off that dream!).