Charlotte Ager is an illustrator based in London who grew up in the Isle of Wight, at the bottom of England. A lot of Ager's drawings are inspired by everyday scenes of people she often documents from her travels. Simple yet distinct, Ager's illustrations stand out so vibrantly with her unique use of colour palette and her way of drawing the scenes she observes. We spoke to the illustrator about her travels, the Isle of Wight and the joys of illustrating.
"I’m a very keen person, I get amazed and excited about things all the time and love people who are the same. I’ve loved illustration since I was young, though not really realising what it was. I think it has amazing qualities that are unique in getting people to look more closely, which is why I think I’m an Illustrator! At school I’d kind of enjoyed art but frequently found it frustrating, but I decided to do a foundation just to see what it would be like, thinking I would go down the fine art route. I didn’t really know what illustration could be until I did my foundation at Kingston where I was around passionate, excited people all the time and it just clicked."
"I love drawing from observation, particularly movement. I really love drawing people dancing or cooking. I like capturing moments that are fleeting. Often when I’m making work I’m not really sure what it’s going to look like. I think it changes a bit, I try and make my style reflect what the subject is. Generally quite colourful though, I’m just naturally drawn to using colour." She also says that her illustrating style is "a bit haphazard, though people often tell me it doesn’t look that way."
"Right now I'm spending some time at home on the Isle of Wight, and I think it’s definitely better than it used to be; there are some younger people doing projects and making spaces for themselves. But generally speaking it’s not the best, there’s one Art Centre where my mum has worked for the last 20 years which has been constantly faced with cuts. There isn’t a great attitude generally by the council to support the arts and create cultural diversity. That said I do think you can find some wonderful highlights. I love going to new places, just finding out about a new culture and space. I really love learning about history in general and I find accounts from real people very interesting, for example I recently looked at WW1 for a project and I went to the Imperial War Museum a few times which I love; the way they have curated people's stories within the context of objects I find very well done and it inspired my project a lot."
If you go through Ager's body of work, you will notice her wonderful drawings of places she visits including her trips to Budapest, Barcelona and Sicily. Interpreting her surroundings in such a fascinating style, Ager's visual diary of these places also stand out because of her bright variety of hues. "Definitely Barcelona at the moment!", she says about some of her favourite travel destinations. "I went about a month ago and I loved the atmosphere and pace of the city. I loved the attitude Barcelona seems to have towards students and art. I visited when I was younger and found it very touristy but going again on my own I really found some amazing spots and fell in love! I also love Budapest, a few of my friends lived there for a year so I visited a couple of times and I love how you have a contrast behind the slightly worn streets and the beautiful, extravagant interiors of museums and baths, Also in the snow it is spectacular!"
When it comes to her favourite artists, Ager mentions Hockney, Picasso, Matisse and Gauguin as the big four; "but also some of my favourite artists are some of my friends who I think are insanely talented and I’ve been lucky enough to have some really great tutors at Kingston whose work I admire a lot", says Ager. Besides illustrating and what Ager enjoys doing when she's not drawing, she also talks about her love for swimming and running. "Often if I’m not doing anything I am just worrying about something I should be doing so running or swimming actually lets me just relax! I also love baking although often I’m a bit too chaotic and don’t look at instructions properly so things go wrong. Currently, I enjoy doing so many things so in a few years time I hope I’m still doing lots of things! I want to work in teams, work abroad, work on events, travel a lot. So hopefully I’ll be doing some of those things!"