My Talented Friends: Zoe Butler

Zoe and I have been friends for 5 years, give or take a few drunken months. We met at University – when she lived around the corner in a house full of exchange students who thought they were being poisoned – and it wasn’t long before she moved in with us and became part of our dysfunctional family, surviving the Lincoln earthquake and many a trip to A&E together.

I would often come home to find Zoe sat in the middle of the living floor surrounded by a cloud of paper, glitter, glue and more often than not, a puddle of tea (she is the clumsiest person you will ever meet and can somehow knock things over 50 feet away). Zoe currently lives with her boyfriend and cat in Leeds, where she works for Tigerprint creating beautiful stationery for Marks & Spencer.

Zoe Butler
Hey Zoe! How are things over at Tiger Print? 

Great thank you! We’ve just finished redecorating the office, so it’s been a hectic, but it seems to have calmed down a bit – for now!

What have you been drawing this week? 

This week I’ve been working on loads of Valentines Day and Mothers Day cards ready for next year. I also took part in a character illustration workshop, which was a really fun day; it’s nice getting away from the computer screen from time to time and creating something new.

Is there a particular theme or character that you enjoy working with the most?

I’d have to say my own characters. It is really nice when you can see a card through all the way from start to finish – from creating your own characters, designing the card, amending the card, probably amending it again before sending it out into the big wide world.

Have you ever thought about starting your own business?

At the moment I don’t feel experienced enough to go freelance – and I definitely couldn’t be bothered with the tax returns!

Zoe Butler illustration
What’s your average work day like?

My day usually starts at 8.30am – I check my emails and look at my briefs for the week to see how many I have left to complete, then it’s time for breakfast and a cuppa. I take my lunch at 12, then it’s time for more tea and a quick chat with my manager to see if she’s happy with what I’ve done so far. If everyone’s on the same page, I’ll mock it up ready for review, where managers at a higher level look at it and critique it.

On those horrible moments when creative blocks occur, how do you combat them?

If I find myself suffering then I normally browse Pinterest to try and spark something.

What’s been the highlight of your job so far? 

Definitely seeing my work in store for the first time; it was so exciting seeing people actually buying my work!

What advice would you give to aspiring designers and illustrators out there?

Keep working on projects all the time. Even if it’s just doing a small sketch a day, always keep your creative juices flowing. If you ever feel ‘stuck’, lookout for inspirational blogs and Pinterest boards and pick some ‘how to’ projects to work on when your mind wanders.

If you’d like to see more of Zoe’s work or get in touch, head over to her blog.