We are delighted to be showcasing a collection of Meg Abbott’s original works. Meg is a freelance artist based in London, her specialism is in minimal line drawings, mostly nudes and portraits of strangers in singular spontaneous lines, and in black ink. Meg, also works as a food editor at the travel magazine SUITCASE.
Your line drawings each have individual and wonderful names, what is the inspiration behind them?
It sounds really strange, but most of them tend to name themselves, in that I look at the finished piece and then come up with the title. Sometimes the name comes to me really easily, and other times I just can’t name a face or body, so it’s more of a struggle. I have done a series based on places such as Sicily or Finland, so the names are always based on that. But other than that, naming the piece is very much the last point of creation – and something I always really enjoy. I think a lot of artists have a title in mind when they begin an artwork, but line drawing kind of spins that on its head.
Have you always loved line drawing or is it something you discovered?
I actually only discovered line drawing, or how much I loved doing it, two or three years ago. I really fell in love with the freedom of it, and how impulsive it is. It really suits me (and my impatience!). With line drawing, the imperfections of a piece can be the parts that make it so great. I love not knowing what’s going to happen on the page before I begin, and seeing these forms appear without much planning. It’s very mood dependent too; the more confident I feel, the better the pieces turn out. It’s always really exciting and the lines are different every single time. It’s very clear when I’ve had a good or bad day!
What is your background for Art? Did you study at school or art college?
I studied History of Art at Leeds University, and that really suited me as I was more interested in the story behind other people’s artworks than my own. I worked in a few galleries around London and one beautiful one on the river in Amsterdam, and always loved being around art. But I didn’t start committing to my own until I found line drawing. It just completely changed the way I looked at creating art. It gave me a lot of confidence and just felt really right for me. I became completely obsessed with it and then started selling my work.
Do you have favourite piece?
The only piece I’ve kept for myself is a drawing I did of my boyfriend Will. It was really early on when I’d just started in this style, and I bought myself a block of this beautiful creamy paper (the paper I now use for all my pieces!). I did this line drawing of him sitting in the kitchen and it just felt completely like him, even though it was abstract. I was so excited by the idea of capturing someone without focusing on the exact details of their face. I have it framed in my room and it reminds me of that time of excitement, and falling in love with this style of art.
Are there any other art forms and styles you would like to practice?
I’m just beginning to do some block printing, which I’m really excited about. I’d really love to create posters for food or wine, as I always love those beautiful ones you see in bars. And I’d like to start experimenting more with sponges and wood and various ways to apply thick paint to line drawings. I’ve also been doing some work with ceramics and textiles, which I’d like to focus on a little more in the next few months!
Would you mind telling us a bit about your working day, how you create each piece?
I spend most days at my studio (except this winter when it was so cold in there I couldn’t feel my hands…), and most of my time is taken up with private commissions and commercial projects. Wrapping and scanning pieces takes up a surprisingly large amount of time, too. I try and spend a couple of hours every day creating new works, but with line drawing you can end up doing hundreds and wasting a lot of paper. At the beginning I’d get through an entire block of paper and end up with 3 or 4 that I loved, but I felt so bad about the paper and it wasn’t a good use of time, so now I do the spontaneous lines on a sketchpad and if I like the shape I then recreate it on the nice paper. And then it’s usually time to go to the Post Office to send my commissions off to their new homes!
Discover Meg’s artwork here.