Saturday, October 8, 2016

Jessica Courtney-Tickle's Techniques and Tips

Jessica Courtney-Tickle creates lovely illustrations that make fairy tales just sing. Her work is a blend of digital and traditional illustration. Jessica's magic is to bring new life to the fairy tale world. Read on to breathe new life into your career.



Dani: How did you get your Agent?

Jessica: My agency actually found me through Twitter! I started posting work regularly under the 'Colour Collective' group and it got spotted by them, it was a bit of a dream come true (cheesy as it sounds!) as I had been thinking about representation. It all happened at exactly the right time which was very lucky. Never underestimate the power of social media, it just takes one person to find you and things can kick off!

Dani: What is the hardest part about illustrating?

Jessica: find roughs really difficult! I naturally work quite spontaneously and following a plan takes some of the enjoyment out of it! But they are essential to get the text and the imagery to work together. I've found that doing very simple roughs works a little better for me as I can still add in tiny surprise details when it comes to the final thing!

Dani: How did you develop your illustration style?

Jessica: For me it didn't truly come out until I had left university and was able to take my time and see where my drawings went without deadlines and dissertations. I clearly remember how much I disliked working digitally- the pen on my graphics tablet felt so clunky and I couldn't control the line at all. But after graduation I had this long period of trial and error and came out with this! It's developed a lot even in the last year or so and I think it will continue to change, I'll never limit myself to a certain way of working as I don't think that's healthy, but it's definitely developed into something more like me.

Dani: What's one thing that you'd change about yourself or your illustrations?

Jessica: It's probably oversaid but I do find the work/life balance hard! I tend to get wrapped into my work and it has a tight hold! I have been known to cancel an evening out or an event to get a piece of work just right (thank goodness for understanding friends). So if I could find a way of balancing the two better, that would be ace!

Dani: Do you have any words of advice to those working on creating their dummies?

Jessica: Think about the ending first if you can! Endings are so so hard and if you know exactly where you want it to end up then you have done the most difficult bit (in my opinion). I'd also say don't feel you have to do things in a certain order! I still find it easier to create one or two bits of final(ish) artwork before making the dummy rough. It just allows me to imagine the overall atmosphere and direction of the story- and to have more fun with it too!


Follow Jessica:


Twitter: @jesscotickle



  1. Jessica, your art is gorgeous. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't work in a certain order.

  2. Loved reading this post and seeing your absolutely beautiful illustrations, Jessica!

  3. Some great tips! While I'm just beginner at making a picture book dummy, I agree that it's easier for me to create one or two bits of final(ish)artwork before starting the dummy. Thank you!

  4. Lovely work! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow, Jessica's work is dreamy and magical! I've not thought of making finished art before tackling the dummy; I'll give that a try!

  6. Love your illustrations - especially because they don't look digital!

  7. Thank you for the advice: start at the end, know where you're going, captain! That's so true.