Gradwatch 2016: Molly Soar

Molly Soar, graduate from the Edinburgh College of Art, speaks to CR about her observational drawings and why publishers like Nobrow Press inspire her.

CR: How did you first become interested in studying illustration? 

MS: I only really began to think about illustration as a subject during my A-levels, I was lucky to be part of a large college that showed me so many different possibilities within the arts.  I was quite an indecisive person within my work and saw it as a subject with such possibilities – that definitely gave me the confidence to explore what interested me most and develop where my work would go.

Illustration by Molly Soar
Banaras by Molly Soar

CR: Could you tell us a little bit more about the techniques or medium you work with?

MS: I’m a big believer in observational drawing, and often build images and ideas based directly on those drawings.  I work quite quickly initially and build an image in layers again and again, adding or taking away what I need to – working with crayon, ink or pencil to build texture.  All of those papers and scraps are then scanned and built together in Photoshop.  A large part of my work is based in printmaking, screenprinting in particular, that process certainly influences this way of working.  Thinking about the final colour separations and how they’ll work together is definitely part of why my work is formed from these layers.

Illustration by Molly Soar
Ireland by Molly Soar

CR: Has anyone/anything been a particular source of inspiration?

MS: Publishers such as Nobrow Press, have been such a big part of making me make work.  Their publications are so beautifully made and the work is from such talented people, that’s given me confidence in not feeling the need to fit my work into a certain box, or think that what I was making wasn’t “right” because their books show the sheer scale of what you can make, and why it’s important that they’re all different.

Illustration by Molly Soar
Asa Dani by Molly Soar

CR: If you could steal someones artistic skill or talent what would it be and why?

MS: Portrait drawing, definitely.  That skill to jot down a likeness of someone as quickly as you need to blows my mind, my ideas often come from places I’ve been and the people within them, so I’m so jealous of people able to grab someone’s character in just a few marks.

Illustration by Molly Soar
I’m losing my edge by Molly Soar

CR: You’re done with university whats next?

MS: I’m staying in Edinburgh now that I’ve finished at ECA, so are many from our graduating year, which is exciting to know that I won’t be alone in the creative world quite yet – and am currently interning at Edinburgh Printmakers, which is definitely helping to keep my screenprinting problem under control.


mollySoar is one of the 11 graduates whose work has been selected by us to appear on 900 JCDaceux digital screens all over the UK, including at major railway stations, shopping centres and roadways as a part of CR’s Talentspotting scheme.

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