An Interview with Gemma Lawrence

Today we introduce a new series on our blog. As many of our authors are experts in their field, we’ve been working on interviewing them to get to know them, their perspectives and their working process a little better. This week we are kicking off with Gemma Lawrence, author of Creative Block. Gemma Lawrence is an artist, designer and teacher from the UK. She studied at the University of Brighton in Fine Art Painting and has been developing her creative skills through various media. Her book Creative Block was recently released, where she challenges the reader to lift their creative block with over 100 fun and inspiring exercises.

In this interview we asked Gemma a couple of questions on why she created Creative Block, what inspires her and how she sees the future of her field of work. Enjoy!

  • Why have you created Creative Block? What has driven you to do this?

"I designed and wrote Creative Block after a realisation that there was nothing really out there to inspire artists and designers through specifics briefs or ideas. I myself was experiencing a creative block and found myself struggling to find the right inspiration - I started researching specific workshops and creative prompts, and before long, had discovered and invented enough that it felt like a great idea to make a book - so that, hopefully, the tasks I’d created could help others too!"


"I inspire myself through activities and tasks that have a child-like nature to them"


  • What inspires you? In what way do you get inspired?

"I’m inspired a lot by boundless creativity and creativity that just comes to you, without forcing it. I’ve observed children possessing this - they can often ideate and conceptualise without even knowing they’re doing it. Their active imaginations let their creativity be free and confident. This inspires me. So whenever a creative brief is sent my way, I inspire myself through activities and tasks that have a child-like nature to them, giving colour personalities, playing with my resources, like cutting them up and moving them about."

Websites that Gemma often uses for inspiration are Dieline, It's Nice That and Pinterest. Furthermore she is inspired by Studio Nari and it's creative director Caterina Bianchini


  • What is your future perspective about your field of work? Where do you think it is headed?

"The design industry is ever-changing and that’s what’s so unbelievably interesting and exciting about it - you never know what’s coming next. One thing you can guarantee is that multiple times a year there’ll be a wonderful piece of design or a project released which really stops you in your feet. I know lots of studios and freelancers had found the pandemic difficult, and particularly in the UK with cuts to the Arts I worry people may be losing their steam, but there’s always something that needs designing - and as an industry, we’re pretty robust people with brilliant ideas."


  • What kind of trends do you currently see that make you excited?

"I will always be really excited by any hand-manipulation. I love the use of multi-media and hand-crafted graphics - there’s something very real, textural and tactile about them. I love a bit of spray paint too - again an obsession deeply rooted back in my art degree days. It’s an underrated medium that gets a lot of bad press but can create some really awesome effects."


  • Could you tell us more about the workshop you are going to host on the Instagram of BIS Publishers?

"The workshop I will be hosting is a live task which I’ll set for people to explore their creativity through ‘creativity tests’ - small tasks which allow for people to really conceptualise through abstract ideas and imagery in a simple but effective way. This includes starting with an abstract line or shape and encouraging the creative to turn it into a completely different shape - either through a prompt or what their own mind sees. After this quick introduction into creating images out of abstract shapes, we could look into creating all sorts of new, surreal imagery out of our surroundings - for example, turning a plant into hair by drawing a head and face onto the plant pot, or a bottle into a fish by sticking on scales and fins - a new perception of the world around you.

It’s a child-like take on creativity and really changing how you view the world around you. This is the most crucial step when it comes to anything creative - thinking outside of the box means thinking in a whole new way, and therefore seeing in a new way too!"

Gemma Lawrence



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