Katie Chappell Illustrator and Designer Headshots

Tell us in one sentence what you do?

I get paid to draw pictures and colour in / i'm an illustrator and designer.

Which part of your job do you feel most passionate about?

I feel most passionate about being able to communicate through illustration. One of the most satisfying feelings is taking a solid chunk of text, and being able to inject life and meaning into it by providing pictures that people can 'read' at a glance. It's the best kind of problem solving. Recently I collaborated with the Science Central team at Newcastle University to illustrate a brochure about Newcastle upon Tyne being a future smart city, and it was wonderful to be able to see those ideas translated into images.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in business so far?

The most important lesson that I have learned in business (and life!?) so far is that you are never stuck unless you decide to be. This applies to everything - finding inspiration, feeling stuck geographically, financially or emotionally.  Also, I find that as creatives we can be predisposed to feeling that our work is not worth that much or that we shouldn't earn as much as other professionals, and overcoming that feeling is so important in feeling confident in your abilities and career and creating a sustainable business practice. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?

Get your work out there! Working for free is a highly controversial subject, especially in the creative industries, however those first few live briefs that I entered into magazines such as Amelia's Magazine and various blogs really helped me get my name out there. Sharing work online and having a professional online social media presence have also been key factors in attracting work. Starting to produce work for live briefs while you are still studying is a great way to get a head start and really push yourself creatively. If you can balance university coursework and real live briefs then that will stand you in good stead for the real world when you have several projects on the go at once. 

What is the best feedback you have ever had from a client?

Agh! I have a terrible memory. However, I recently got an email that said "you've done a great job of these, Katie" and that's good enough for me. Feeling like I've done a good job and knowing that the client agrees is one of the best results to hope for.



Who do you admire most in the world and why?

I admire a lot of people and it's really difficult to choose just one. I do love the work of spoken word artist Kate Tempest, however, and I think she gives out really good energy as an artist. The world needs more people like that, people who can wake everyone up and make them rethink what they are doing and how we are as a community/nation/planet.

Do you have a favourite quote that you turn to for inspiration?

"Whatever you are, be a good one" -Abraham Lincoln. 



What drives you forward more than anything else?

I love the freedom that being self-employed gives me, and being able to travel and still produce work is something that I value greatly. At the moment I am splitting my time between Berlin in Germany, and my hometown of Berwick upon Tweed in Northumberland. The knowledge that working freelance allows me to travel drives me forward and keeps me motivated. Even when I eventually settle down I hope to keep traveling regularly.  

What is the biggest challenge you face in business?

My biggest challenge in business so far has been balancing the quiet times with the busy times. There are sometimes relatively long stretches where I have no projects coming up and I am only working on the bare minimum. I've learnt that it's wise to have some security savings stashed away, and to make the first connection with potential clients. Sometimes the work won't just come to you and you have to go out there and ask for it and let people know who you are and what you do. I've taken on part-time jobs in the past to help with paying the rent and bringing in the 'bread and butter money' and that brings a new challenge in itself. Finding the space and time to be creative when you are working in a non-creative job can be exhausting! I feel very very lucky to be working solely on illustration and design at the moment. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

A typical workday for me starts at around 8am. I'll get up, make coffee and sit down to work straight away (usually still in my pyjamas). For the past 2 years I have been working with Megan Claire, a personalised card company, and I will do any orders from them before I have breakfast. After breakfast I get ready and cycle to the studio where I will work on whatever projects I have happening at that moment. When I am traveling or living in Berlin my routine doesn't change much. I definitely don't work as many hours while I am traveling and when i'm in Berlin I spend a lot more time cycling around the huge city. Going to Yo Illo meet ups with fellow english-speaking illustrators in Berlin really helped me to network and meet like-minded people. Berlin is massive and I've been amazed at how much more effort it takes to meet new people there and maintain connections. It's a far cry from the tiny town I grew up in. 

If you would like to learn more about Katie's work you can visit her website HERE.

Product photography session in the studio for prop hire business Get Knotted

Studio product photography on the plain grey background to show the quality and detail of Get Knotted's prop hire products for their website and blog.

