Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tomatito Press - Katriona Chapman

In the first of our series of interviews with inspiring designer-makers featured in "Inspired:London - A Guide to Handmade in London", we are delighted to catch up with Katriona Chapman of Tomatito Press.

What is the name and background behind your company?
My company is called Tomatito Press, and it came out of my desire to take my freelance illustration career one step further and start making my own books. Occasionally disappointed at print quality and other aspects that you don’t have much control over as a freelancer, I decided to start publishing a small list of my own illustrated books, where I could take the time to make the print quality exceptional and focus on the quality of paper and materials used in the production of the books. My books are all luxurious editions of 50-200 and are handmade… so I fold, sew and trim every copy myself! My books have been stocked in several London bookshops like Gosh Comics in Soho and John Sandoe Books in Chelsea. Alongside the books I also sell other illustrated products like prints and greetings cards.

Where are you based?
I’m based in Streatham Hill where I have a studio workspace in my house.

How long have you been in business for?
As an illustrator about six years… and I started making and publishing Tomatito Press books in 2010.

What do you love most about living in London?
I love the mix of people. I’ve always enjoyed living in cosmopolitan areas with people from all around the world. I also love how much wildlife you can find in London if you look hard enough! One of my books ‘Brockley Foxtrot’ is about London’s urban foxes.

Who or what inspires you?
I’m mainly inspired by the natural world, but I’m also very inspired by other small presses like Nobrow Press based in Shoreditch, who’s visual style and attention to detail in the production of their books is mind-blowing!

What advice would you give designers starting out?
Find what it is that really excites you and pursue it with passion and hard work. And never give up! It’s also really important to talk to a lot of people and take advice, but also stay true to your vision.

Have you any new projects coming forward for your company?
I plan to move into the field of comics and graphic novels next. So far my Tomatito Press books have been illustration-led and I’d like to give more emphasis to storytelling in my next project. I’m also looking into getting my books to a wider audience. They’ve sold online to such diverse places as the US, Australia, the Caribbean and South America… but there’s always potential to get them traveling even more!

You can pre-order your copy of Inspired:London  by Mary McDermott from We Make London
Follow the link to get your copy here http://www.wemakelondon.co.uk/pre-order-the-book.html

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