Lauren recently created a 'My Creative Journey' blog tag and kindly tagged me to take part too, so I thought I'd take a little time out of my evening to sit down and have a think about my own creative journey as of late. And so the questions go...
What are you currently working on?
I'm not strictly working at anything in particular at the moment, but as ever I'm trying my best to stay busy. I recently bought a bunch of promarkers and posca pens in an attempt to change up my work a little bit, and although I felt a little out of my depth the first time I used them, I think slowly I've started to use them in a way that I feel is more 'me'.
How did you get started in your creative "area"?
I suppose this depends on what you'd class my creative 'area' as being. If my creative area is illustration as a general term, I've been drawing for as long as I can remember (specifically on the walls of the houses I lived in while my Dad was in the army – apologies to my parents who had a lot of redecorating to do upon moving out!) As a child I loved to copy my favourite Pokemon and dinosaurs out of my factual books. If my creative area is children's illustration, my interest in the area developed throughout my first year of university after completing a pro-cycling campaign aimed at children. Illustrators such as Amy Husband, Sara Fanelli and Lauren Child helped to spark my interest in the area and made me aware of the beautiful work that is associated with it.
How do you think your journey differs from others'?
I often feel like an imposter in the area of children's illustration as many authors and illustrators whose stories you read about talk about a deep love for children's books and literature from a very early age, but I can't honestly say that as I child I read all that much. Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of books and as I mentioned before I loved a good nosey through my dinosaur books, but as a child I was always very much into games: Pokemon, Spyro and Crash Bandicoot to name a few. Upon reflection, I think I've always been fascinated by and interested in characters and storytelling, which I suppose maps onto my interests in children's illustration now. Another difference in my journey I suppose could be a lack of direction until I got to university; I often think about how I wasted valuable development time while at college, but you can't dwell too much on things you can't change and should instead focus on doing as much as possible in the present, which is what I think I'm now doing.
What is the most important thing you have learned through your journey so far?
It's a massive cliche, but only so because it's true: comparison is the thief of joy. I've spent many a time down about my work because it doesn't compare to what other people are creating, but with time I've come to realise that it's a very toxic, counterproductive mindset to have. I follow a lot of inspiring people on the internet so I feel the pressure to create and improve in time with them, but there comes a point where I think you have to distance yourself from others and just get on with your own journey instead. Everyone moves and develops at their own pace, and really, there is no time limit on or definite measure of success, so go at your own pace, do all you can to grow and be happy, and in time, you'll get to where you want to be. While I have goals and aspirations and recognise that I'm not yet where I'd like to be, I can however see the progress that I have made and am happy that I'm doing all I can to pursue my dreams – if you're giving 100%, you've nothing to be beating yourself up about. You do you!
Where do you hope your journey will take you?
Ultimately, I'd like to one day be able to say that I've had both a successful in-house and freelance career. I'd like to work in-house at a publishing house because I'm hungry to meet people who share my interests, widen my knowledge of the picture book industry and develop my skills as both a designer and illustrator. I'd like to work freelance because I'd like a chance to work on some fantastic illustration projects and really push to create some work that I can be proud of and see used properly in the ~real world~; while working as a designer would see my designs out in the wild, I think seeing my own illustration work in the wild would just feel that little bit more special because for me, it's something that I think comes a little more from the heart. In my eyes, design exists to serve a purpose, but illustration exists to serve a personal urge.
I'd like to say thanks to Lauren for tagging me, and I'd also like to tag Jodie, Natasha and Polly to share their creative journeys! Of course anybody who I haven't tagged is also welcome to take part – the more the merrier! – so if you do decide to join in the fun please do drop me a comment below so I can check out your post, too!