She has been married to Adam for 26 years and they have two grown-up children, Jasper & Ruby who are currently living and studying in the UK. On both the maternal and paternal side of her family she has Jersey roots that run deep. After leaving school Rachel trained as a PA and worked like so many of us do in the finance sector before leaving to have a family.
She was incredibly fortunate to be able to become a stay at home mum, a role that she has loved and devoted most of the last 23 years to! Now that Rachel is officially an empty nester there is more wriggle room for pursuing other passions and dreams and that has been the genesis of Rachey Bean Scenes.
During our conversation, we explored Rachel’s sources of inspiration, discovered what she enjoys the most about the artistic process, and learned about her favorite spots for unwinding in Jersey.
Rachel, Can you please tell us how you got started as a hand-drawn digital artist and what led you to choose this field?
I have always loved anything creative and probably I gravitate most towards illustrative art. Growing up I adored making birthday cards and cartoons for family and friends; often with a healthy dose of humour. I was also taught italic handwriting and the fundamentals of calligraphy at school and to this day letterforms and letter art continue to fascinate me.
Alongside this, I have always embraced technology which is probably a spill over from my days as a PA. That era welcomed the early emergence of desktop publishing, windows software and this new fangled thing called the internet (I must sound like a dinosaur!). Branding, marketing and it’s design and creation together with the world of typography are all creative avenues within the digital and commercial world that I am very interested in too.
Up until recent years all of my drawings were made by hand with pen and pencil on paper and transferring them onto a computer required the use of a scanner. Now I have learnt to adapt the same drawing techniques but using an iPad and occasionally a drawing tablet.
I love the idea of creating something unique and handmade but doing that digitally. The beauty of designing digitally is the ability to reproduce that work many times and in many forms.
Your artistic name is Rachey Bean. Could you please share with our readers the story or inspiration behind this name?
Well, it starts with my son Jasper! You know when when your kids think it’s really funny to call you by your first name and not Mum – he decided to give me the nickname of Rachey Bean (specifically pronounced “Ray-shee”!). Anyway, it has stuck ever since and is quite appropriate as Jersey locals are affectionately known as Jersey Beans and so seems to be a fitting tribute as part of my business name.
Your beautifully colorful art features a range of iconic Jersey landmarks. What is the process behind your selection of the landmarks you choose to draw?
With my Jersey Scenes I always begin by taking lots of reference photos to get a composition that I am happy with. Using this as a basis, I draw my designs on an iPad with an Apple Pencil using the popular Procreate drawing app. I like to use drawing brushes within that app that have an ‘inky’ and textured look and I use subtle texture layers to give it the look and feel of a print.
When I first began designing my Jersey scenes they were a reminder of home away from home for my son who lives in the UK. The property he lives in there was a completely blank canvas and sits within an industrial city landscape. My vision was for a modern, minimal and artistic design that instantly evoked Jersey which also needed to involve his favourite colour – orange!
I wanted the colours to have a retro feel to them – the influence here is probably me being a child of the 70s! All of the landmarks I have chosen I have connection to and memories of spanning all the years I have lived in Jersey. Within each of those designs there is a motif – the landmark or point of interest is always white and the rest of the entire colour palette is the same.
What do you enjoy most about the artistic process, from conception to completion?
The challenge of designing something digitally to be printed has been a technical learning curve all of it’s own and I do relish this – the problem-solving and figuring things out can occupy me endlessly! There is nothing more satisfying than designing something and the anticipation of when it arrives on the doorstep from the printers ready to be unveiled!
The icing on the cake is if others love it too. An added dimension to this process has been the experience of starting a small business. I like how it encompasses so many disciplines eg logo design, branding, product photography, website design, managing social media, etc.
How does your typical working day look like?
It definitely does not begin until I’ve had a decent brew (always tea and never coffee). Seriously though my days are varied and that’s the beauty of Rachey Bean Scenes in that I can combine it with all the other things that I’m juggling in life at any one time. I do find a lot of energy goes into keeping up with content on my social media pages as that’s my main source of advertising and getting the word out about my products. I’m always balancing that with designing more scenes and seeing those come to fruition.
Are there specific artists or illustrators who have influenced your style or career?
I suspect influence has been on a more sub-conscious level as we are constantly bombarded with images all day long and no doubt by osmosis that seeps into our creativity. Certainly nowadays it is possible to follow a myriad of artists and illustrators online which is very inspiring and something which I do.
However when it starts feeding into comparison it can be the killer of creativity so I think as much as possible you need to try and be authentically you. I mentioned previously a love of cartoons (as a kid I was a huge Beano fan!) and I think it’s the simplicity and ability to make you smile or laugh that appeals to me.
Do you have any specific rituals or habits that help you stay focused and inspired in your creative process?
Not specifically a ritual or habit but I think like anyone I am inspired and driven by finding meaning and purpose to how I live each day. Personally I find that in my faith and it’s integral to who I am. I’m very thankful to be a part of a vibrant church community in Jersey where I also get to use and explore my creativity.
Where do you go in Jersey when you need to unwind?
Definitely near the sea – probably near any of the landmarks in my scenes. My latest design is of La Rocque Harbour which is a favourite of mine. There is a hidden bay behind the harbour pier called Robin’s Bay that is just gorgeous but don’t tell anyone that it’s there as it’s a secret! Growing up we didn’t have much in the way of things but we had a beautiful landscape and island to live in and enjoy – the same remains today and we are extremely blessed to live here.
What is a local dish you can’t live without?
I don’t get to have it very often but I adore Jersey beancrock (see – I’m a proper local!). There seems to be a variance in the exact contents of this dish from household to household so I’d have to clarify and say my Mum’s breancrock.
Where in Jersey / the Channel Islands can people see and purchase your art? Are there any ongoing exhibitions or any upcoming ones that you’re planning?
My artwork is currently only available on my website racheybeanscenes.com. All my designs are printed to order and delivered direct to the customer. Currently I deliver anywhere in the UK or Channel Islands but in the future I may expand that to global shipping!
The company that I use to print does so in the most sustainable/green way possible, even down to the inks used and I’m all for promoting that. As Rachey Bean Scenes is in it’s infancy as a business I am currently focussing on designing more scenes and products for my collection and promoting it online through my social pages.
All Rachel’s designs can be purchased from her website @racheybeanscenes.com. To be the first to hear news and latest offers please sign up to the Rachey Bean Scenes newsletter @racheybeanscenes.com/newsletter. Please do follow @racheybeanscenes on IG, FB and TikTok. She would be very grateful for any likes and shares!
Rachel also kindly offers our readers a 10% discount on he products using the promo code VB10 that will run until 31 Dec 2023.