Artist Feature

Illustrator & Ceramist Evie May Adams

A chat with the artist behind the illustrations of How Many Plants

Evie May Adams is the multi-faceted creative and artist behind all the gorgeous illustrations here at How Many Plants. We caught up to chat about her about her artistic roots, the joys of working for herself, and not giving up!

Tell us about your background—have you always been an artist or creative in some way?

I have! My parents are both creatives (and always have been) My dad was an illustrator in the 80s and is now a full time artist, my mum worked in advertisement, creative directing, and is now a printmaker and studying for a fine art masters. They really instilled creativity in me from a young age. Be it with an endless supply of sketchbooks or taking (dragging) me along to exhibitions (large or local).

I grew up in Rye, East Sussex which has a strong art background and is full of artists/musicians/creatives to this day. I feel very lucky to have had this upbringing and I’m not sure I would be where I am now without it! It’s all I know!

Most treasured possession? Favorite thing in the studio?

I wish I could say something cool and interesting but it’s definitely my iPad, ha! I bought it when I was feeling incredibly stuck in my work and feeling like this whole illustration gig just wasn’t working out for me. I was broke! And spent nearly every penny I owned on it which seemed crazy at the time.

Before I was painting every single layer and detail separately on paper then scanning them in and rearranging/coloring them in Photoshop - not a sustainable practice! It really freed me up with how I make my work and I’m so glad I took the plunge - it’s my baby! Fun fact, every illustration I made for How Many Plants was created using it!

What do you do when you need inspiration? Or how do you recharge your creativity?

For inspiration, Pinterest has become a very important tool to me in this pandemic! Whereas before I would most likely head out to London, or the next town, to the museums and art galleries. Obviously it’s not the same as seeing things in the flesh, but there’s so much art and info to discover in your screen!

I can still get out for walks over the fields and to the beach to recharge, which is great, so I’m thankful to live near to some beautiful scenery. Some fresh air really does wonders for your creative spark!

Are there any essentials you like to keep around as you work? What's your ideal working environment?

I like to keep my work area a fun environment! I spend literally all of my time here so I may as well enjoy it. Hence, having Netflix on in the background is an absolute essential ha! Always a big mug of tea on the go too.

I really revel in the fact that I’m working for myself and can take breaks when I need to (or even just want to)!

I know a lot of illustrators need to set themselves a strict work schedule to get things done, but I try not to create this pressure for myself. What I’m trying to say is that I think it’s important you create a working environment for yourself that you know you can thrive in! Whether you take 20 breaks, or none. You’re self employed and your own boss! You do you!

When did you realize this was a career path and more than a hobby or side hustle?

I’d say as early as last year! This was when I finally managed to get my kiln up and running at my parents house. I bought it second hand for soooo cheap, so I knew it would take some fixing up.

As soon as I did my first glaze firing I thought “Oh my god, I can do this.. from home! Off my own back!”

The next two ceramic sales I had went incredibly well, which was amazing, pretty much life changing!

It was also last year that I started to pick up some real illustration jobs too (How Many Plants included) where as before it was a little odd job here and there, I was mainly making money off painting/drawing sales and ceramics (whenever I could book myself into the evening class at the local college). So with these two hobbies, turned career paths, I finally feel super settled in what I’m doing! I love it!

Any advice for folks looking to turn their artistic interests into a paid gig or for those just starting out?

Keep making!! There were so many times I felt like giving up. It took me a good 5 years, from graduating university and moving back into my parents house to now where I feel as I can finally call myself a full-time creative. There will be huge ups and downs, you’ll think you’ve made it then you won’t get any work for 3 months. You’ll get the job of your dreams, then it’ll fall through. You’ll be about to throw it all away then an agency contacts you! Just don’t give up. It’ll suddenly all make sense, I promise.

Ok, now for the tough one: Favorite plant?

I absolutely love the fishbone cactus! I have two! They’re such funny hardy little plants and actually really remind me of one of my drawings. I want to soon add a third to my collection (one for every room!) :-D

✨ Thank you, Evie ✨
You can check out more of her gorgeous work (and definitely be on look out for shop updates!) over on instagram or her website.