Hello! This page is for students or others who are looking for information about my work and process.
Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time available at the moment to answer individual questions, so I have answered some FAQs below.
I hope you might find some of this information helpful for your research. Thank you for your interest in my work!
What is your inspiration?
My style is in part influenced by traditional painters, but I would also say that it is a product of experimentation with digital art over the last few years. I love the vibrancy of colour that you can achieve digitally, and by combining that with inspiration from traditional artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Les Nabis and several Expressionist artists I have found an approach that helps me to communicate my ideas most effectively.
That said, I'm a little rusty with my art history these days. I'd say my current work is made very much in the moment, following creative instincts and experimenting - looking for happy accidents. That said, I'm sure even without realising, these instincts are influenced things I've seen day-to-day that have inspired me!
Another key inspiration for my work, which started quite early on, is recording everyday life through drawing. I do say this a lot - I mention it in most interviews! It remains to be one of the core elements of my work. I often make sketches when commuting or wandering around cities, where there's endless interactions and interesting moments to capture. By taking time to be still and observant while everyone is busy going about their day, you realise how much there is to see.
While studying at university I learned about a practice called Reportage, which involves sketching people and places on location, immersing yourself in and interacting with the environment you are observing. One of the key artists who brought reportage to the scene is Feliks Topolski. Through researching Reportage, and trying it for myself, I realised more and more that this way of working was really interesting and motivating for me. By spending time in the surroundings that you want to draw, you're better able to capture the feeling of a place, I think.
How do you generate ideas?
A lot of my initial ideas come from a combination of real life memories or experiences. To help me build these ideas into a fully formed piece, I refer to my sketchbooks which contain observational drawings. I often use these as starting points for characters or settings in my work. Some pieces stay similar to the original sketch, while others divert completely! Either way, it is helpful to have something tangible from which to grow an idea.
What medium do you use?
Although I do often work with traditional materials, a big part of my personal and professional work revolves around digital art. I use Photoshop and digital brushes to create a lot of the bright artworks you can see in my portfolio.
I love to use gouache and acrylic when working traditionally. With acrylics in particular, I find I can create translucent layers of colour which reflects the techniques in my digital work. I like to experiment and see if I can bring aspects of digital techniques into my traditional work, and vice versa. So at the moment, acrylics are probably my favourite traditional material.
What is your process with digital art?
The process with my digital work involves building up many layers of colour. I like being able to use translucent marks, letting colours shine through each other. I think techniques like this help to create more depth to the image, and contribute to the painted look. By working with the light from the screen, you can create really punchy colours that you may not be able to create with paint. I'm always exploring and experimenting with digital tools to see how far it can go.
Why do you like to work digitally?
When I have an idea for a piece, I like to work on it continuously until it's finished. I like to work fairly quickly, and digital art suits that pace well. Especially when it comes to client work with quick turnarounds, there are benefits to a medium that has no drying time!
I like being able to use translucent layers, letting colours shine through each other. I think techniques like this help to create more depth. The ability to remove and add layers easily allows me to experiment more freely, without limitations that you may face with real paint. By working with the light from the screen, you can create really vibrant colours, and I think it has encouraged me to be more experimental with my palettes.. I really enjoy exploring and experimenting with digital tools to see how far it can go.
What influences your choice of colours/colour palette?
Sometimes the colours I use are partially influenced by the palettes of The Impressionists. They have an incredible way of using colour to build mood. I try to do the same, by focusing on the mood I want to convey and then boosting and building the colours that will give that effect.
When creating work I like to move away from realistic colour, and instead focus on the mood I want to build.
Drawing upon memory also allows some room for- through remembering or mis-remembering
What do you aim to communicate your art?
The emotions and idea I put across can vary from piece to piece. Sometimes I don't know exactly what the main mood will be, it emerges as I go along. I am aware that there's a certain sadness or melancholy that people pick up on sometimes - this could be explained in part by the fact that inspiration can strike during the more challenging times in life.
A lot of my pieces contain a bit of a tangle of moods and feelings - much like life! I think part of my process is to not overthink the outcome and outside perception. I am always aware of the potential viewer, as I do share a lot of my work online, but I try to keep that balance of holding onto the raw inspiration and energy of creating something, and trusting that instinctive feeling.
Do you struggle with motivation to draw sometimes? How do you deal with it?
Sometimes creative blocks need time to play out - it's best not to be too hard on yourself, I think! I do usually try to find another creative outlet to help me stay productive. So if I'm feeling fed up with digital drawing, I'll move to painting for a while - or even a completely different material such as needle felting. I like to make sure I'm still making things in one way or another, that helps to reduce the 'block' feeling.
Sometimes I feel like I need to explore a new direction in my work, to avoid getting too comfortable in one place. However, it takes motivation to take this step. My go-to solution is to just go out and draw from observation, visit a new place and look for interesting scenes to capture. I find that by changing the subject matter, the technique also shifts as a result.
Do you have a favourite piece you have made?
There's not a straightforward answer to this! I tend to change my mind, and of course it's easy to be quite critical of your own work. That said, looking back I have a particular fondness for the piece 'Amber'. This is less so to do with the technical aspect of the piece, and more so because it reminds me of a very specific time. When I look at that piece I am immediately reminded of what was happening in my life when I made it, and the memories of that era. It's become like a vault that my memories are attached to.
What advice would you give to people who want to improve their drawing skills?
I really do say this a lot, but sketching from life is a really great way of improving drawing skills. The more time you spend drawing from life, naturally the better you will be at observing and drawing from memory or imagination. Also, observational drawing helps you to capture movement, and as a result the pieces you make will look more alive too.
What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators/animators?
When starting to form your own creative career path, I would say it is very normal for the journey to be a bit wobbly and uncertain. There’s no set amount of time it’s supposed to take to reach your ideal goals. I have found that keeping busy with personal projects, and keeping all my blogs and sites updated with fresh work has helped me to feel like I am always making an effort to get my work out in the world.
I’ve also found it helpful involve myself with various creative projects that are happening locally, whether it’s working as an assistant in a gallery, selling work at a market stall or helping out with creative workshops. All of these things can help you to further build your skillset for jobs later down the line, or simply just to keep occupied and be involved in something creative. You may end up discovering more avenues for yourself too.
I guess the key is to be open minded, while keeping an awareness of what you enjoy most about illustration, and trying to find opportunities that are somewhat related to your main interests.
I’d also say as a side note, that it’s worth making the effort to seek out people that are enthusiastic about the way you work, and your ideas. Building a community of creatives around you that are positive, encouraging and have a good work ethic.
Your experience may be straightforward, or a little complicated. It’s not something that you can really compare to other people, because everyone is coming from different angles and situations. It’s your personal journey to make, and as long as you're clear on your goals, that's the main thing!
Also I think it's important to give time to your creative work, whether or not that is in a professional capacity.