Rachel Lillie: A New Chapter

Our Illustrator in Residence looks ahead to a new stage in the life of House of Illustration.


  • Rachel Lillie
  • Residency

Respond. Share. Engage.

It has felt really quite strange these last few weeks as my focus on documenting the build shifts to reflecting on all that has been. I've taken time grappling with this change in pace. But as the first episode of my journey comes to an end, I'm on the cusp of a new stage in my work.

It almost feels like I'm starting a new project - a new adventure, that intense period of time for generating ideas, deciphering where to go next. I always find mind maps hugely helpful. Lots of them! This week I'm sharing with you my thoughts and ideas on where this journey has taken me, and where it may take me next. There are many different layers of thinking here on my map, some obvious and some more abstract - as I try to comprehend what's in my mind whilst letting it wander to new places.

I see this next chapter as a time to respond to what I've gathered and to what I've seen. A time for developing my drawing further, working in my sketchbook and playing with materials to best describe the story so far.

It is also a time to respond to the space as it is now - a public gallery - and a period to start sharing what I've done so far. I'll do this on several levels. Firstly I'm planning several workshops, one being about drawing and discovery - in which I hope to share some of the ideas that I've gathered during the first half of this residency.

It's important for me still to engage with the space in its new and present state, and its visitors. I'm still working this one out - do I continue to document the gallery space? I think I have to dig deeper here. I intend to spend more time developing work within the gallery, while also being there to talk to visitors coming and going - perhaps this is where I will stumble upon new interactions and events.

I'm also working on designing a book for the builders describing their journey during the build. I think it's important to share this with them. They were such fundamental characters in the physical transformation of the building; I really want make a physical souvenir of their legacy, and a chronicle for House of Illustration.

For those of you who have visited Inside Stories, you will see the process that goes into developing a story. Although my story isn't an imagined one (though elements of it may be), planning, drawing thumbnails and editing are key stages in this process of storytelling. I have much of my material already it the form of my original drawings - but working out a running order for these, deciding on the story and how best to tell it, is a really exciting stage - full of constant potential for change.