Written by Standard Issue


SIM Illustrated: Harriet Carmichael

We’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of illustrators at Standard Issue and thought it was about time we got to know them a bit better as well as admiring their work. In the last instalment of our series of profiles, allow us to introduce Harriet Carmichael.

julieName: Harriet Carmichael

Age: 35

Location: London

Official job title: Actor

What was the first thing you wanted to be? Hairdresser and panto dame.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist/illustrator? After uni, I was in two minds about applying to art college or drama school. I chose drama school but I’ve still got a hankering to go to art college one day.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? I once left my swimming bag in the playground at primary school. At assembly that morning the headmaster said he hoped no one would be leaving for swimming on the bus without their trunks. He then picked up my bag, plucked out my spare pair of pants (favourite pink bunny knickers) and held them up, to the utter hilarity of the assembled school. It was excruciating. He’d probably get arrested for that these days.

storytellingDuring my audition for drama school we were encouraged to spend 15 minutes as ‘ecstatic pandas’. I must have responded surprisingly well to the instruction, “Scamper, Harriet, scamper” because they let me in. I spent the next term mostly ‘being’ a brown cow in animal studies (cows don’t do much scampering, luckily), and the class in which we lay on the floor, banging our hands up and down, murmuring “yes, yes…”, in order to achieve a ‘truthful’ orgasm, was also a highlight.

restorationWhen you’re not working, what else do you like to do? Doodle, make podcasts/think about making podcasts, practise funny voices and hang out with my kids.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? My The Archers-themed podcast, Shambridge. It may only be little, but it’s entirely my own production.

What would you like to erase from your past? A commissioned portrait of a friend’s baby that made her little darling look truly hideous (and very old). Our relationship has never been the same. I’ve steered clear of drawing babies since.

What brings you the most joy? Being in Italy, swimming outdoors, drinking prosecco, and watching my kids run round noisily with their cousins. Preferably all of it.

What makes you angry? Farage, faith schools, four by fours…and Jeremy Clarkson.

greyfriendsProfessionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Shirley Hughes and Posy Simmonds for pictures, Julie Walters, Victoria Wood and Celia Imrie for acting/comedy, Judith Kerr for spirit.

Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? When my son was born, I definitely swooned (but that could have been the 48-hour labour and abundance of gas and air).

How do you define success? Being creatively fulfilled (though an award or two would be nice).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Always look on the bright side of life.

What’s your favourite photograph? (and can we see it?) They’re all on Facebook, so be my guest: https://www.facebook.com/harriet.carmichael?fref=ts. I should probably change my privacy settings.

superheroWhere did you go on your favourite holiday? When I was little, we’d go on family holidays to Dumfries and Galloway. I remember it only as sunny (though in reality I think it mostly rained). We usually stayed at Sandgreen Caravan Park. It felt totally magical to be so close to the sea and I was obsessed with the rock pools and pretty pastel colours of washed-up mussel shells.

Who can’t you live without? My kids and the cast of The Archers.

What can’t you live without? Radio 4.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Surviving drama school, passing my driving test, my children.

Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? Queen: Don’t Stop Me Now.

toiletOf all the illustrations you’ve done for Standard Issue Magazine, which is your favourite? Julie Andrews (with juice) for Rebecca Humphries’ ‘Fighting January and winning’ [see top of page] brings me joy because I’m such a Julie fan and it was a brilliantly uplifting article for January.

I was spoilt for choice for drawings for ‘There’s a hole in my bucket list’ by Amanda Wilkie. Drawing Cheryl Cole’s bum and mum was good fun and the image of Amanda not being able to wee in peace resonated strongly with me.

I find myself in that predicament at least once a day and before I start screaming/crying I think of that picture and remember I’m not the only one!



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Written by Standard Issue