The Inspirational Women's Series: Behind the Scenes with Helen Butler

10 March 2020
Ridley's Games' Inspirational Women's Series was dreamt up in-house, and illustrated by Bristol-based designer and illustrator, Helen Butler.

Featuring a 1000-piece Inspirational Women Puzzle, a Trivia Quiz and Playing Cards, the project required some thorough research and ingenious design from the Ridley’s Games team – and an intense month of drawing for Helen!

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, we interviewed Helen for a behind the scenes look at the illustrative process behind the products…

  

How did you feel when you received the request to draw inspirational women from Ridley’s Games?

 I was really excited to work on the Inspirational Women's project with the Ridley's team.  I love drawing portraits and I also happen to love jigsaw puzzles, so it was pretty much a dream project for me! 

How many inspirational women did you draw in total?

I drew 54 women in total, which took about a month to complete. It was quite a unique project.
 
 
 What’s your drawing process?

There are quite a few processes involved in each portrait. I do an initial sketch, then trace over it with pen and tracing paper, then I scan in my drawing and add colour and texture digitally.


What was it like, to draw all of those inspirational women?

Before working on this project, there were a few of the women who I hadn't heard of. It was really interesting to read about their achievements and what makes them inspirational. I hadn't heard of Yayoi Kusama before (Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation) but now I think she's extremely cool and I was pretty shocked to read that she's 90!

  

Who’s your favourite inspirational woman, in or outside the puzzle?

 It may be an obvious choice, but I find Greta Thunberg really inspirational. I can't believe she’s only 17 and has inspired so many people from all over the world to protest and take action against climate change. I find her confidence to speak to political leaders and crowds of thousands of people really inspiring.

 
Why do you feel that celebrating International Women’s Day is important?

I grew up thinking that football was for boys and jobs like a surgeon or firefighter were "men's jobs". So much has changed over the past few years and I think it's really important to celebrate International Women's Day, so that young girls grow up thinking that there are no limits to what they can achieve. 



Are you doing anything to mark the occasion?

I will be completing my Inspirational Women Jigsaw Puzzle, of course!
 
 
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