#ShareTheLove: Phoebe J Martin, Artist

We love to see the unique ways you use our products to tell stories. With so much creative loveliness, we’ll be sharing the love and putting the spotlight on the talented folk that inspire us at Photobox HQ.

First up, meet Phoebe Martin, a London-based artist. Her bold and beautiful illustrations caught our eye on Instagram and now we just can’t get enough!

So Phoebe, tell us about yourself! How and when did you get started as an illustrator?

I’m 27, I love old black and white films, bubble baths, mussels and chips (all together is possible.)  I’ve loved drawing since forever and studied illustration at the University of the West of England in Bristol. After being made redundant last year I took the leap to make illustration my career.


How did you choose bold line work as your motif? Would you say your style has developed over time?

Whilst in Bristol I became obsessed with drag culture, past and current. I attended drag shows in Bristol and London and documented the drag scene through drawing — this style is called “reportage,” it’s basically reporting through drawing. Because I had to draw super quick I mostly captured the lines and fluid details. This then sort of stuck as my style. Technology has helped me with developing my style into cleaner, bolder pieces. I use traditional techniques to make my work and was quite stubborn with not using computers for many years. Once I tried out Photoshop I realised it doesn’t have to completely change everything and I found ways to use it that now help me but do not to take away the originality of the pieces.


Originality is definitely a key theme for your work; we can see that straight away. Where do you get your inspiration from? What’s the weirdest thing that’s sparked off a design (if there’s been any!)

Womxn are my inspiration. If I’m ever having a mental block I go to a gallery. Sometimes it’s better to not think about work completely, do something totally different, I like to swim. Nights out and chats with my friends spark off designs. I’m really influenced by photos and drawings of food as well, the food scenes in Studio Ghibli films make me want to draw  (and eat!) like nobody’s business.


They’re such beautiful films, that’s no surprise. Have there been any memorable responses from your work? 

After my work was featured on TV in April, I  started to receive some amazing emails from womxn who were interested in commissioning me. Some of the emails honestly bring tears to my eyes! Wxmen tell me they don’t feel confident in their bodies and they want to start celebrating themselves and a nude painting of themselves would be a step in the right direction. How amazing that seeing a piece of my work made someone want to start celebrating their own body?!


What’s your dream collaboration?

I’d love to work with Nike and Stylist magazine. I’ve had an idea for a long time now to make illustrations to be used in big shop window displays, like Liberty’s. Over the last year I’ve assisted my friend who’s an amazing sign writer on a couple of projects and this has made me want to get into murals. I’ve also dreamt of drawing the monthly horoscope illustrations for a magazine!


What do you think is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“There’s only one you.” This might sound cliché but it’s true! If ever I doubt myself or my work this piece of advice is now embedded in me and I bounce back. When it comes to illustration everyone has their own style and no one can make something exactly like you can. I’m a really passionate person and this can sometimes hold me back in ways. I run my own business but I’m an artist and the business side of me is something I work hard at everyday as it doesn’t come naturally to me. But hey, there’s only one me!

Something everyone should take on board. Who are your design ‘role models’? 

Matisse is amazing because he loved to explore different mediums. Andy Warhol’s drawings have beautiful line work. My other inspirations include Tamara Lempicka, her female nudes are so clear and strong.

How would you describe your design style in three words?

Bold, colourful and fluid.


Great choices. Which Photobox products would you love to see your designs on (and why)?

I’d love to see my designs on a big cushion. This year I’ve really started to invest in pieces for my flat and I’m a bit homeware crazy at the moment. It’s probably all this time we’re spending in doors…yes, naked lady designs on cushions please!

How will you be sharing this love this year?

Quality time is the most loving thing anyone can give to me. I’ll be giving my quality time to the important people in my life this year, without any distractions and in whatever way I can. We work so hard but what would we do without our loved ones to help us see the bigger picture? Life would be tough. I plan to share as much love as I can this year. ❣️


You can check out more of Phoebe’s work here, and her Instagram here.