Julia Ashby Smyth

Julia lives on the beautiful Isle of Man in a little house at the edge of Glen Elfin, surrounded by trees, perched on the slopes on North Barrule, and she spends an irrational amount of time with her cats watching birdies outside the window when she should be working.

Julia actually possess a BA Hons degree in Multi Disciplinary Design, but not once has a client ever asked to see it. She has been a freelance illustrator since 1989 and has produced all manner of work for all manner of clients; including Manx National Heritage, Isle of Man Post Office, Okells Ales, various banks, the BBC, big private commissions, teeny weeny little commissions and she has even designed the interior of a supermarket.

Jobs are varied - one day doing technical reconstruction drawings of Viking longhouses (extremely interesting), the next day the inside of a nasal cavity (not quite so interesting). There's been caricatures of ex-gangster bosses (scary), portraits of brides (even scarier) and lots and lots of hairy beasties from Manx folklore.

 Julia’s favourite medium has to be pencil, she says it's just the best for getting from imagination to paper without the brain getting in the way. She like to mess around with media that isn't necessarily supposed to end up on paper, and generally uses a mixture of pens, felt tips, watercolour and whatever else is to hand. She also finds that she works particularly well with chocolate.