Meet Lizzy: The Illustrator Behind Our Forgan Smith Collection

Meet Lizzy: The Illustrator Behind Our Forgan Smith Collection

Brisbane-based (but Kiwi at heart) illustrator and graphic designer Lizzy Anderson captures the world's most notable personalities in watercolour portraits inspired by her day dreams.

You might recognise her signature style pop up on your TV screen in The Block's latest room reveal, with many of her pieces available in The Block Shop

With the relaunch of our Forgan Smith Collection, we sit down with the illustrator behind immortalising UQ's most iconic sandstone building to chat all things design, career and art.

What was the process for creating the Forgan Smith Collection illustration? 

I visited the building in person and used images as well to draw from. I think it’s important to see how an object interacts with its surroundings—how the environment interacts with it, the presence it has, the energy it possesses, what it's story is, how it’s evolved or devolved.

These are all factors that are drawn upon when creative decisions are made. They dictate the weight of a line, the speed in which it’s drawn, the energy that captures, the detail, balance, softness … So many elements can change the emotional response people have to an image.  

Was this your first piece of wearable artwork, and if yes, how does it feel to be able to wear your art?

This is the first where I have felt I have had total control over the look of the initial artwork, it feels amazing!

When capturing something of great significance (whether that be a heritage-listed building or an iconic artist) what is your thought process of knowing what elements to include to ensure the subject is still recognisable while sticking to your classic Lizzy style?

I find I have the best outcome when immersed in the subject. I like to take the time to not just look, but truly engage with the subject—how the light interacts with the surface, the softness of a shadow, what feeling that may evoke.

I am incredibly self indulgent when I draw. I focus on the things that I relate to and hone into them, pulling that out of the subject. In reflection, every piece of work contains a piece of me, I guess that’s the ‘Lizzy Style’. How I feel when I draw them, what I can see in them that I know about myself.

Illustration of Bob Dylan.

Were you always a creative person, and how did you get into the creative arts?

I would say I have always been creative. Forever drawing, making, writing or lost in my imagination. Studying Visual Communication seemed like the logical next step. I certainly couldn’t have been a lawyer…

As a designer and artist, who (if anyone) is your inspiration?

Musicians, mostly. They often have a body of work that, especially over time, describes them really well. It gives me something tangible to tap into. Nick Cave is very inspiring, as are Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I am particularly drawn to self-made artists.

What has been your best “pinch me” moment in your career?

Selling art to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was pretty awesome!

What has been your favourite piece to create to date?

I am incredibly self critical. I don’t have a favourite piece per se, but I have favourite elements within drawings. Iggy Pop’s eyes, Cillian Murphy’s hair, the ink on Iris Apfel’s blouse. I’m not sure I will ever have an absolute favourite, but the pursuit is half the fun!

What advice would you give to budding artists aspiring to be where you are today?

It seems like a cliché, but believe in yourself. Back yourself even if others don’t see the value in what you’re doing. Your artwork is not meant for them.

Lizzy's artwork appears on Channel Nine's The Block.