Five Minutes With... Vicky Dickson

What’s your favourite day of the week?

Working freelance means no two days are ever the same, and as an illustrator I get to do what I love everyday – so I don’t really have a favourite!


Tell us something people couldn’t possibly guess about you?

I used to figure skate competitively.


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When did you decide you wanted to be an illustrator?

I’ve always loved to draw, paint, write and take pictures, but I decided to turn my passion into a full time career in 2013 while I was traveling the Old Silk Road from Kathmandu to Istanbul.


And what did you want to be as a child?

A ballet dancer or a vet…


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When was your first experience of a piece of work that really affected you?

I don’t know about the first, but the piece that has most affected me was something drawn for me when I was crossing the border into Uzbekistan from Kyrgyzstan. After a lot of waiting around and one failed attempt to cross already, my friends and I were being thoroughly searched - there was an armed guard reading my diary and picking my computer to pieces, and as she continued to empty the contents of my backpack on to the table she came across my sketchbook; she rummaged further into my bag, and pulled out my pastels - what happened next surprised me, she drew me a picture…


What do you remember about that work? Why did it speak to you?

It was a simple line drawing of a flower. She smiled, gave it to me, returned my things and let me pass - it was a really amazing moment. Despite the fact that we couldn’t speak the same language, through this drawing we connected and understood each other perfectly. Right there and then, in the middle of the desert I realised the power of visual communication, and how - as cheesy as it sounds - a picture really can speak a thousand words. It now hangs above my desk in my studio and whenever I’m feeling stuck, it reminds me that things don’t need to be complicated to be effective; you can say a lot with just a few lines. The rest of the time it just makes me smile. 


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Have you been to any exhibitions this year?

I’ve just been to ‘Shoes: Pleasure and Pain’ at the V & A


If so, which one’s been your favourite?

Having only just returned to the city after the Christmas break, that’s it so far – but I’m really looking forward to the ‘Children's Books from Soviet Russia’ exhibition at the House of Illustration, which opens in May.


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Where’s your best kept secret place to visit?

Compton Bay (on the Isle of Wight)


What’s your favourite cocktail?

An “Old Fashioned Rum Punch”


If you had a magic lantern, what would be your three wishes?

I’d love to travel to West Africa, and to continue on my wonderful journey as an illustrator, and of course, I’d wish health and happiness for my friends and family! Oh, and to cook dinner for Levison Wood (oops, sorry - that’s four!).


To see more of Vicky's amazing illustrations, head on over to her website here...