My name is Leonie Cheetham and I’m a freelance illustrator, artist and sketcher who is lucky enough to live on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia (follow me on Instagram and Facebook!). My daily coastal walks inspire the use of vibrant colours in my artwork. My style is fast, loose, free flowing with a focus on simple lines and adventurous splashes of colour.
I create and paint daily and only rediscovered my arty side about five years ago. By honing a daily art habit, I’ve been known to become a little grumpy if it doesn’t happen daily. I’m self-taught with no formal art training, although I do like challenging myself every now and then by attending painting workshops that take me out of my comfort zone.
I really enjoy combining watercolour and ink pens in unusual ways. My favourite tools are Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton watercolour paints, Derwent Inktense pencils, Faber Castell watercolour pencils complemented by a myriad of fineliner and gel pens in every colour of the rainbow. With my mixed media style, I find Stillman and Birn sketchbooks to be the perfect match for my everyday art.
Interestingly, I decided to take art as a subject in high school, but sadly my mother thought that French would be a more suitable choice. Possibly, if I take a sketching holiday to France, I’ll be able to justify both subjects! My other love is travelling to new places and revisiting favourite countries along the way. When travelling, you will always find a small sketchbook and minimal sketch kit in my bag, ready to sketch a scene or two to create the best travel memories.
I joined the Facebook group The 52 Week Illustration Challenge over three years ago and their weekly themes have been another reason for me to illustrate weekly, if not daily. It is a wonderful online community of illustrators from beginners to professionals that provides support and encouragement in a fun art network.
Currently, I’m completing the illustrations for a children’s picture book by an American author and have also illustrated book covers for an international crime novelist. One day, I may even write and illustrate my own picture book.
I’ve also illustrated travel brochures on Japan and my favourite type of commission work is creating arty travel memories from client’s travel photos.
I prefer small-scale art, but have recently graduated to larger works. Although I admire detailed works by other artists, I know that I don’t have the patience to aspire to this type of art. I enjoy my simple lines way too much!
Future plans involve getting my webpage upgraded to enable direct art purchases and exploring new media, although my heart will always be captured by the magic of watercolour. My favourite subjects to paint are funky buildings, birds, vintage hats, shoes and of course flowers! In another lifetime, I would like to be a florist or fashion illustrator or maybe both!
In between time, I’m just having fun splish splashing colour around.