MY WORKING LIFE
Dubai-based artist Hatty Pedder created the artwork for Friday’s annual horoscope issue. When she’s not in her studio – six hours a day! – she’s at lavish weddings, drawing the proceedings live
Dubai-based illustrator Hatty Pedder paints a pretty picture, especially of weddings.
What does being an illustrator involve? Every day is so different, as my work crosses many different creative genres. I am constantly discovering new opportunities and meeting incredible people. As an illustrator, one day I am live-drawing guests for a luxury brand event, another day I may be fashion illustrating, creating a concept for a brand, creating a mural or working with hotels on their collateral or simply painting for my exhibitions. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to balance working as an illustrator alongside being an exhibiting artist. I host exhibitions that are inspired by different cities and am currently putting the finishing touches to my Paris collection, which will be showcased in Germany. I am also a mother to a nine-year-old daughter, Indigo, and so am constantly juggling. How did you turn art into a career? I always knew I wanted to be an artist – there was never anything else. It has always been a passion of mine and part of who I am. I come from a very creative background – my grandparents were artists, my father a keen amateur and my mother a smocker and children’s fashion designer. So it’s no surprise that I chose to follow in their footsteps and graduated with a BA from Central Saint Martins in London in graphic design with a specialisation in illustration. How much of your time is spent drawing? I have to be very disciplined to keep on top of my work. Luckily my studio is at home, which means I can work anytime I feel my creative juices flowing. As a rule I paint approximately six hours a day, although this is flexible if I have meetings during the day. How long does a piece take, and how much time is spent on ideas and concepts? It depends on the brief, medium, size, colour and other requirements. A live drawing sketch at an event can take about 10 minutes while a simple illustration can take half a day, a more complex illustration up to a week and a large art piece a few months. Conceptualisation is a key part of my process and the illustration. This can involve a lot of research, which is a journey that I like to take with my clients. What are you working on right now? I just recently finished designing a ceiling mural for a restaurant in Madinat Jumeirah, which I am very excited to see. I am currently working on some textile designs for a couturier and have a mixture of live drawing and private painting commissions. What is the project you are most proud of? I think my continued collaboration with the inspirational Günther de Temple – who was my first collector and purchased my entire collection and continues to support my art to this day – has been an incredible journey for me on so many levels. A few years ago, he opened a boutique hotel in Germany, Auberge de Temple. It has rooms named after the artists from whom he collects and there is a Hatty Pedder room, in which I have had the honour of staying. I helped illustrate for it, with complete freedom allowing me to go where my imagination and whimsical style takes me. What’s the craziest job you’ve done? I don’t know that I have really had mad jobs – they are often very personal and touching, sometimes quirky or unusual. Once I was commissioned to design an illustrated comic book for a young man to give to his fiancée for their engagement. He asked me to convey the story leading up to their engagement and we had to re-enact the whole scenario; it was very romantic and charming. Another time I had to face my fear of heights to create a mural for Mojo PR in their incredible office. Being so high up on the scaffolding and drawing helped me get over my fear, and it was so much fun to do. What are the challenges of your job? There are not enough hours in a day – my work tends to be very detailed and I am obsessive by nature. How about running an art business in Dubai? I have been in Dubai 23 years and watched the market grow here at an incredible pace. You can’t help but get inspired. There are so many opportunities – anything is possible. With Dubai’s tourism and the constant growth, there are many events around town that incorporate art – it is an exciting time to be here. What I love about being based in Dubai is the incredible spectrum of different creative genres that I have the opportunity to work across – keeping it fresh and directing me often on unexpected paths. Why did you decide to pursue wedding illustration? I discovered the world of weddings and was inspired by all its glamour and theatricals – especially here in the UAE, where weddings are luxurious and imaginative in every way. And going on this creative journey with the bride is a personal, exciting experience. I have introduced live drawings for weddings, where I draw the bride and groom and their guests. I also offer live drawing reportage sketches throughout the wedding that can be bound into bespoke wedding illustrated books – creating a lasting memorabilia – and detailed bespoke reportage paintings that capture the whole wedding. For this I attend the wedding and take thousands of pictures – it takes about three months for the painting to be completed.
Forget selfies: Hatty’s specialisation is covering events with live drawings – at weddings, for example