Camilla Ackley talks illustration, NYC and The Nightshift before Christmas
Camilla Ackley has a day job in publishing, runs women’s lifestyle site Into the Fold and still finds time to hone her talent for illustration. Fresh from drawing six different types of traveller for our ultimate Christmas gift guide, we caught up with her to talk books, travel, and what’s on her Christmas list.
When did you start drawing, and what do you love about it?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember. I’ve always loved art but I started doing digital illustrations about two years ago. I initially wanted to be able to do artwork for articles for the online platform I run, Into The Fold, but it’s grown and I now do it on a freelance basis alongside my full time job. I love being creative in general, but it’s also a kind of meditation for me. I’m not good at sitting down and relaxing and drawing forces my mind to focus on something that is innately calming.
What do you like drawing most? How would you describe your drawing style?
I usually draw people and I think it’s so fun to see the ways in which different drawing styles and colours can convey a mood and personality. I like to combine a fairly realistic portrait with abstract elements – whether it’s chucking paint at a portrait I’ve done, or using unexpected lines and shapes. Honestly, it’s mostly about having fun and trying new things usually. My drawing style is colourful and relaxed – I’m less focused on making something as precise as possible, and more interested in getting an emotion or attitude across.
You’re a book fiend – have you got any on your Christmas list? What’s next on your reading list?
I am such a book fiend – I work in publishing by day so am lucky to always know what’s coming up. I really want to read Adam Kay’s new book, The Nightshift Before Christmas and finally get around to reading Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams.
What’s on your Christmas list?
I’m dying for some good loungewear, so I’ve wished for a classic The White Company robe and some cosy slippers. Also, give me all the scented candles. Scandinavisk do especially lovely ones, and there are a few of those on my list too.
Are there any Antler products that you have your eye on to buy as a Christmas present?
Definitely the Clifton overnight bags. They’re the perfect size for a weekend getaway, and I love that they slot over the handles of bigger suitcases. They’re pretty classic and timeless too, so an easy thing for anyone to love.
What are you up to over the holidays?
I’m lucky enough to be heading off to the Caribbean for two weeks with my family, so I plan on doing absolutely nothing other than read and sleep (and, crucially, eat all the Christmas food).
Where in the world are you happiest? Any tips for visiting?
The Danish countryside in summer – nothing is better when the weather is good. Any town along the northern coast of Zealand is lovely, but especially places near Helsingnor. If you do find yourself in the area (or even Copenhagen) be sure to pop into Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. It’s my favourite art gallery, sitting right on a cliff overlooking Sweden.
What’s your favourite photograph that you’ve taken whilst travelling?
There’s a photo of my mum and I in Union Square in New York from a few years ago. It’s snowing like mad and we’ve both got huge grins on. I love that photo. New York at Christmas is a little miracle.
What’s the most surprising thing you always pack in your hand luggage? What do you never leave home without?
Two books. Always. You never know where you might get stranded and I have a habit of getting through a whole book in a few hours, so I always have a backup.
Where’s on your travel hit list for 2020?
My boyfriend and I both like the sound of Stockholm – being half Danish I’m obviously biased to all things Scandi. I’d also love to head back to Marrakech to get some great homeware for the flat I’m moving into in the new year. The interiors bits and bobs there are so unique and affordable – just be sure to bring an extra empty suitcase to fill!
Podcast or paperback?
Paperback! There is nothing quite as good as curling up with a book on the sofa.
Train or plane?
Train – I’m a bit of a nervous flyer and it’s better for the planet.
Cut it fine or leave plenty of time?
Plenty of time – this drives my friends mad, but I will force everyone to show up 3 hours before departure.
Sightseeing or sun lounger?
Sightseeing – even if it’s just walking around aimlessly, it’s the best way to discover a new place.