A conversation with... Amanda Quartey
The Conversations Series creates a positive image for young girls to refer to by having conversations with different business owners, entrepreneurs and creators. Amanda Quartey was born in London. At 14, she moved to Ghana and studied art at school and later returned to the UK to study graphic design. Her artistic path deviated slightly when she studied Classics at University; and then later started working in finance. But over the years, she returned to her artistic roots. She has collaborated with a variety of clients, including Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Quarto, and many more.
Our featured artist for our Film Issue is Sophie Bass. You can read all about her journey. Buy our latest issue here
The Black Curriculum - Places, Important sites in Black British History is your recent illustration project. How closely did you work with Lavinya Stennett? What was the experience like?
Working with DK and the creative team was a fun process. The creative process began by me working on several sketches for the potential book cover and with the help of the Art Directors and Graphic Designers, the final cover art was eventually approved. I particularly loved working on the book cover and creating the little icons and landmarks while learning about many black British history along the way.
Was there a memorable part of history you captured while illustrating the places?
I would have to say recreating the carnival dancers and speculators for the ‘History of Carnival’ spread. It was really nice to recreate a fun and thriving part of Black/ Caribbean culture and to see how carnival has positively affected British history.
What inspired you to be an illustrator?
I’ve always loved drawing and creating since I was young. At school I enjoyed DT, computing and art. Growing up, that manifested into expressing myself through illustration. I eventually studied Classics at University, which I did not enjoy, but one day I had a sort of epiphany and realised that the right path for me was illustration. From that day, I stayed up all night every night drawing and sketching and eventually I created a website, an Instagram account etc. and showcased and advertised my work on the internet.
How did you develop your own illustration style?
Practice, lots of practice! I would study other artists and their illustration styles, techniques and adopt what I liked the most about their work. Overtime, my art style has slowly changed and looks slightly different from 2 to 3 years ago, but I see this as personal growth which allows potential clients to see your diversity, which might lead to more opportunities.
Describe your illustrations in 3 words.
Colourful, emotive, textured.
Who are your favourite illustrators/designers?
There are countless artists I could mention, but two stand out for me; the works of Anna Cattish and Janice Sung. Janice’s use of texture and soft shading to capture a particular mood is mind blowing and Anna’s characters are so expressive, dynamic and full of life–just so, so inspiring.
What would be your dream project? And why?
At the moment, I don’t have a specific dream project, but I’d love the opportunity to create cool, dynamic fantasy characters for some kind of advertising campaign that would be epic!
The Black Curriculum Places: Important Sites in Black British History | DK
Available at bookshop.org