Interview with Tansy Branscombe

Interview with Tansy Branscombe

Published    11/2/2020

Could you tell us something about yourself?

I’m currently in my 4th year of a PhD in Archaeological Science at the University of Oxford, specialising in the reconstruction of ancient environmental conditions using shellfish remains. I’ve always had an interest in art, but I’ve found it especially useful as a procrastination tool during my PhD!

Do you paint professionally, as a hobby artist, or both?

I paint as a hobby primarily, and sometimes branch out into some illustration and design work for friends if they need anything doing. I recently finished a small project that I started over lockdown and ended up raising more than £300 for charity with the final result, which was very exciting and unexpected! I’d be keen to take art & illustration more seriously, but unfortunately I think that may have to wait until I am finished with my studies!

What genre(s) do you work in?

I work in a variety of genres — mostly I would say I do quite sketchy and traditional “painterly” work. Usually just quick pieces that fit around other commitments and projects. Portraiture is probably my favourite subject, and I have been enjoying experimenting digitally with some different styles and art prompts to try and loosen up my style.

Whose work inspires you most — who are your role models as an artist?

There are so many incredible artists whose work I look up to. I love exciting colour, so anything by fauvists like Matisse, Raoul Dufy, Pierre Pierre Bonnard. I also love the softer tones and still life compositions of Sylvia Wishart and Winifred Nicholson. Recently I have been really enjoying illustrative artists (even though it tends not to be the kind of work I end up producing!). Imogen Lucy does gorgeous street scenes, as well as classically-inspired pieces that really appeal to me as an archaeologist! Sarah Beth Hsieh is another illustrator who I’ve started following recently who is doing beautiful work that reminds me of all my favourite places.

How and when did you get to try digital painting for the first time?

I started painting digitally as a younger teenager when I got my first basic drawing tablet, probably around 2008. Back then I used to post to online art forums to get some critique. I’m sure I would hate to rediscover any of those pieces now! It’s only recently that I’ve got back into digital, and I’ve found myself working a lot more digitally over the past year than I ever have done before.

What makes you choose digital over traditional painting?

The pressure of my PhD has meant that digital painting is more convenient than traditional since I can work much more quickly and fit it in amongst other projects. I’ve also been more attracted to digital painting as I’ve become more interested in sharing work online, since it requires a lot less effort to export something that’s already digital than trying to photograph traditional work. Nothing beats the new sketchbook feeling though, so traditional will always have a place in my heart!

How did you find out about Krita?

I found out about Krita after doing some research online about the different free art tools available online. There were lots of options, but the name

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