Friday, September 5, 2008

Interview - Neryl Walker

Bloom girls

CD cover design for Melbourne band The Breadmakers

Schurman fine papers

Most Australian girls (and perhaps even international readers) would be familiar with the sassy, stylised girls who adorn the packaging of Bloom cosmetics. But what you mightn't know is that Melbourne illustrator Neryl Walker is the creator of these cute characters, and has been working with Bloom ever since the business was first launched over 10 years ago.

In addition to working with local brands, Neryl has worked with many international companies and publications, including Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido, Nippon Vogue, Korean Vogue, Glamour Germany, New York Magazine, New Woman UK, Cleo, Cosmopolitan, Harper Collins, Penguin, and recently Coca Cola. Her cutsie characters inspired by vintage pin-up girls are universal in their appeal - making Ms Walker a very busy lady!

When she's not illustrating, Neryl might be working on paintings for an exhibition, avidly op-shopping, or playing rock 'n roll with one of her two bands! Now that's multi-tasking :)

A big thankyou to Neryl for her time with this interview and for sharing a photo of her beautiful bright workspace with us snoopers! :) Be sure to check out her website, blog, and her agent's website for more of her work!

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?

I studied a BA Design degree, minoring in illustration. When I graduated there was a recession and no design jobs. I got a couple of freelance illustrations jobs, liked the work, built an illustration folio and here I am.

You’ve worked for some amazing clients and overseas publications – what have been some of your favourite projects/clients?

I’ve been working for Bloom Cosmetics for over 10 years now so that has been fun watching Miss Bloom develop and grow. Currently, I am adding to the Buxom Lips range, for a US cosmetic brand Bare Escentuals. It’s a lot of vintage style ladies in burlesque outfits, right up my alley! I have designed some t shirts for a Coca Cola/Beijing Olympics promotion in Japan and most recently designed a CD for the Breadmakers, a local band.

Illustration for Japanese Coca-Cola/Beijing Olympics promotion

How would you describe your artistic style?
Stylised, vintage inspired ladies. Someone (Paisley St Claire) recently described my drawings as ‘mainly hot, sexy women with hardly any clothes on which remind me of a 1960s Carry On film’.

Are you based at home or do you have a studio? Do you struggle with the solitary nature of your work – or do you have other likeminded creatives, friends and family to bounce your ideas off?

I have a studio workspace at home. I’ve always worked on my own so I’m quite used to my own company but sometimes I can get cabin fever! My partner is creative so I can bounce ideas off him. I talk to people on the phone and I tend to go out a lot on the weekend. The blog world is great for connecting and getting inspiration but on the down side it means more time indoors.

Neryl's home studio

How do potential clients/customers find you? Do you ‘market’ yourself or do you have an agent?

I have a website (in dire need of updating!) and a new blog,, plus work on an American illustration site I also have an American and Japanese agent where I get most of my work.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

I love illustrators and designers from the 60’s- Paul Rand, Olle Eksell, Villemot, Rene Gruau. Artists - Rauschenberg, Rosalie Gascoigne, Margaret Kilgallen, and pop art in general.

Where else do you find inspiration – ie books, magazines, your environment, travel, your family and friends?

I love to travel. I’m also an avid op shopper and find many sources of inspirations here- old magazines, books, records, packaging, fabrics, and stuff.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I am fairly disciplined. I check my emails first thing due to the US time difference and I’m usually at my desk round 9am. I lunch for an hour and work till 5 or 6pm (with a bit of internet browsing and walking down to the shops along the way!). If I am quiet with illustration work, I am normally out op shopping or painting.

What are you most proud of professionally?

The fact that I have built a career out of illustration.

What's the best thing about your job?

I get to draw for a living! Variation and freedom. I love working for myself. No office politics, and you can sleep in if you need to!

And the worst?

Isolation. Design by committee. Clients with too many restrictions, over worked and literal briefs.

What would be your dream project?

I’d love to design a bar or restaurant interior. Creative control of any project from start to finish, maybe a book or a product.

What are you looking forward to – professionally or personally?

More personal painting and exhibitions.

Melbourne Questions –

Best gallery to see the work of artists/illustrators like yourself in Melbourne?

Outre, Until Never, Painting- HelenGory Galerie

Where do you shop for the tools of your trade in Melbourne?

Eckersleys, Paint Spot, op shops

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

I had a recent splurge at Pearl and Movida is great.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

Check emails then a sleep in! I play in a band so after a night out I need my beauty sleep.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

Lost and Found - a market full of secondhand goods.


  1. Lucy
    I am loving you blog...finding out so much more about fabulous Melbourne. Keep up the fantastic work!!

  2. wow sewhum thankyou so much for the lovely compliment! :) you don't know how much of a buzz it gives me to hear such positive feedback! I really appreciate your comment - Lucy x

  3. What marvelous work.
    The illustrations are unique and very nice, they kind of remind me of the original I Dream Of Genie introduction animations, but much much better.

    I wonder how her drawings of men would look ?

  4. You are real talent!) Go ahead and be famous designer!