an interview with Alice Tait

We caught up with one of our sellers, acclaimed British illustrator Alice Tait, to discuss Roger the Dachshund, Portobello Road and commissions for Vogue magazine.

Alice in her studio with Roger the Dachshund

What is your background?

After graduating from Bath Spa University about ten years ago, I got my first big break doing a book cover for Penguin, and then a series of illustrations for The Times. I spent my first few years running around London with my portfolio by day and working in a busy restaurant by night. Gradually the illustration took over and I found myself drawing full time. I had a good studio space at Great Western Studios, near Ladbroke Grove, where I was surrounded by artists, dogs and mayhem as inspiration, and my career really took shape from then on.

What inspired you to start The Alice Tait Shop?

Around this time I was living the Notting Hill dream, walking along Portobello Road to my studio every morning, and I decided to create a print range I could sell to the locals and visitors. One of these designs was my ‘Map of London’, which was really popular and has led me to create lots more maps. My work was receiving more and more publicity, and increasingly I was getting emails from people who had spotted them and wanted to buy prints, which led me to finally set up The Alice Tait Shop.

What are your inspirations for your prints?

My first print designs were inspired by my Portobello walk into work – hence the popular ‘Alice and Chloe’ and ‘Antiques Shop’ prints. But now I simply enjoy drawing the world directly around me: anything from the different coloured ink pots on my desk to the faces of strangers in the street. My dachshund, Roger, is a constant companion and I’ve put him in nearly all of my pictures, so look out for him too! At the moment I am doing a drawing every day for a year.

Two of Alice’s prints, inspired by Portobello Road

What is your favourite print from you range?

Ooh, that’s a toughie – I love them for different reasons! If I had to choose then probably the ‘Homing Pigeons’; I am always sketching pigeons, and I noticed that much like people, pigeons tend to look like the town they come from. So this print has a posh pigeon from Henley and a not-so-posh one from Ramsgate.

What are your most exciting commission to date?

I was commissioned to produce an illustrated world map for Vogue for their recent December issue, which was great fun to do as I had lots of exotic locations to put on the drawing. Also look out for the new James Corden’s autobiography which has just been released, as I did the handwriting on the cover. And I was thrilled to design the wallpaper for the new Waitrose Cafés, any excuse to draw cakes all day…

Alice’s commissioned illustration for the December 2011 issue of Vogue magazine

See Alice’s full range of prints here.