Niki Groom (AKA Miss Magpie Fashion Spy) is 39 and a professional illustrator who has worked for Vogue, Clinique and Accessorize, to name a few. Her most recent work has seen her traveling to remote parts of Scotland, and to France to support the charity Help Refugees, the pictures of which on Instagram were very moving. I was introduced to Niki’s work online a while ago via Shelly Vella (then Fashion Director at Cosmopolitan), who is a huge advocate of Niki’s work. Miss Magpie Fashion Spy’s girls are super cute and stylish, and they are full of colour and smiles and, well, life! I feel like her girls fit well with The Daydreamer, that every single one of my readers (yes, you) would make a beautiful subject for Niki to draw. So I had to ask Niki to be interviewed for my new ‘WOMEN’ segment because her collection of illustrations are like a dreamland. I hope you go on to love her work as much as I do, which – if you do – can be bought on her website – and I especially like the cards and originals.
Bristol for the past three years, after twelve years of being in London.
An artist or a musician.
A huge part of my job is coming up with ideas and then putting those in to practise. It’s important to really grasp the ethos behind a brand before I start working with them so that I manage to engage with their audience, so I’ll do lots of research and then start putting pen to paper. I love drawing, but I love having my brain engaged too.
It’s very varied depending on what project I’m working on. Some days I can be at my drawing board all day, some I’ll be updating the website and on emails, and then others I’ll be doing live illustration events out of the office. I don’t have a routine at all and that’s how I like it!
I love the balance of sitting alone in my room for hours on end versus the live illustration where things are busy, busy, busy!
I honestly love it. The only thing I can say really is that running your own business means you don’t get holiday and sick pay…. but the pros far outweigh the cons.
A huge desk is the most important thing for me! I’ve got pens / pencils / paints / books / paper / computer / drawing board / plans / product everywhere. So a big desk is the only way.
Illustrating the e-card for Help Refugees. It’s so good to be able to use my drawing skills to help raise money for this brilliant charity. The project happened so quickly, it was great to work with people that work as fast as I do!
When I first started getting illustration commissions (Vogue Australia in 2000 was my first paid work) no-one was using social media and so it was really difficult to promote yourself. Instagram has changed everything.
A million things inspire me, it’s hard to choose. I love social media and that often inspires my work but then again, just getting away from everything also gives my brain some space. I’ve just spent some time on a remote town in Scotland, and I felt super creative there. I’ve got loads of new ideas I want to develop.
Do all money related negotiations over email.
Work out your niche and keep going. Don’t try to be like someone else. The best people have their own style. I really like Miss LED, Willa Gebbie, Emma Block, Emmeline Pidgen, Ping Zhu and Hsiao Ron Cheng.