Zoë More O’Ferrall is a London-based commercial illustrator with a long list of prominent clients such as Vogue, Topshop, The Guardian, Harrods, Mumford and Sons, National Geographic, J Crew and many more.
Zoë’s work has a particularly whimsical quality to it. She typically works in pen and ink (she has a broad collection of pens to choose from) and loves to draw by hand. She only uses a computer to plan compositions and touch up her handcrafted drawings.
Most recently, Zoë was commissioned by Vogue to illustrate the official Vogue Loves Regent Street Fashion’s Night Out map. The event was held in London’s Regent Street to celebrate the exciting mix of designer and high-street brands found there. The map was displayed on a billboard at Piccadilly Circus on the night of the event.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Zoë to briefly discuss her latest project for Vogue, to learn more about her background and to hear her words of advice for illustrators.
You recently finished illustrating the London Fashion’s Night Out map for Vogue. Tell us a little more about the project and your process for creating the piece.
British Vogue commissioned me to create the map for their Fashion Night Out in 2014, and I was thrilled when they asked me to come on board again this year. I wanted to produce something that felt fresh and a progression from the map I’d produced last time round. As a client they are wonderfully encouraging and trusting in letting me have creative freedom. I love drawing fashion based elements and the content of the map was really dynamic so it made for a dream job (twice)!
How did you first get into illustration and how has your style evolved since you started?
I’ve always drawn – from the moment I could pick up a pencil – and I’ve been very lucky that it evolved into a career. I’ve been with my agent Illustration Web since 2008, working with a wide variety of clients, industries and contexts, which means there’s plenty of new and engaging territories to work within. As I’ve progressed, I’ve found I’m far more confident and comfortable with colour, where my work was predominantly black and white it’s now much more bright and bold.
You’ve been commissioned by a number of very prominent clients. What has been your favorite or most memorable job?
It’s hard to pick just one, though my style unites them, the experience of each job is usually really distinctive. Vogue was always a dream client I’d hoped to work with one day, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I recently drew live for the opening of Bobbi Brown’s store windows in London which was a lot of fun and a great change from pen and paper at my desk!
Who are your artistic influences? Where do you find inspiration?
London influences my work hugely, I live on Portobello Market which in itself surrounds you with creative influences big and small. I go to galleries and exhibitions regularly. I’m inspired by anything from David Hockney’s etchings to Gerhard Richter’s paintings or the vibrant colours found in Wes Anderson films.
What is your advice for illustrators who are just starting out?
I think building up a portfolio that has a strong representation and range of your work is an important basis. Even now, making the time to draw ‘for myself’ is a key part of developing my style and it’s integral to do that at whatever stage in your career you might be. More so than when I left art school, there’s such a huge platform to expose your work now with the likes of Instagram and Pinterest and I think utilizing those opportunities in the right way can be a fruitful starting point.