Untold Creators: Hollie Fuller

Meet the talented people who help us tell UNTOLD stories

Tell us all about yourself.

I'm a freelance illustrator and maker from northeast Lincolnshire. I studied illustration at Leeds Arts University, graduated in 2019, met my illustration agents in 2020 and became a full-time freelance illustrator in 2021.

You have a very distinctive style of character – out of proportion but still somehow balanced. How did you arrive at it?

Lots of experimentation and lots of terrible character drawing somehow led me to this style. The proportions are a funny thing because when I'm drawing it all makes perfect sense to me, as if I'm drawing a perfectly proportioned person. It just became a natural way of capturing people for me.

Your illustration has a real fun, playful element. How do you approach commissions that deal with more serious subjects?

That's what I strive for within my work and I try to take a light-hearted approach to everything I work on, so I don't often see projects with serious subjects. I think (and hope!) that clients come to me for a more playful outlook.

Do you see your illustrations as a reflection of a specific place within a story, or do you try to tell a whole story in one frame?

It totally depends on what I'm working on and what I'm trying to communicate. I think it's more about an element of a story, rather than trying to tell a whole story in one image. I love capturing a moment.

Many illustrators don’t draw characters, but they’re central to your work. How do you use them to tell a story when they’re not animated?

Static characters can tell stories just as successfully as animated characters, even if animation can bring them to life in a more obvious way. I think it's about capturing an action or a moment, like somebody watering a plant or reading a book, hinting at a story rather than spelling it out.

Do you people watch for inspiration when you’re out and about?

Yes! People watching is one of my favourite activities. I'm so intrigued by people and their day-to-day lives, imagining what they're up to or where they're going or who someone's speaking to when you overhear a conversation in a cafe. I think I should let that feed into my work more often.

Which jobs have you done that you particularly enjoyed?

I've been lucky enough to work on so many fun projects! My favourites are always when the client trusts me to do my thing, that's such a nice feeling. I worked on a great project for Bloom magazine where I made a handful of sweet gardening-inspired illustrations, and that was topped off by the most glorious page design by Sarah Pyke.

Which artists are you drawn towards?

So many artists! Quentin Blake is my favourite illustrator, which I'm sure most illustrators will tell you. I'm interested in artists who experiment and push boundaries, but also artists who explore the joys of every day and inject humour and tenderness into those moments. I'm obsessed with Niall Breen at the moment, his comics make my heart sing.

Your colour palette tends to be quite muted. What’s your approach to applying colour?

I think I've become a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to using colour and I find it quite frustrating sometimes! I'm always trying to branch out from my usual colour palette but then I feel like I'm creating something that's less me, which is quite silly really.