Marion Deuchars

Illustrator / Author

Marion Deuchars is the best-selling illustrator and author of the ‘Let’s Make Some Great Art’ series, and one of Britain’s most celebrated designers.

Her iconic hand-lettering style has become recognisable across the globe. Marion’s books have won six international awards for design and illustration and she is one of six designers to represent the UK at the Helsinki World Design Capital Celebrations in 2012.

Born in Scotland, and now based in North London, Marion’s books encourage children to discover the transformative power of art in a fun and engaging way.

What role does music play in your day-to-day life as a creative?

I generally need music to work by and feel a bit stuck in the past with my music tastes. Some of the music streaming services are great for introducing new music, otherwise, I think I wouldn’t have moved on at all. However, music plays an important part in my life, it still makes me laugh and cry and surprises me and I can’t ask for more.

My husband Angus and I are always trying to make our kids listen to our favourites. Sometimes it works, other times it is poo poo’d.
I used to listen to much harder music whilst working, like The Fall, and Nirvana. I think I tapped into that energy and transferred it to my practice.

I’ve found in recent years it’s been a lot more eclectic and calmer. Quite a lot of folk and instrumental for example. There are some die-hard favourites that definitely get me in the mood for working though.

Tell us about your playlist:

Sinnerman, Nina Simone
This is one of my ‘start me up’ get to work songs. I find it shifts my distracted conscious into something more tuned in for work!

Caravan, Van Morrison
This is taken from one of my favourite films as a kid; The Last Waltz. I was kind of young to be watching this and appreciating it, most of my friends were into The Bay City Rollers, but I developed a major crush on Robbie Robertson after seeing this. Van Morrison (though he looks like Rapunzel character) was stupendously brilliant in this.

Personal Jesus, Johnny Cash
I’m a fan of early Depeche Mode and Johnny Cash, so this is perfect heaven. I love the simplicity and profundity of the lyrics.

Papa Legba, Talking Heads (Pop Staples)

So many great tracks to choose by Talking Heads, but I loved this film and introduction to Pop Staples who has the most wonderful sublime voice.

Hang on to your Ego, Beachboys
One of the bands that make me cry (happy cry)

Johnny’s Garden, Stephen Stills
I think Stephen Stills has one of the best voices and he is one of my most played artists. I love this track because
it’s based on a true story. The gardener was also Peter Seller’s gardener previous to Stills and is supposedly the inspiration
for the film ‘Being There’.

William, it was Really Nothing, The Smiths
The Smiths are a major part of my youth. I know lots of people find their music depressing but I’ve always found it
very uplifting and motivating.

Jolene, Dolly Parton
I think Dolly Parton is genius. I spend a memorable summer with a girlfriend on a road trip across the States with one or two cassettes in the car, this was the one that was on full blast all the time. This song I actually find incredibly moving.

And the Grass won’t pay no mind, Elvis Presley
This song reminds me of my teenage self, the good and the bad. It was written by Neil Diamond and he was another one of my secret
weird crushes when younger, a very guilty secret that my siblings used to blackmail me with.

Rain, the Beatles
The Beatles are part of our heritage. Every parent has to let their kids listen to the Beatles, forever and ever.

Blue Bell Knoll Cocteau Twins
The voice of an angel, and some of the best pop songs ever. She was a year above me at school. We were not friends but hung out in the same clubs and she beat me up once in the school toilets. I don’t hold a grudge!

Bridge, Orange Juice
Another local band I grew up with. My hometown in Scotland was a crazy hotspot of musical creativity in the 80s.
Edwyn’s dad used to teach my art school. His lyrics are so intelligent and clever.

L.A. The Fall
The band I’ve seen most in concert. Love them or hate them, can’t say I love the man, but he is an artist, no doubt
above it. Just check out these lyrics to prove it…

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
Uncanny, bushes are in disagreement with the heat
Ah ah ah ah
Uncanny person
They have filled boulevards with white snow, scum-ball
Ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah (this is my happening and it freaks me out)
Ah ah ah ah ah (this is my happening and it freaks me out)
Ah ah ah ah ah (this is my happening and it freaks me out)
L.L.L.L.A.A.A.A.A.A.A.A. (this is my happening and it freaks me out)

Conduct, Durutti Column
The music I work to the most. Mainly instrumental from the hugely talented Vinny Riley.
I’m a sucker for deep male voices and his music makes me cry when he sings his ballads)

Concrete Jungle, Bob Marley and the Wailers
We watched this version on Top of the Pops (an old repeat) with the kids and all loved it and had a renewed interest in Bob Marley. We play this a lot on car rides.

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Hang on to your Ego

  1. Sinnerman – Nina Simone
  2. Caravan (feat. Van Morrison) – Concert Version – The Band, Van Morrison
  3. Personal Jesus – Johnny Cash
  4. Papa Legba – Pop Staples Vocal Version – Talking Heads
  5. Hang On To Your Ego – The Beach Boys
  6. Johnny’s Garden – Stephen Stills
  7. William, It Was Really Nothing – 2011 Remastered Version – The Smiths
  8. Jolene – Dolly Parton
  9. And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind – Elvis Presley
  10. Rain – Remastered – The Beatles
  11. Blue Bell Knoll – Cocteau Twins
  12. Bridge – Orange Juice
  13. L.A. – The Fall
  14. Conduct – The Durutti Column
  15. Nature Boy – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  16. Concrete Jungle – Original Album Version – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Photo by Tom Dunkley