Gemma Correll

Gemma Correll

(She/Her) • Orange County, USA

Biography Interview

Gemma Correll is a British illustrator and cartoonist currently based in Orange County, California, where she lives with her husband and beloved pugs. She studied Graphic Design and Illustration at the Norwich School of Art and Design, graduating in 2006 and later moved to the USA in 2015. Gemma imbues her simple line drawings with narrative and humour to create illustrations that catch the eye and tell a story. Her unique style has gained her work for clients ranging from Amazon to The Washington Post on projects as varied as animated online advertisements and autobiographical comics. Gemma has also illustrated numerous children’s books and has worked extensively in publishing, editorial and on social media projects. She also licences her art for use on merchandise and homewear and fashion products.

Selected clients

BBC, Lärabar, Jetblue, Amazon, Simon & Schuster, Chronicle Books, Reader’s Digest, Progressive Insurance, Augenblick Studios/ PBS, The LA Times, The Washington Post, Google, Comic Relief, Progressive, Hulu, Keurig, Cartoon Network, IFC, CenturyLink, Oxford University Press, Walker Books, Nosy Crow, Bloomsbury, American Girl, Knock Knock, Glamour magazine, Seventeen magazine, Parents magazine, Womens Running magazine, Mental Health America, White Stuff, Bodyform, Ipsy, Natrel

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Publishing, advertising, Editorial, commercial, social media, merchandise, animation, murals

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  • Society of Illustrators Silver Award for Digital Media – Comic and Cartoon Art 2015,
  • Mental Health America Media Award 2017,
  • Art Directors Club Young Guns 2010

Career Milestones

● Art Direction on PBS Animated show “City Island” (2022) ● Exclusive jewellery range for Tatty Devine London (2021) ● Travelled to Mexico City to create public mural for Pictoline (2019) ● Book “The Worrier’s Guide to Life” published by Andrews Mcmeel (2015) ● First books, “A Dog’s Life” and “A Cat’s Life” published by TeNeues (2012)

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Gemma Correll

Your pronouns
She / her

How do you define your identity? Do you identify with (or advocate for) any marginalized communities?
I am British (but I live in North America)

Where is home?
Orange County, California

What lights your soul on fire?
Reading, writing and drawing. And drinking a lot of coffee.

Describe your illustration style in one sentence
Deceptively simple, naive yet intelligent, fun yet meaningful.

What themes do you enjoy exploring in your illustrations?
Animals, humour, mental health, social issues, medicine, literature, entertainment

What techniques do you use?
I draw very simply – by hand, in pen and ink. I sometimes use colored pencil and ink to add colour and I also use digital methods to clean up and colour my work.

How much of yourself and your own story can we see in your work?
I create a lot of personal work and comics and I also tend to imbue my illustrations with a little of my experiences and sense of humour. I don’t want to create work that just anyone could have made – it’s important to me that it’s recognisably “by Gemma Correll” at first glance.

Is there an unmistakable thread in your creative work?
Well, it’s probably me! (see above question!) but also, I hope, humour and intelligent commentary.

What do you want to be known for?
Creating work that means something to others.

Which projects excite you most?
I love anything that requires a bit of research. The more articles and books I need to read for a project, the better!

What is your dream gig?
I’ve always wanted to design a Theme Park ride.

Where, when and how do you best create?
I know I ought to say “at my desk” but to be honest – At home on the couch, under a blanket with a coffee and my dogs next to me.

How has your style evolved since you started?
I am more confident in my drawing abilities now, so I am less likely to try to cover my own perceived lack of skills with too much detail and pattern and let the simplicity of the line art come through.

How has being an illustrator changed your life?<&
It’s what I always wanted to do – so it changed my life in the most positive way of all. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Name a tool you can’t live without!
My sketchbook

Tell us about a project you worked on that was meaningful to you as an artist.
I have been working (pro-bono) with Mental Health America for several years to create content for Mental Health Awareness Month.

What influences or inspires your art?
Everything I see and experience. Particularly books and other things that I read, people-watching, travel and of course, animals. Being aware and open to the things happening around me is inspiring because I never know what’s going to happen or where an idea might spring from.

What would you tell your younger self?
It’s OK to dream beyond what others expect of you.

Why do you think art speaks louder than words?
Art is universal – it’s unbound by language barriers and easy to access, enjoy and interpret from your own point of view.

What do you find most challenging in your practice or in the illustration industry?
It can be difficult to maintain a good work-life balance but it’s something I have been working on a lot recently. Also, carpal tunnel syndrome!

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