Arabella Simpson’s colourful drawings fit together like a distorted Tetris game. Fascinated by “recycling, originality and copyright”, Arabella enjoys drawing immediately recognisable characters. “I want an image to communicate its meaning instantly”, she tells It’s Nice That. By using our eyes first, she feels that we then have time to “choose how we’d like to use our heads and voices”.
Using “scratchy”, thin crayons, Arabella draws objects, animals and “anything that [she] can see”. By thinking, firstly, of a theme and title, the artist then googles relatable things to buy and store at home, regarding herself as a “hoarder”. Her illustrations form colourful mosaics, containing random and surreal objects. They are the jumbled assembly of every-day things: “I like to invent new collections [of drawings] and personalities with as much contrast as possible”, the artist explains. She gathers together her doodles to make a single artwork that speaks for itself, and each collage is playfully unique in character.
Arabella also cares about the size of the paper she’s working on, making sure the shapes of her drawings come together in various orientations that are strange and surreal. Inspired by “ancient art and cubism”, her images feature sharp angles and confusing perspectives; the image is often compressed or elongated.
Arabella started drawing at 7 and has not stopped since; the artist completed a BA illustration degree at an art college in Hereford and has been featured amongst 60 other artists in the Cheltenham Illustration Awards. A favourite project of hers, she tells It’s Nice That, was the creation of her “first portfolio in newspaper form, called ‘Field Day’”. The zine featured her “happiest drawings”, and included humorous pop culture references. Since this, Arabella explains, her “confidence has grown”, allowing her to continue to strengthen her signature style.