Trina Dalziel is a freelance illustrator who has created work for clients including, in the UK: Mini Boden, Cico Books, Duncan Baird Publishers, Health Service Journal, HarperCollins, Hodder and Stoughton, Marketing Week, Mitchell Beazley, NHS, Nursing Times, Red, Runners World, Sainsbury Magazine, She, World Wildlife Fund. In the USA, client include: Air Continental, BlueQ, Body and Soul Magazine, Boston Globe, Chronicle Books, Delicious Living, Family Circle, Land of Nod, Madison Park Greetings, Real Simple, Scholastic, Spa Magazine, Time Asia, Yoga Journal She is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Wolverhampton, Southampton Institute, University of Central Lancashire, Middlesex University, University of the Creative Arts Maidstone.
Trina’s work can be viewed at:
Represented in USA by Lilla Rogers Studio and in the UK Trina represents herself
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
I think it’s probably getting paid for answering a brief and finding a visual solution for a client, and yet being able to put a lot of myself into the work.
The other thing that is great about my job is that it’s so portable…I could in theory be living anywhere in the world.... in reality I’m currently in a slightly grotty bit of South London…but the knowledge that I could up and move and I’d be able to take my job with me makes it bearable!
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
I think the people I admire most are those who achieve longevity in their careers and who manage to make a good living whilst maintaining a healthy work/life balance. In these hard times that’s enough to impress me!
I’d just like to move to the countryside with my boyfriend to a house overlooking fields and have a wood burning stove, a studio and a dog. And to be able to continue working on projects I love. People who have led such lives are rarely heard of so rarely feature as creative heroes and heroines.
I’m currently applying for funding to instigate an oral history project where I intend to interview women illustrators who were working pre 1980 about their working lives, commissions and the combining of domestic and work life. Hopefully if I manage to get the project done I’ll have some new heroines!
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
“Be bold!” Though in reality even if it had been said I might not have been ready to hear it at the time!
Maybe also “It’s not rocket science!” I think even now I sometimes hold off starting new projects or exploring new opportunities - for example I’m keen to expand into applying my work to ceramics and fabrics and to also start up an e-newsletter – but I often feel there is some “secret” information I don’t yet know so I hold back when really I should just take the leap. (Trina has since added ceramics to her shop)
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
If I have an illustration commission and I can’t think of any ideas I go to one of my visuals files full of allsorts of printed ephemera - magazine cutting, postcards, flyers, Satsuma wrappers, found old photographs from European flea markets etc and just enjoy myself looking through for half an hour or so. I don’t worry about or focus on the brief. Then I take myself away to the kitchen or outside – away from my desk and then ideas just seem to come to me. I think “inspiration” balances on a fine line between on one side knowledge, preparation and research and on the other play and letting your mind fly.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
Perhaps felt pixie boots with hidden steel toecaps!