It's not you

May 23, 2018



Hi guys.


I'm having one of my "sleepy days" where I feel a bit ... sleepy.


But I am self-employed, so we need to get on with it! And while I feel I cannot lean over a tablet and draw perfect colour combinations with the perfect brush texture thickness for the next couple hours, I can sit (slump) back, do admin and type up a blog post that I've been thinking about lately, because my mind doesn't stop when my body does. Thanks to my uni days, I don't even need to look at the keyboard when I type.


So this blog post is about earrings!




The title may not have made sense in the beginning, but I'm about to explain it, and hopefully that explanation makes sense. And the earrings too. 


When I went for the interview for my one year illustration course, I had my style in hand. I worked each night on my own stuff during the course, and had a portfolio that I sent out at the end of the year to agents, with lots of realistic pencil drawings. 


I had a strong style. Realistic, graphite, coloured digitally, detailed, smooth texture, refined. Quite static, unfortunately.


This meant I kept saying one thing when I thought of a different idea for an illustration. "I can't do that, it's not my style. It's not me." I hated saying this, and I felt more trapped each time the words came out of my mouth. Which is the reason in the end for why I ditched realism. But I still said it, because in my mind, I couldn't draw a happy watermelon spitting seeds at it's rival orange. Or a cosmic brain floating around confused planets. I had so many ideas in my head about editorial concepts and clever social comments, but they were all notes written down with no image attached. Because I couldn't create that image. "It isn't me". 


I got less and less realistic when I started creating some greeting cards as a side business, because I needed some physical thing to hold in my hands and sell when I wasn't getting clients in the digital internet world of illustration business. I was able to attach a different business name (Ferne & Co.) which meant I could pretend to be something else. I could experiment. The less realistic, the happier I was. Don't get me wrong, I loved sitting and drawing a pet portrait for hours, and making it seem exactly like the picture while bringing out its personality where plagiarism wasn't a concern, but for commercial work, I felt the pressure to not just show a reference image, but I couldn't do much else if I was hyperrealistic. At best, it was a collage of royalty-free reference images. 


It was only really when I started looking at artists like Poh Ling Yeow that I saw another way. Not only do I think she is an amazingly lovely person, but she did whatever the heck she wanted. She has a recognisable art style, but she also does other things if she wants to. She banged dints into her fridge to create an image because she wanted to. She uses her bird's feathers for art because she wanted to. And so on. Seeing people like this, artists as creative as opposed to art from an artist, was mind blowing. It meant I didn't have to be restricted to this one style of art. Maybe that's all I would show commercially for a particular venture, but then in my own time or for my etsy shop, let's see where the wind blows.


So, that's why I do whatever I want. I threw away the "it's not me" attitude and I have fun. Because I am a creative person. Whether that be with illustration, art, writing or making little physical thingys. And so I made some earrings.


I used to make a lot of earrings when I was a teenager, and my mum was the recipient 100% of the time. I'm not sure I ever kept a pair for myself. I don't think anyone else was doing it, and I'm not sure how we found out about the materials, but using some of my dad's hobby tools and some cheap jewellery supplies, I would make some very amateur looking beaded drop earrings. I loved it though. 


I've also been doing a bit lately with wood. Whether it's to cut a wooden painting surface to size, or build a storage unit for art supplies, I've been getting used to the tools required. So a few days ago, as a much needed break from illustration work, I sawed some mdf to random little squares, sanded them, drilled a hole in them, sealed the wood, attached the jewellery earring things to them, and painted them with little (mainly cat) illustrations. It was fun, and it was me. 




I guess the short story is do whatever the hell you want, because if you don't, why not? (obviously not talking about murder or anything.)


The earrings are currently on my etsy store.

What else is going on? I'm moving soon, not exactly sure when, but in the next few weeks, so that's exciting. I have a children's book and a zine idea percolating in my head. I'm currently working on one last digital illustration and them I'm going to do some pencil work and then a painting because I can now. And it feels great. 


But mostly, I am going to stay slumped here on the lounge because that's pretty much all I'm capable of at the moment. :(




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