Interview with the artist: Courtney Brims

18th Sep 2019

Interview with the artist: Courtney Brims

Courtney Brims is an Australian illustrator who graduated from QUT with a degree in interior design before turning her hand to illustration in 2008. Her intricate pencil drawings are half daydream and half nightmare, drawing inspiration from her memories of growing up on 80s sci-fi and fantasy films, writing ghost stories and collecting dead insects. Often focusing on the concepts of reality vs imagination.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Getting to spend all day doing what I love, working from home, looking out over my garden with a cat on my lap.


Please tell us more about the project you’re discussing with us:


We created a wallpaper design that’s a little bit whimsical with hints of darkness, showing the beauty and brutality of the natural world.

What influenced you for this design?

Initially I took inspiration from William Morris’s beautifully intricate wallpaper designs. I studied quite a few of his designs to get a feel of how all the elements fit together and flow seamlessly.

I wanted the design to appear to be a pretty English cottage garden with tulips, camellias and bluebells but with a subtle sinister feel to it, incorporating rats, snakes and fragments or hair and bones.

How long was the process from the idea to the finished work?

The original artwork took roughly a month to draw up and then maybe a week or two to work out how the design would all tie together and look seamless when repeated as a wallpaper design.

Apart from the design featured above, are you working on anything else exciting that you can talk about currently?


I’m working on a very exciting project at the moment but unfortunately it’s still in it’s early stages so sadly I can’t spill any details yet. I also have a show coming up towards the end of the year in the US which I’m thrilled about!

What were you interested in when you were a child and how did that lead you down the path to where you are now?


Since I was a kid I’ve always had a massive love of animals. I was absolutely obsessed with dinosaurs at one stage and was determined to find a fossil in my backyard so would spend hours digging holes in our driveway. I remember feeling so sad that they were extinct.

I think that has stayed with me and it’s devastating to see a species disappear. If I can raise just a tiny bit of awareness to how precious and diverse the natural world is then I feel like my work has some purpose.

What design tools, equipment or softwares do you use?


I use coloured pencils and smooth watercolour paper to create my artworks. I’m starting to incorporate watercolour and pan pastel into my works as well which has been a great learning curve.

What are your favourite places or things to do, to get inspired or destress?


If I’m ever experiencing a creative block or the piece I’m working on is starting to overwhelm me I go for a walk. It’s the simplest thing but it works every time for me.


What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job?


With working from home it would definitely be procrastination.

Are there any particular tools, methods or approaches you use to help with this particular challenge and how does it help?


I try to set mini deadlines everyday so I feel the pressure to sit and do the work instead of gardening or cleaning or cooking.


Often our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness, what is yours and how does does it affect your work?


Perfectionism. It’s both a curse and a gift. It means I often strive to do the best I can with my work but at the same time it can mean I spend far too long trying to get my work to a level that for me is unachievable.

What do you believe or like to do that many people may think is crazy or unusual?


I don’t like to listen to music while I work. I find it too distracting so I tend to stick to podcasts instead.

If you had a quote, proverb or a mantra printed on your shirt what would it say?


‘You’re enough’. Simple, but I constantly need to be reminded of it!


Where can people find out more about what you, and how can they get in touch?


Through my website, or on Instagram @courtneybrims 

Back To Nature 'Original' Coloured (pictured above)

Back To Nature Parchment (pictured above)

Back To Nature Purple (pictured above)

Back To Nature Red (pictured above)