Behind the brush with Lisa Illustrations in Thanet

Lisa McGuinness worked in the shoe industry for over two decades before lockdown when her love of illustrating all things fashion and life took over and she founded Lisa Illustrations.


Lisa’s love of portraiture and storytelling is brought to life using acrylics, watercolours and ink. With her background in commercial fashion, Lisa’s illustrations translate into dynamic posters (most recently commissioned by Southeastern Trains), publishing, advertising and branding. With so many exciting projects going on, we had the pleasure of speaking with the Thanet resident to find out more about her wonderful artwork…


Can you remember your earliest memory of painting and what/who inspired you to pursue your passion and start Lisa Illustrations?

I loved painting in the garden as a kid, I can remember painting the pathway and literally myself, and my mum hitting the roof!

I’ve always been into colour and decoration. Before I started painting, I was a shoe designer for nearly 20 years working for some really interesting clients but lockdown really impacted my career.

As an outlet for creativity, I started painting and then sharing them on Instagram which is when things started to take off for me and Lisa Illustrations really began.


What has been your career highlight so far?

The career highlights for me to date have to be a poster design for a music festival featuring Zaho de Sagazan; a famous French singer. My work exhibited at the Turner Contemporary and the recent Southeastern posters are also major highlights.


Do you have a favourite topic you like to paint the most?

My favourite topic has to be people and social commentary. I love to tell stories through my illustrations. Sometimes real and sometimes from my imagination.

Your beautiful Southeastern Trains posters have been commissioned and look fantastic! How much did you enjoy this project and how important is it that you can work on illustrations that have an impact on your community?

I love my home town, as a BFL (back from London) I feel I appreciate more what our Isle has to offer and so the SE rail project was a dream project.

I felt truly honoured to be commissioned to celebrate the towns. They all offer something different, each have their own communities and attractions.


What advice would you give to someone looking to also get their work out there and for those worried about the world of AI, is this something you’re personally worried about?

My advice to budding artists and illustrators would be to paint what inspires and interests you. Your art will find its audience.

In a world of AI your personality cannot be artificially generated so let that be your guide. Social media etc. is great as a selling tool but don’t allow it to dictate your style.

How can readers keep up to date with your latest work and also purchase your artwork?

My work can be seen on my Instagram page @lisaillustrations, can be purchased via my website and, locally, at Memento in Broadstairs and Lizzie Fright (McGillan and Woodell) in Ramsgate.


Do you have any future projects in the pipeline?

Currently, I’m enjoying my new studio and working on private commissions.


What do you enjoy most about living in Thanet?

I enjoy the beach and the sea, the open space is the best feeling.


by Matthew Hemmings

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