Drawing on the Landscape: Meet Guest Illustrator Padhraic Mulholland

With his website listing his inspirations as “adventure, bikes, the outdoors and folk history”, Northern Irish illustrator Pádhraic Mulholland was destined to paint the pages of issue 31. Watch his time-lapse video below, as he breathes life into the magazine in under a minute, and read on for his influences and tips for wannabe explorers. 

 Portrait by Ragnhild Jaatun.

Portrait by Ragnhild Jaatun.

Tell us about your style.
I like to draw quirky characters and lots of nature and landscape. I use a mix of painting, drawing and collage, something that  developed out of necessity. When I went  travelling to Norway I hadn’t quite found my style yet. Without my computer I had to work with what I had, which was acrylics from the local shop. I find traditional processes very relaxing and enjoyable. It’s nice having my computer to be able to fix things though! 

You studied in Falmouth. Did Cornwall  influence your work?
Definitely. I went not particularly interested in the outdoors, although I’d virtually grown up outside! I had lots of freedom growing up in Northern Ireland but didn’t realise how that differed to other people’s childhoods. I began to ride a bit more, and discovered an active community of swimmers and cyclists. 

Tell us about where you live now. 
I’m on the north-east coast of Northern Ireland. I’m seeing it with new eyes. It’s a landscape of glacial glens, upland bogs and lush green fields, leading down to the sea. It’s really special. In Norway, people are inspired by the landscape and that motivated me to start making things, just using what’s around me to the full. 

Who inspires you? 

My grandad is a massive inspiration. He was very active, and took our family to do things such as walking or bird watching. After he died, I realised the family didn’t do that as much anymore. He’s partly why I decided to have my own adventure after my first year of university. I had £100 and four days and I wanted to get as far into the Hebrides as I could. There was lots of rushing to catch  ferries and so many different things to see. I became hooked. 

How do you reconcile your love of the  outdoors with the necessity of sitting at  your desk and working? 
I do a pretend commute. Working from home, I’ve no commute so I always make sure I go out for a half an hour run or a cycle each day. And I try and use the weekend to switch off and go out into nature. Part of the reason I decided to be a freelance illustrator was to give myself the freedom to do that.

Any advice for aspiring adventurers?

Something I learned in Norway: never leave your house without a pair of gloves and a hat.