“…to us, they’re the Jay Z and Beyonce of Creative Works!”
Harriet Gillian is one half of creative duo Harry Writes, Matt Draws and a freelance 2D Flash Animator in her own right. Harry and Matt’s collaborations are sometimes satirical, reliably silly and always fun. Quite often, they’ll take a serious political and social issue like the election of Donald Trump and inject witticism to create something entertaining and meaningful.
Harry also happens to be one of Creative Works’ inaugural members, joining back in December when we first opened. She’s a much-loved part of our creative community and has seen it go from strength to strength. Her husband Matt is also an animator — to us, they’re the Jay Z and Beyonce of Creative Works!
We caught up with Harry recently to quiz her about the creative process, why she likes coworking and what she loves most about E17…
Hello Harry! So what inspired Harry Writes, Matt Draws?
Well we’ve both been working in animation for around a decade now. The ultimate goal with our company is for me to write more: short films; children’s books; writing in any shape or form, really. Matt will focus on the visual aspect, so he’ll design the short films and illustrate the books I write.
At the moment we’re still very much operating day-to-day as two animators. We’re working on our own projects for separate clients and together for joint clients. When we became Creative Works members we’d just started working on a big project together — Matt was illustrating and I was animating.
Being at Creative Works for the past three months has been perfect for that!
What’s been your favourite project to date and what did the ‘creative process’ involve?
Ooh, tricky! Last year I did a really fun job for Nickelodeon’s new kids version of Takeshi’s Castle. I was animating someone else’s brilliant designs – which I always prefer – creating about 30 different emotion-lead loops. They were used in the title sequence and throughout the show and included my fav, a head-banging nigiri (sushi).
Were you working from home before Creative Works?
We were actually working from different studios but there were times when we did. Matt doesn’t enjoy working from home because our cat has a tendency to harass him. I’m not exaggerating — she’s pretty bad! So we thought we’d give coworking a go. We did the free trial before Christmas and signing up was a no brainer.
It’s so close to our house, we don’t have to get on the tube, it’s really light and airy and everyone is just so friendly. It’s worked out perfectly for us and it’s flexible.
When choosing a workspace, was flexibility the most important thing?
At the moment it is because some of our clients ask us to work in-house, so it’s not like we can commit to a year or something solid here. It’s perfect for when projects come up for a couple of months or so — like the one we’ve just finished!
It’s great that you live so close and can avoid the dreaded commute! How long have you lived in Walthamstow and what do you love most about this part of London?
We’ve been in Walthamstow since 2012 — almost six and a half years now. We knew almost nothing about it before we came here. A couple of our friends bought a flat in the area and said: ‘come to Walthamstow!’ We were like ‘oh, okay…where is it, what’s there?!’
They naturally took us to the nice fancy village first, then a few other places. We could just about afford it so decided to make the move and over the years it’s just got better and better. We love places like Mirth Marvel and Maud. Speaking of which, it’s going to be refurbished soon and will hopefully open as a big venue.
It’s a really nice place; you can get away from the city and just being able to walk to work in 20 minutes is a godsend. Not having to get on an overcrowded, noisy tube makes you realise the negative impact that has on your day.
If you were to pick just one venue in E17 that you’d recommend as a ‘must-go’, where would it be?
Hmm. Well I’m a little bit in love with Wood Street Coffee. Since we’ve been at Creative Works that’s been our go-to lunch spot. Their soup and toastie combo is cracking, I have to say.
They provide the coffee for Creative Works, right?
They certainly do!
It’s so good — I like that place a lot.
Final question: If you weren’t an animator, what would you be?
My backup option has always been to be an interior designer. (When I was 16 I told my parents that I wanted to be an international buyer for Habitat.) But I pretty much want to do and be everything, all the time — it’s a bit of a problem! But interior designer or something animal-related would be my second choice I think.
Thanks so much Harry – we’ll have to try that soup and toastie combo soon!
You can keep up-to-date with Harry’s work at harrietgillian.com.
Next week, we’ll be chatting to Jim Green from music PR agency, Mystic Sons.