The illustrator and Element Eden collaborator on drawing as escapism, wishing she’d worked harder in school and the ridiculous power of trees
I think everyone can draw in some way or another. But as far as realising I had a style of drawing, that began at college, where I started doing these intricate pieces for print and that’s when I realised I’d found something that was natural to me and not something that was impossible.
Drawing is a very emotional thing to me, it’s a way of escapism. In the beginning my drawings were only in black and with cold/stark content, but now they’re free, colourful and fun, which just shows how being creative grows with you and I’m definitely enjoying the process more now, than ever before.
I get artist’s block all the time! But there is always something round the corner that will inspire the process again. There’s been a lot of tears, frustration and anger and that’s part and parcel of being self-employed, it’s hard work!
You can feel when it’s going to be a good piece, purely because I enjoy and get inspired by the project. Most of the recent pieces have been an malformation of random influences in one project, so it’s great to see what the final outcome is. But if it’s something that I’m not feeling, I get put off immediately and it will often enough end up an unfinished piece.
Every project that I work on, whether it be personal or freelance, I pass by my brother, as he can just say that’s good or that’s crap and I won’t argue with that. Both are great ‘positives.’ Both can guide and nurture your process. So I just take on board anything that can push me further.
Randomly trees have always been something that I’m drawn and connected to. Maybe it’s because of growing up in the countryside, endless playing in the woods, making dens, making rope swings, the connection is the air we breathe so it’s the most natural influence. The sea also holds an emotional attachment, purely for its endless beauty, it captures your soul. But photos can capture the wonders of nature you can’t see and coming from a family that take a lot of photos and film, it’s great to see nature in a different light.
What advice would I give my 16 year old self? Work harder on your education as it’s the most important tool in life. That’s the one aspect of my life that is a real torment to me, as I’m not academic. I struggled from a very young age with my Maths especially. School was difficult, so doing something/anything vocational was really where I felt I could shine. Having my daughter, Amelie, now makes you think and appreciate that to be good at Maths and English is key and cool! : )
I live in the East Midlands, in a small town in Staffordshire, near where I grew up as a child. Not where I pictured I would be living as an adult. But you can’t deny that the countryside that surrounds us is pure beauty and the only thing that inspires me living here. My dream to be near the sea is very raw and one I would love to make it a realty, one day.
I love heatwaves and rainstorms. The sun is great, it fills you with good vibrations and the rain cleanses you and washes the crap away.
I’m a big fan of blues and world music, anything that tells a story and is a visual experience is really inspiring to me. Catching up with friends, family and taking long walks in the countryside and travelling to unknown destinations is always a happy moment. Something I would love to explore more is using art to promote wellbeing, specific to mental health. It’s very close to my heart and it’s always something I’ve wanted to delve into, through maybe setting up a workshop and working with the local community. Who knows where your creativity can take you and that’s the beauty of it.