MEET THE ILLUSTRATOR – MAY – AMY LESKO
Each month we thought it would be lovely to introduce you to the creative behind the upcoming months Papergang Box. As you probably know by now we love anything to do with illustration, we like nothing more than to sit down and chat with those who share the same fondness for creating. You see the Papergang is all about sharing some cool stationery and appreciating the efforts it has taken to create the groovy pattern or little scribble that features within the box.
This month we are supporting the Bumblebee Conservation Trust! £1 from each box will be going towards the trust and helping to save the little bumbs. Yay! When thinking of what illustrator could best suit this buzzin’ little box, we enlisted our bee-keen junior designer, Amy Lesko. Amy likes the odd bug or two, having written and illustrated a whole book on insects; Bitchin’ Bugs, we knew this was the right choice. Today we’re sitting down with Amy to discuss her creative process and her interest in saving the bees!
So first things first, where did your passion for illustration come from? Have you always been creative or did you find your feet later on in life? What do you enjoy most about it?
I’ve just always liked drawing I guess! I remember getting an Art Attack art pack for Christmas one year and sitting down with my brother and drawing with all the cool felt tips. So I guess it’s stemmed from there! I never thought to peruse something creative as I never knew what field to take. I just never really thought I could be good enough and it was really by fluke that it’s ended up being my career!
I think the cool thing about illustration and creating in general is the fact that you can make something appear that’s never been there before?! Like ooh I wanna draw a cool frog hat on myself, then 20 minutes later, a lil’ scribble of me with a frog hat is out there in the world. I also enjoy making things look pretty, everyone likes things looking pretty.
We noticed that you studied Graphic Design and Illustration at university and came out with a brilliant First Class Honours! Did you enjoy the experience and is there anything that has stuck with you from your time at DMU?
Yea I studied at De Montfort University in Leicester which is my hometown and loved it! I never actually wanted to go to university as I wasn’t academic and really struggled in my last years of school. I started drawing again as a way for me to escape and posting them online. I really enjoyed getting my doodles out there and then thought, hey, let’s just wack on an illustration course on my UCAS form and see what happens. Next thing I knew I was going to DMU! For once I wanted to be good at something so I put my heart and soul into that degree and it paid off!
I’d say the thing that has stuck with me from uni is that it is what you make it. If you want to do well, put the effort in and don’t moan if you aren’t even trying!
In terms of this month’s lovely Papergang Box; what made you jump at the chance to support the bumblebees? Why is it important to raise awareness for the lil bumbs (through funky forms of stationery of course)?
I love bees! They’re so cool! I’ve always been passionate about saving the bees; I remember in GCSE doing a project in art about the declining bee numbers, it’s a real issue. Without the bees we wouldn’t have over half of the crops we eat on a daily basis! I think it’s great that we decided to support the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for this box; £1 from each sale will go towards saving the bees! You also get loads of groovy stationery; it’s a win-win really.
How did you go about designing the box, where you did you start? Tell us about the process of creating a Papergang box! Is it similar to the way you would design normally?
From start to finish with Papergang we all sit down and discuss the coming-months illustrator or theme. As this month was supporting the bees we thought I was the right illustrator for the job (as I love bugs) and I started brainstorming some ideas. It’s great working in-house as we can discuss ideas straight off the bat and get feedback straight away.
I usually go from a rough in my sketchbook straight into Photoshop and use my Wacom to doodle away!
What do you love the most about designing for Papergang? Along with this, what is it like being a junior designer at Ohh Deer, (A seriously cool job, we think)
I love seeing my doodles come to life I guess! It’s so cool seeing them on a real product and then seeing all of our subscribers enjoying their boxes. There is a nice little community around the Papergang and everyone loves to share their boxes on Instagram which is lovely to see.
Being a Jr Designer at Ohh Deer is fab! It’s a dream come true, I cried when I got the job as I just couldn’t see myself anywhere else – it’s perfect! We’re like one big family (including Finley who leaves little poops in the corner), we can even swear in the workplace which is a bonus. Our Halloween parties are also incredible.
Let’s leave on an inspirational note - Have you got any advice for up and coming illustrators / designers? And what is a motto you like to live by?
Advice I’d say is just work hard and it will pay off. I really believe in that. If you want something enough you’ll do everything you can to make it happen.
In terms of motto, I have something pinned on my cork board that’s along the lines of “never wait for the right moment, because there will never be a right moment, the right moment is usually right now” good eh?
Thank you so much Amy!