Artist interview: Lesley Barnes

Two weeks ago, we profiled Amelia Gregory who has been tirelessly promoting illustrators everywhere, while encouraging new talent via her magazines and book. This week, we speak to Lesley Barnes, one of the illustrators whom Amelia challenged to pick up more colors in her work. The result? Lesley now can’t live without them!

Lesley Barnes

Name: Lesley Barnes
Location: Scotland, U.K.
 & My Etsy shop
Illustration media: paper, inks, computer!

Tell us a little more about yourself!
Hello my names Lesley and I like to make things move!

Lesley Barnes

Where do you live? What stands out about living where you are, and what is your daily schedule like?
I live in Glasgow (which is the largest city in Scotland) in an old Victorian house. The old houses in Glasgow all have extremely high ceilings and I think this makes you quite spoiled as it gives you a space to think and lets your ideas move around. Whenever I go anywhere else I always miss the lack of ‘head space!’
I wake up, put on BBC 6music, have a cup of tea and try to get on with it!
How did you get your start in illustration?
I have only very recently described myself as an illustrator. Although I have always loved drawing, I actually studied English at university, so always feel a bit guilty describing myself as an illustrator as I have no formal training!

Lesley Barnes

Could you tell us more about your thought process when you start a piece?
I love books and especially the cover design of old Penguins (you can take a look at my short film herzog and the monsters to see just how obsessed I am!) and when I am starting a piece of work whether it is illustration or animation I think of it in terms of how it would look as a book cover. I love animated title sequences too and I think that this is because they are like the cover of a book come-to-life.

Lesley Barnes

What’s your favorite project so far?

There are so many! One of my favourite recent projects was working with illustrator Thereza Rowe on an animation called Seven Little Houses I’m also really enjoying illustrating a pack of playing cards on my blog An Ace in the Pack I think I am still most proud of my animation herzog and the monsters which was the first animated ‘film’ that I created.

Would you care to share your studio space?

Lesley Barnes

Lesley Barnes

What or who inspires you?

Charley Harper, Edward Bawden, Alexander Girard, Saul Bass, Men with Moustaches, Brass Bands, Red Socks, and the animation ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ by Yuri Norstein.

What keeps you motivated?
A cup of tea in the morning…and one before I go to bed.

Lesley Barnes

What’s your favourite tool?
Probably a big sheet of white paper and some indian ink! I also like cutting stuff out of paper (although I am not exactly a skilled paper-cutter and it usually involves me cutting up my fingers!)

Are you a full-time artist?
I’m not sure I would class myself as an artist…but, yes, I work full-time as a freelance animation director (I have worked on short films, title sequences, stuff for TV, commercials)

Lesley Barnes

What advice would you like to give people who are interested in being an artist full-time?
If you are working freelance be prepared to have an unsteady income…..but keep on creating work you enjoy even in the lean times…that is what will end up getting you jobs in the long run.

Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
I would love to do more illustration work as it is only something I really started concentrating on about a year or so ago.
But I also finished writing a script for a short animation and I really want to get that started this year….I have had the story in my head for such a long time now!

What message do you want to send out to people about your work?

I hope it brings a little bit of magic…..

Lesley Barnes

Tell us something random about yourself!
I am a big fan of HRH the Queen’s hats (she has so many …I’m sure she must have a special hat room in the palace) and in the future I would love to be invited to one of her garden parties (I would of course wear a suitable hat!)

Lesley Barnes

More links from Lesley for you to explore:
Picasso Pictures

The brain cells

Some trees are greater than others (advert for childrens charity Tommy’s – the v/o was done but the actor who used to play Jeffery the Butler in Fresh Prince of Bel Air!!)


{Thanks Lesley!}

6 Replies to “Artist interview: Lesley Barnes”

  1. chum says:

    such a unique style.
    it’s always a treat to see what’s new on the “ace in the pack” site (and nice to find another “hedgehog in the fog” fan!)

  2. Char says:

    WOW…where do you find all these tresures Amy? Lesley is AWESOME and extremely inspiring…LOVE her work…Thanks for sharing.

  3. Abi Daker says:

    Great interview – Lesley has a totally unique style and it’s really nice to see the new additions to her playing cards as she updates them.

  4. Thereza says:

    i’m her number one fan 🙂 ace interview!

  5. Eva Lindeman says:

    These illustrations rock! Great work, very inspiring.

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