It is always great to work with Sarah. We have collaborated on many projects and she is always great fun, massively talented and patient. I recommend her not only for wedding photography but also commercial work.
— Lindsey Hunter, Get Knotted, Kelso

Passport, ID and Visa Photographs, taken by a Professional Photographer, ready in minutes…

At Pictorial Photography on Berwick Quayside, I can now take passport/visa photos for any country. 

Shortly after Smith's Photo Centre on Bridge Street closed, Pictorial Photography started to see an increase of requests for passport photography and other specialist services such as visa photographs, driving license ID, shotgun licenses and disabled badge pictures.

In the past I had always sent people to Bridge Street for them but all of a sudden the nearest passport and ID specialist was in Alnwick or Duns and nobody really likes the supermarket booths.

I decided then to undertake the specialist training and purchase the equipment that Pictorial Photography required to produce high quality passport, ID and visa photos on the spot for locals.

Since adding this new arm to the business, I have taken many different formats and styles of passport photograph, each embassy has slightly different regulations but I makes sure no matter which nationality of passport or visa photo my customers require that they all conform to the specific regulations.


There are many do-it-yourself places that provide a passport photo service, such as a booth or online, but wouldn't you prefer your passport photograph be taken by a professional who can advise you on what the regulations are for each country?  You also have the added benefit of being able to review your photo to make sure you are happy with it before it's printed as it's going to be in your passport for a good few years!  If you're not happy, I will take another one for you.

Baby passport photos can be fun, being a family photographer I know how hard it can be at times to get a baby or young child to stay still long enough, let alone with a neutral facial expression whilst they get their passport photo taken.  I am very patient and can be on hand to offer advice and support so the situation is stress-free.  My aim is to make having the passport picture taken an easy task, not a chore. (for a small call out fee I offer an at home service for customers who can't manage to call in to the studio themselves, contact me for details about this service on 07762 428 096)

To make sure that your Passport / Visa / ID passes all the regulations, just pop in to Pictorial Photography and within minutes you will walk away with the right photo for your requirements.  With Quayside parking on the doorstep it couldn't be easier.

Pictorial Photography is open from 10am-12.00pm Saturdays and 3pm-5pm Wednesday for passport photography drop in sessions.  No appointment needed, just pop in when you are passing or ring Sarah on 07762 428 096 if you have any questions.

Eduardo Paolozzi Exhibition and Berwick’s Burrell Collection

I've recently been doing a bit of work for Berwick Visual Arts, firstly documenting the 'Eduardo Paolozzi' exhibition and then the latest exhibition 'Berwick's Burrell Collection' the work is currently in The Granary Gallery, Berwick and is very much worth a visit.  I purposly haven't included many images from the exhibitions to make you go and see for yourself!

Berwick's Burrell Collection runs from the 1st September to 16th December and The Granary Gallery is open 11am - 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday with free admission.
"Berwick's Burrell Collection is the most important art collection in public ownership in Northumberland.
Berwick Visual Arts and Woodhorn Trust have come together to display a selection of the collection's wonderful artefacts with a series of free exhibitions over the next three years, as well as other work collected by and for the people of Berwick.
With a fortune made in shipping, Sir William Burrell purchased art and objects from around the world. Most of his collection was donated to his home in Glasgow, but around 50 paintings and 300 decorative items were given to Berwick when he moved to nearby Hutton Castle.
The collection features work by masters such as Degas, Boudin and Maris, ancient Roman and Venetian glass, Japanese imari pottery and Ming porcelain, which will be displayed over the next three years.
Sir Roy Strong who opened the exhibition first exploded onto the national stage as Director of The National Portrait Gallery and won subsequent acclaim as a revitalizing, crusading Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Having spent much of his life at the helm of two great national cultural institutions and with a reputation as a quick-witted, fearless observer of the wider cultural scene, this rare visit by Sir Roy to Berwick is bound to spark a lively debate."

Written by James Lowther, Head of Visual Art, Berwick Visual Art