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Far Off Blog

Illuminating Illustrators: Christine Fleming

Back in December, we introduced you to one of our remarkable illustrators, Emily Stanbury. This month we got chatting to another of our fantastically generous and talented contributors, Christine Fleming. We love the way Christine picks up on unexpected elements of texts in her illustrations. You can find her illustration of Anniken Blomberg’s A Trillion Places to Feel Small adorning the cover of our latest issue, Between the Leaves.

Far Off Places: Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.

Christine: I’m an illustrator/author working out of Texas in the US. My work has appeared in parenting magazines, literary zines (like Far Off Places!), science blogs, educational workbooks, and personal commissions. I am also currently writing and illustrating my debut picture book. I like to draw things I don’t understand, coming out on the other end of the process with a little bit more understanding, and a greater appreciation of just how weird the world is. If I’m not drawing, writing, or staring at my computer screen, I can probably be found cooking something from scratch, running with my dog, or reading in the sun.

Christine Fleming, sketchbook

Sketches for Christine’s illustration for ‘Between the Leaves’

Far Off Places: Which far off place is next on your list?

Christine: I desperately want to travel to Iceland. Photographs taken there just look so other-worldly, and everything seems so grand while still being quaint. The Icelandic culture and language also seem so different and fascinating, and I would love to see the Northern Lights!

Far Off Places: What’s the weirdest material you’ve ever used to make an artwork?

Christine: I don’t typically work with weird materials, I prefer to work with pencil and paper. I enjoy the simplicity of it—knowing that the base of all my illustrations is just graphite and blank paper. To me, that physical feeling of pencil on paper is king—it has a kind of soft roughness to it that puts me straight in the flow state of mind. For example, the pencil texture of the fur on the wolf shadow in my most recent piece for Far Off Places; that kind of process puts me in an almost meditative state of mind. I guess everyone has a certain physical feeling that speaks to them, mine just happens to be pencil.

But I suppose I do use photographs of weird materials to bring more texture into a piece once I’ve moved to the digital side of the process. I’ve created my own set of painted gouache textures, but I’ve also used photos of concrete, wood, and even carpet to create subtle texture in some of my pieces.

Far Off Places: Our current theme is ‘sartorial’. What kind of hat captures your essence?

Christine: I’d say… a hand-knit toboggan (or winter hat to non-North Carolinians). I have a dark purple one with a subtle knit pattern on it that I quite like. It’s simple and snug, and keeps my ears warm.

Christine Fleming, work in progress

Christine’s piece for ‘Between the Leaves’ as a work in progress…

Far Off Places: Where do you go to feel small?

Christine: Just last weekend I went camping with some friends in the Angelina National Forrest, and in the morning we woke up to everything covered in thick fog. I went kayaking out on the lake with my boyfriend and the fog was so thick we couldn’t see the other side of the lake, even from the middle of it. That was a pretty small feeling—it was so quiet and still, and I really had no concept of how big the lake was. I felt like we could have been alone out in the middle of a calm ocean.

Far Off Places: Tell us a joke.

Christine: I tried to think of a vegetable joke here, but I couldn’t come up with one. So readers, if you know one, lettuce know! Ha.

All images copyright Christine Fleming

Christine created our cover art for ‘Between the Leaves’ and illustrated ‘Under the Bed’ by Pippia Little in our third issue. For more of her work, visit her website or check her out on Twitter.

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