Bett Norris was always in trouble at school for doodling during lessons, by then she discovered illustration. After completing her degree, she continued to develop a range of skills including graphic and web design. Currently she creates work by fusing traditional drawing techniques with digital technology.

Where did you train and what did you specialise in?

I studied Illustration at UWE in Bristol. My tutors really encouraged me to experiment in lots of different areas, but I developed an interest in portraiture and editorial illustration.

What's your favourite tool?

I like clutch pencils. They give a really solid line and ensure I’m too precious about what I’m drawing.

What techniques to do you use most?

I create all my work digitally, which sometimes surprises people. First, I’ll draw multiple layers on paper using a light box, and I’ll scan these into my computer. I then use Photoshop to assemble my work, as I like the control working digitally offers. I can spend hours adjusting things, so they are exactly how I want them to be.

What’s your favourite piece you've created?

The work I am most pleased with is my Treasures series, which focuses on inspirational women throughout history and the things they treasured.

What kinds of materials do you work with?

Pencils, ink and occasionally crayons. Sometimes, I use a graphics pen and tablet to colour digitally.

What (if any) computer packages do you use?

PhotoshopInDesign, Illustrator, Muse and Dreamweaver.

Which clients have you worked for, and where have you exhibited your work?

I’ve produced work for a range of clients including The Fostering Foundation, The Ardagh Charitable Trust and Pandora Publications. I’ve exhibited at Room 212, Urban Outfitters, and ShoP in Bristol.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by everyday life and the mundane, people and their experiences, and by small objects and artefacts.

Favourite websites / blogs?

I use Pinterest a lot as it’s so easy to collect inspiration and share with others. I also like the blog Book By Its Cover as it often features unusual books and publications.

Is there something about the main image on the right that seems, well, not quite right? 

It does indeed feature a major temporal paradox worthy of Dr Who: despite its 1950s feel, nestling at the centre of the photo is an iPhone. It sits snugly in one of a new series of iPhone cases by accessory maker Proporta, designed in collaboration with vintage clothing brand Lalita.

The Photoshop workflow to attain that antique look was devised by Proporta product designer Graham Boyd, who also shot the photo. The steps he outlines here will allow you to use subtle effects to create an effective image, he says – and smart use of a series of techniques and layers should deliver results quickly and reliably. 

As Graham says, it adds a new dimension to digital photography.

Time to complete

20 minutes


Photoshop CS4 or later