Tuesday, 19 August 2014

being creative | blog hop

a snippet from my desk

last week i was tagged by lauren over at ohhay! to take place in a blog hop that featured some questions appropriate for creative folk, so i thought it'd be nice to take part and give myself the chance to properly reflect on the way i think and work as an illustrator as i approach my final gear of my degree (gulp!)

what am I working on?
in general, just myself; the way i work, think and organise my time when i don't have terrible deadlines breathing down my neck in particular. this summer i've kind of come to a creative halt and i don't even have a good explanation as to why. part of me thinks it's because of the hectic nine months that was second year left me feeling as though i needed a solid break, but then when i attempted some kind of break i felt guilty, so altogether it meant i was half heartedly churning out some pretty crappy work and then getting frustrated when i wasn't pleased with it, and then all the more frustrated when i just couldn't seem to allow myself the break i was desperate for! it's been a weird three months so far, and i'm really hoping to get myself into a more focussed, positive mindset for when i start back on my course this october. i'm at a point where i'm beginning to freak out about the future because i'm nowhere where i need or want to be, and i know my time's running out before i graduate and should ideally be where i want to be. speaking realistically, i know as a creative we're never fully happy because we're just terribly awkward in that way, but i don't feel that come graduation i'll be where i need to be in order to jump straight in with a creative job, but rather will need to take some time out to further refine my process, technique and style to ensure that my work's of a high enough standard, both for industry and myself. i feel that it's gonna be tricky, mentally, physically and financially, but, as is said in toy story 2, "you can't rush art," and i'm slowly learning to accept that fact. people spend years refining their illustrative styles, so i shouldn't beat myself up over the fact that i still need a bit longer to refine mine. 

rambles aside, what am i working on currently? i've just finished up a commission for a blog header, button and youtube banner for a lovely blogger, so when her new design is up and running i'll be sure to feature that somewhere on my blog. as you've seen, i've been pretty into playing with clay lately, and i intend to keep playing, making more dog breeds, and hopefully even branching out into cat breeds, too! lastly, i have a children's picture book story idea sat in my head (and my sketchbook) that i'm saving to use as a third year project because i'm just so terribly excited about it and feel it could become a really successful project for me if it progresses in a fashion similar to how it already has. i also have a list of some mini projects to try and get through before i start uni again because i feel my portfolio needs sprucing up a little, so with a bit of kick hopefully i'll complete some of those, too!

how does my work differ from others of its genre?
in all honesty, i'm not sure that it does, but it's something i'm extremely conscious of. in previous university projects i've worked in 'safe' styles that i felt were reflective of industry, because, of course, they looked similar to what already existed, and i've noticed that there's a lot of illustration around that looks incredibly similar. of course this doesn't diminish the talent of these illustrators, but i think for illustration as an artform it's not really helping to push boundaries or help it to expand, which is generally what makes way for exciting new ideas and work. in my last module of second year where i wrote and illustrated a picture book, i came slightly outside of my comfort zone and attempted working in an organic manner that felt natural and somewhat unique to me, and overall i'm pretty happy with the outcome of it; it's not perfect, but for me it's a step in the right direction. if i were to try and verbalise what i'm attempting to work towards with my work, i think i'd describe it as the love child of gemma correll and lorna scobie's work. i love the character, humour and expression present within gemma's work, and i love the gutsy, childlike, brave mark-making in lorna's work, and i feel that i want to express character and humour as loosely and naturally as possible within my own pieces, and so take inspiration from their work on a daily basis by keeping up to date with their twitter and instagram accounts. of course it becomes kind of tricky when you say you 'take inspiration' from other illustrators because then arises the question of copying, but i think i could safely say that my work doesn't mimic either of their styles, however upon inspection you could probably derive that they were sources of inspiration for me. 

how does my writing/creating process work?
as much as i struggle creatively from time to time, there truly is no better feeling than when the ball starts rolling for a new project. for me, writing and illustrating happen simultaneously; i usually begin with a small idea that i'll jot down, begin sketching it, the sketch will then present new ideas that i take notes of, and so on and so forth until the images and words exist as two separate entities. for me this is the probably most natural and efficient way of working, because often images can inspire words that possibly wouldn't have made sense to just exist verbally. when writing a story, i've learnt that it's what the words and images can say within themselves as well as supporting one another, so i've really learnt to have fun with narratives and the sub-narratives that exist within them and the tiny idiosyncrasies that exist within sketches that help to build up a character to make it as exciting and unique as possible as a storyteller. in terms of my illustration process alone, however, it normally goes in such a fashion:

sketch idea > love idea > develop idea with colour > internal self doubt crisis > scrap piece and mourn its beginnings in my sketchbook

i still struggle quite a lot with my illustration process and i think i give up a lot more than i should allow myself to, but as i addressed in the first question, it's something i'm working on, and in time, i'll get there. 

why do I write/create?
drawing has always been something that i've just done, and it never went away. i was somewhat misguided up until i turned 19 about my creative direction (the fact i chose to study graphic design at university says it all!) but luckily once i realised what made me tick it all turned around quite rapidly. for me, drawing's always been one kind of outlet for any particular ideas i've had, but i also find that it provides me with enjoyment and can help me to relax and unwind when i need to just clear my mind of things. as for writing, it's something that i've only really developed a particular interest in since getting into picture books as they helped me to open my mind to the content within them and the topics they tend to cover, and it highlighted to me that i can express thoughts and ideas in a concise, passive manner that has purpose, rather than getting into long, heated rants on an online blogging platform as i had done in the past. oops! i guess finding my interest in picture books was something of a natural progression for me, and it also means that now my ideas and my drawings can come together in a format that suits both them and me. 

i'd like to thank lauren for tagging me to take part in this, and finish up by saying that i tag whoever is reading this that would like to complete it; i think the term 'creative' is so broad, and i think it'd be interesting to see who may go on to share this based on their creative interests! so please, if you decide to complete this yourself, do feel free to leave a link to your post below in the comments so i can check it out myself :)


  1. Glad that you decided to take part in this and carry it on. Your answers were very indepth so it's nice to see how your head works when going through an illustration or piece of work! I totally sympathise with you on the process though, I'm totally the same.
    Lauren // OhHay Blogs!

  2. just discovered your blog, absolutely love the layout - its so pretty and unique!

    anna from www.styleskittle.com xx

  3. really loved reading this post, it's always really fascinating to see how other creatives approach & reflect upon their practice.
    Reading about how you go through the creative process was really relatable, and it also shows why your works is so good because of how much you love & care about what you do :)

    I decided to give it a go myself:

    Jeanette Curious Minded Girl