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A picture of Sophie McPike

Sophie McPike


in artist, illustrator

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello! My name is Sophie McPike and I'm an illustrator and artist of multiple mediums based in Melbourne, Australia.

I make flower power, whimsy and joyful illustrations & sculptures. My work has a mixture of retro design and cheerful colour pallets with a dash of sweet self love reminders to make you smile.

Sometimes I just feel like I was born in the wrong era! I'm in love with the weird and wonderful colour pallets used a lot back in the 50s/60s/70s. Some of my illustrations are just based on colour pallets I find exciting and want to play with. I also love to play with the rhythm and flow of line and shape and how it all fits together in a pleasing composition.

Florals and nature is a huge part of my work as well as big curvy figures and big hound spirit animals!

What hardware do you use?

I actually have really busy hands and I will try anything that catches my interest. I feel like whatever new medium I try out then helps me to think differently about how I might try my old favourites in a new way. Lately I've been doing a lot of ceramics and because of that my illustrations have taken on a more sculptural look at times.

I love watercolour, inks and acrylic paints most at the moment. I use Windsor and Newton watercolours with high quality synthetic brushes (no favourite brand in particular).

The acrylic paint I use is Polycolor and Jo Sonja's artist quality paint. My watercolour pieces are usually painted on Arches 350gsm 100% cotton rag paper. My acrylic paintings are painted on wood boards.

I also have a sketchbook with me at all times - I feel naked without one by my side. At the moment I'm using just a simple little sketchbook which I got from Muji - the one with cream paper and brown card cover. I don't really go for super fancy sketchbooks, I'm happy with cheaper paper and brands - just as long as the pages are off white/cream and that the sketchbook isn't a ring-bound one - those are my only two rules. I am also using a really nice Mossery watercolour sketchbook for my little watercolour paintings while I'm on the go - the Mossery sketchbook is actually ring-bound, which I usually am not a fan of, but because it's a watercolour book, rind bound makes it easier to remove pages.

And what software?

I use Photoshop and a Wacom tablet and also Procreate on an iPad Pro. My favourite app on my phone for photo editing is called Polarr.

I try my best to work mostly in traditional mediums. For me, there is nothing better than getting your hands dirty and covered in paint and clay. Digital work is, however, so super quick and convenient for when I do up pin or sticker designs etc.

What would be your dream setup?

I would love to live in the country somewhere in a large light-filled studio with the walls filled with art and books and bits and bobs. A huge wooden table in the middle and paint everywhere (and a greyhound or 3 by my side). There will be a work space for every different medium I work with - a ceramic work space, a painting space, a spot where I package Etsy orders, a section with all my books - and inspo area, a cozy drawing nook and a gorgeous record player to play my collection of 30s and 40s records. What a dream!