We caught up with the lovely illustrator, Creative Director and blogger, Kelly Thompson to chat about her creative process and garnering a reputation as one of New Zealand's most internationally recognised illustrators.

Read our interview with Kelly Thompson and check out her favourite looks from our RUBY & Liam winter 16 collections....


RUBY Bunny Stole | $109 and Liam Galaxy Turtleneck | $159

Did you expect a career in illustration to take you this far?

I knew that I wanted it to go somewhere, but I never really realised exactly what you could do as an illustrator and the opportunities there could be. I definitely didn't expect that it would grow to me having my own agency and working as an art director. Some of my most memorable experiences would be winning the Escada pitch, speaking at Semi-Permanent numerous times. Taking the plunge to stop drawing all the time and launch my own agency, UNA was a pretty exciting step, I'm sure it will become memorable!


Liam Galaxy Turtleneck | $159

What’s your typical design process?

First, I ask as many questions as I can of the client, figure out what they actually want, ask for examples of things they like, show them things to figure out where their head is at. The most important things are to make sure you're on the same page at the start. Then I do research followed by super rough (and kind of terrible) sketches which I occasionally share on Snapchat so people can see how basic they really need to be. I always accompany these with references of my work so people can visualise what they are going to get. From there I revise the sketch if adjustments are needed, or I go on to tidy line work. Once done I resubmit, make adjusts or move to colour which I do digitally. Then Ta da!

For art direction and consulting the process is a bit more varied and longer. I always meet clients in person or we have skype meetings, there is much more researching, clarifying requirements, mood boards, sourcing of creatives, creative management. It's a bigger process, but I love it.


RUBY Bunny Stole | $109

What has been your most exciting collaboration so far?

I did a really fun event for Maybelline NY NZ a couple of years ago that involved me creating a face chart then flying to NZ and hosting a press day where I ran through the new season products and taught an art class with makeup, I really enjoyed using my skills in a completely different way. Recently with UNA we were commissioned to do the Formula E worldwide racing campaign, a project that ran for almost a year and was seen on LED billboards the size of football fields and all sorts of amazing media around the world, that was extremely exciting because it was just such a huge scale project!


Liam Galaxy Skirt | $199

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love taking some time out with pilates, walking by the river near our house with the dog and getting outside as much as possible! I've also just started a personal project called Everyday Girls and am about to do my first sketch for that. The project will be pretty big and run for a couple of years so I imagine so my spare time will be well stacked. I have also launched a new blog where I chat about the industry and creativity. I also try to support brands I love and people like me, who are just starting out

What are your favourite pieces for our latest RUBY & Liam Winter collections?

I've been wearing the Galaxy Turtleneck a lot! I really like how it's a little bit 70's with the golden sparkle as I'm going through a huge disco/70s moment right now. I love the velvet Bunny styles, the velvet Vampire Choker and the red Alpine Peacoat, it's such a good colour for dull grey winter days.


RUBY Vampire Choker | $29

Thanks Kelly x


Bring your RUBY girl to life with the colours of autumn and go in the draw to win a $1000 RUBY wardrobe...

R x K

To celebrate Orientation Week, we have collaborated with renowned illustrator Kelly Thompson to create our very own Colour Your Autumn colouring in competition.

Simply pop in store to pick up your RUBY x KELLY THOMPSON illustration, colour in your masterpiece and return it to any RUBY store by Sunday 6th March.

Please ensure that your artwork is labelled, with your name & contact details, so that we can let you know you've won.

If you don't live locally to one of our RUBY stores, you can post it to P.O Box 78261, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1245.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 15th March. Good luck! x


Competition closes at 5pm NZT on Sunday 6th of March 2016. Your $1000 RUBY credit is non-transferable and must be redeemed on full priced RUBY product by the 11th March 2017. The credit is valid at RUBY stores only. All entrants must include their full name and contact details with the artwork to go into the draw to win.

Kelly Thompson: W.I.P RUBY Illustration

Inspired by the sunburnt deserts of California, our RUBY Diamondsspring/summer 2014 collection launches in stores this Saturday July 12th. To celebrate, we've teamed up with talented artist and our friend Kelly Thompson who has created a limited edition cactus illustration for us - think Palm Springs!

Kelly's W.I.P series is back, with Kelly sharing her creative process for her RUBY Diamonds cactus.....

I was commissioned to do a pretty illustration of a cactus inspired by Palm Springs. My brief for this project was that the image would be on a simple neutral palette and had to include a pattern similar to the collection's key Baja print.

Baja Print 2

I began by figuring out with the RUBY team the level of detail needed in the print and the best kind of cactus to use. I sent through some examples of my other botanical work and also a selection of different cacti. Showing clients pieces from your own folio is a really great thing to do at the start before drawing anything, it can save a lot of time on revisions if you know the exact style they are after. From here I worked up my first sketch with some great references supplied by RUBY. This meant I was able to skip a round of rough compositions and move in to a more revised sketch.

Flower Sketch

After showing these to the RUBY team, simple revisions were made to include a little more shading on the pot and the addition of a second fallen flower.

First Sketch

From here we focused on colour and together decided that only the flowers would be coloured, so I sent through a revised illustration with an extra flower and my first round of pink colouring. To tie in with the collection I based the flower colours around the Ace spot print and created several tonal options ranging from an orange-based lolly pink to a peach.

Print Comparison

Colour Comparison

The peach option won all round and the image was signed off to be printed, completing a breezy design job.

Final Image

Thanks Kelly! Race into one of our RUBY stores from Saturday July 12th to get your copy of the limited edition print with every RUBY spring 2014 Diamonds purchase x