Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Starving Artist

I have been working as a freelance illustrator for almost three months now. I enjoy what I do and feel incredibly lucky that I have the opportunity to do it with the incredible support of amazing family and friends. The job itself, like any other, has its ups and downs.

Illustrators are by nature, generally quiet and introverted people. They spend a lot of time working alone, whether at home or in a studio, where they lose themselves in the creative loveliness that comes with being an artist. It's great. I really like this aspect of the job. I currently have a studio space  as oppose to working from home as I feel more motivated when I'm away from distractions slash Netflix. Working in a studio is a lot like being back at uni, you have your own creative space but also have others around you so it doesn't feel so lonely.

I've been lucky enough to have had a pretty consistent stream of work since I went 'full time' freelance. However, I have noticed a trend from a few clients which, sometimes makes me question why I bother. This is the business of payment. Or in some cases, lack of.

Unfortunately, there is a trend in which a very small minority of clients will be reluctant to pay for work done. It's happened to me a couple of times now which is just a really frustrating process. Not being paid for a job is one of the most disrespectful things that someone can do to an individual working in this industry. Think about it, in any other every day scenario. It is essentially like hiring a plumber but not expecting to have to pay for the service. Or going into a shop and leaving without paying. Even worse is when they say things like "I can't afford to pay you right now but it'll be good experience," "it'll look great on your CV,' or my personal favourite "it's a great way of getting your name about." All equally horrendous for any creative to hear, I'm sure.

I knew when I started out, that with any business, freelancing is a risk. Unlike in a 'normal' job, you don't have the luxury of a guaranteed wage. Some weeks are better than others, naturally, but at the end of it all, illustrators still have bills to pay just like everybody else. Studio rent, materials, printing and postage costs can't all be paid for by 'experience.'

The comfort (for lack of a better word) to all of this is that I know that I'm not alone. I'm sure anybody working within the arts/creative industry will have experienced this at some point. Artists, actors, dancers, musicians. At times it can be pretty unfair. That is the sad truth about the nature of the business. The passion and drive to do something that you really love is ultimately what keeps you going. Would I give it all up tomorrow?

Probably not.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ongoing Story Project

I'm currently working on a children's story that has become a bit of an ongoing personal project alongside everything else. I've developed the story from an idea that I had whilst at uni (many moons ago). There is still quite a long way to go with it but so far I'm pleased with the way it's looking. For my masters degree I studied children's literature and my thesis was all about bibliotherapy and how books and stories can help children to come to terms with difficult situations. I really wanted to work on the premise of this for my own story. It encompasses a lot of different emotions but primarily focuses on the idea of someone suffering from depression and anxiety. I'm using a lot of colour and light and shade to represent this notion as well as looking at size and scale (the main character in the story is a giant). With other work pretty much all up to date at the moment I've had a lot more time to work on it and am really starting to immerse myself into the story making process. Below are a few photographs of some of the artwork that I've done so far.

Valentine's Day

So I've been a bit behind with my blog posts lately, mainly because I'm just useless at keeping track of stuff. It was Valentine's Day recently (about a week ago). I had a lovely time doing various crafty things and also making an illustration of a baby elephant blowing a heart bubble.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Baking Days

On Monday I had a break from illustrating and had a baking day.  I love baking and find it so therapeutic, especially on a grey, cold wintery day. I made cheese scones and plain sweet scones from the Be- Ro recipe book.

Little Mermaid

I watched a documentary recently about the making of Walt Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' and it made me want to draw one for myself. She brightens up the studio :)

Personalised Children's Stories

I've been working on some personalised children's stories after completing a lovely commission a couple of weeks ago.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Illustrated Reading Bags

I've recently designed some illustrated book bags. This is something that I've wanted to do for a while and I was quite pleased with the initial outcome.

Je Suis Charlie

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Lessons from my Grandma

Almost four weeks ago my grandma died. Even writing that sentence feels very surreal, like I'm writing it for somebody else. For the majority of my adult life I've known that the reality of losing someone I love was inevitable but as a child you feel like your grandparents and even your parents are indestructible. 

I had watched her fade away from the beautiful, strong lady that used to pick me up from school, take me on magical day trips to the countryside and teach me how to bake. 

In truth, I am completely heartbroken. I feel as though my childhood has died with her, and nothing will ever make it right. 

Grief is a strange feeling, it almost creeps up on you when you least expect it. One minute you're fine, the next, a trigger of a memory can have you uncontrollably weeping in the toilets of a supermarket (yes, this has happened).

I miss her so much. Sometimes so much that I feel like I can't breathe. 

As the weeks pass, I'm constantly trying to remember all of the little things. 

Her voice, her perfume, her laugh. 

I've found that losing someone close has made me more conscious of my own life. It's a cliche to say but life really is only a finite number of days. Some get longer than others but ultimately, the choices we make and the life that we live defines who we are. If this whole experience has taught me anything, it's that life is precious and all that really matters is to be happy. 

If you hate the way in which your life is headed, then change it. 

If you love somebody, tell them. 

When you break it down the answers are simple. It's just that life has a funny way of complicating things.

I'll cherish every moment that I spent with her. I'll treasure her memory, her wonderful wartime stories and all of the precious things she taught me. (Although I am yet to master the art of crocheting, despite her best efforts, sorry gran!)

The best thing we can do is to look after each other, be good people and pay it forward. 

Life is too short.

I'd like to dedicate this post to my darling grandma, I'll love you forever.


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Illustration Friday- Invention

My illustration for this weeks Illustration Friday based on the theme of 'Invention.' :)

Monday, 5 January 2015

New Year, New Studio

So after years of wishing, I have taken the plunge and have gone full time freelance with my illustration career. At the end of December I left my job and got myself a studio.

Here's to 2015! (Hopefully!)

Framed Character Designs

The following were specially commissioned pieces which were drawn using coloured pencils and then text added using pen and ink. 

Character Designs

Some examples of book spreads and character design that I have done using coloured pencil and pen.

Blank Greeting Card Designs