Illustrators We Love: Jess Trotman

If you’ve had a peek at our new luxury hampers, you’ll have spied the wonderfully floral and deliciously delicate art of Jess Trotman.

Jess Trotman red floral artwork on Whistkefish luxury hamper

We were lucky enough to have her creative help with the glorious Gardening Hamper and we must mention that we think her finished pattern makes this one of our very favourite gifts at Whistlefish. We had a quick chat with Jess to find out a bit more about how she works, and gain an insight into her everyday life as an artist.

Could you tell us a bit about you?

I was born in Tavistock, Devon, and studied in Falmouth and Winchester School of Art. I worked for many years as a textile designer, with my designs appearing in many high street stores. I work mainly in watercolours which provide me with wonderful fluidity and light; perfect for capturing flowers.

Could you tell us a bit about your childhood and how you got started as an artist?

My childhood was in rural Devon in the '70s! Our house was right next to a beautiful estuary off the river Tavy and surrounded by fields. In summer we would often spend all day outside, and if it was raining I’d take my drawing inside.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

After packing my daughter off to school, I'll get the admin side of things out of the way first and then get everything geared up for the project I am working on; colours mixed, flower reference all ready. I’ll be stuck in by the afternoon, maybe with the radio on for company. I try to keep to office hours but it’s often in the evening, if I can work late, that I find I can really settle into it.

 Jess Trotman's studio full of plant photographs and wooden drawing board

Where does your inspiration stem from?

Always nature, and other artists and designers, but often I will just see a group of colours together, on a magazine cover or anywhere, and I will suddenly have a new collection forming in my mind. 

What’s the best memory from your career to date?

It was pretty amazing in hindsight. When living in London, I was out just wandering around Covent Garden and passed quite a number of shops with my designs displayed prominently in their windows!

I also used to love travelling to Paris, setting up trade shows with my agent, and staying in lovely little Hotels. 

Do you collect art?

No, but I am lucky enough to have some good friends who are artists. I’ve got a few pieces that mean a lot to me.

Where are your favourite places in the South West? 

I’ve always loved Dartmoor, growing up on the edge of it, but appreciate it and visit it more the older I get.  Equally, it’s wonderful to be able to get to beautiful unspoilt beaches and coastlines which are just a short drive from where I live.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve had a few good tips in my time, but one that helped me in my work and for any creative block is simply to continue to go to your studio and put the hours in like normal. Things will start to flow again. It really works.

Jess Trotman on a large white beach 

Where is your favourite place to relax and find peace of mind?

A walk in the woods opposite to where I live. They never fail to make me feel better. 

What advice would you give to any aspiring artists reading this interview?

While it’s brilliant to be able to follow what other artists are doing on social media, be careful not to waste valuable time and get distracted from what you are doing as an artist.

Jess Trotman card with other Hamper products including Chocolarder chocolate

What do you have coming up/ what are you working on over the next few months?

I’m right in the middle of finishing a project for Christmas. It’s local which is lovely. Then there’s a brief lull for Christmas before starting again, trying to capture the flowers as they come out, for various projects planned for Spring.

Jess has created a number of beautiful pieces for Whistlefish and can be purchased as cards, notelets tins, tote bags, aprons, calendars and more.