Our next guest is Niki Groom, also known as Miss Magpie Spy, an award-winning fashion, beauty and lifestyle illustrator from the UK. Creating work that is colourful, hand-drawn, and feminine, her clients include Vogue, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Liberty.
Whether it's for ad campaigns, window displays, editorial pieces, or live events, Niki favours a mixture of watercolour paints, marker pens, ink, and fine liner. Before her venture into illustration, she was a fashion designer for 15 years, something she says helps her enormously in her career, as she has a unique understanding of colour, fabric and print.
Aside from her freelancing, Niki is part of the brilliant live-illustration LIL Collective, which brings together a selection of talented fashion illustrators who specialise in events illustration. So far, she's illustrated at venues such as Selfridges, Harrods, and even live on air for BBC Radio 1.
We met Niki in London last month to hear more about her creative journey. Our conversation threw up lots of helpful advice on freelancing, marketing, and surviving as a professional illustrator. We hear of her fascinating experience of being a fashion designer, her time living in India, and how a backpacking trip to Australia led to her first illustration commission and work with Vogue. And we dive into cultural shifts, slow fashion, and diversity in the creative industries.