The Turning Point
I made a hard conscious decision after my hiatus of being a bit disillusioned with what I was doing (2012-2017). In retrospect, I was a jack-of-all-trades character with no real specialism and during my years at University, the tutors gave us versatile briefs that allowed experimentation, not necessarily in the media used, but the subject. I was always flirting with the fashion-meets-comics realm, but fashion illustration itself was very loose (it still is now) and didn't really attach itself to anything.
I got magazine commissions as soon as I graduated from University, but they were mainly portrait type images - the ones that demonstrated action or movement I wasn’t really happy with either, so I guess I was just drawing ‘stuff’. In my opinion looking back, there isn’t much spice in an image when your job is to communicate visually, and you fall short because the characters’ action could have been done better.
If you strip back the drawing (colours, backgrounds, bells and whistles) you can still achieve action - and it probably works better graphically in black and white! I realised I had to do this more consistently, but my main problem was the genre - I was dabbling in food, fashion, cosmetics and fiction for novels. Whether they were good or not wasn’t the issue; I wasn’t really happy because I hadn’t reached my comfort zone.
See, when you’ve mad a bit of money straight out of uni, you don’t necessarily think about doing the riskier option. There wasn’t many (if any) illustrators who drew women that had work in the public eye, and the risqué element didn’t help either. I was always inspired by the way REEG drew women and that is what he’s known for - he was always telling me to go for it.
The message here is to draw a lot, but also to stay true to yourself and draw a lot of what gets you out of bed in the morning with excitement.