Rather than wait for her dream illustration brief to appear, Vanessa Lovegrove has crafted her own fictional beer brand, embracing her "running obsession" with witches and giving a spooky nod to the Halloween season.
Called Witches' Brew, the Bristol-based illustrator had some spare time on her hands because of the ongoing pandemic and decided that "sometimes all it takes is a pun to put a project in motion". Her make-believe potions include stout ('Deep and dark') and IPA ('Hoppy and floral').
Interestingly, whilst working on her side project, Vanessa learnt that brewers were historically women: "You can imagine how the image of a woman stirring a huge bubbling pot of hops and yeast lends itself to witch mythology," she continues. "I also really liked to play around with the idea that beer packaging could have a more female-oriented focus, with soft colours, strong women and florals being a part of my design. It'd be a dream to work with a womxn-led brewery on this concept."
Vanessa graduated in 2011 with a Visual Communication degree at Bath Spa, working as a children's book designer initially, and then moving on to a stationery design studio. This year, after a couple of years of freelancing part-time, she made the move to being a full-time illustrator.
"I've worked predominantly in editorial, but recently I've been combining my design skills with my illustration by working on book covers and packaging, hoping to take my work to the next level. I've also been enjoying dabbling in animation, using the subtlety of movement to further develop the atmosphere in my work."
Vanessa adds that she's passionate about working on nature, music, travel and people focussed subjects, and is inspired equally by mythology and folktales as she is by video games and cyberpunk. "Duality is a concept I find really interesting – things that compliment or juxtapose each other, such as the past and future. Once it's safe to travel again, I'd love to illustrate my way around Japan exploring this concept that Japanese culture is so enmeshed with."