how to be an illustrator

I’ve always had this notion that because I didn’t study illustration or drawing at university that I must not be very good at drawing. That because I haven’t kept hundreds of sketchbooks over my formative years, bursting with mixed media experiments and little snippets of day-to-day life, that I must not be a real designer. I seem to have been thinking all these years that I am not that creative.

Recently, I have come to see that this is daft (like, really daft). A leftover symptom of not being groomed for art school, I have let myself think since the age of 17 that I am kinda creative, but not in the “right” way. What?!

It doesn’t help that I also seem to have this notion of it being “too late” to be an artist/illustrator/creative. That because I wasted all those years not keeping my sketchbooks bulging or that I let my visual diary slip I must have missed the bus.

But sometimes the busses are just running late. (Lisa Congdon didn’t start painting until she was in her 30s).

Over the last couple of years, I have been doing a bit of doodling, on and off at first, in various little notebooks I have accumulated over the years. I started to document these bursts of creativity on Instagram, which has been immensely satisfying. My Instagram feed has become a “life portfolio” of sorts, documenting the usual Insta-worthy life moments and my progress through my creative spells.

Instagram can also be a curse though. The hours of mindless scrolling, the comparing your work to others, the creative block that you are convinced can be solved by trawling through a particularly admired artist’s feed, right down to their first photo in 2012…

But I digress.

Luckily during the last couple of months I am finally coming to the realisation that everything I have been thinking is hokey. Of course it helps that I have kept up and increased the amount of personal work I’ve been doing (another realisation being that practise is absolutely everything if you want to get anywhere – seems obvious but it took me a while to get there).

But I AM creative. I CAN draw. And I WILL uncover my own style if I just keep it up. And I don’t see it stopping any time soon – it’s stopped becoming something I have to tell myself to do, and become something that I can feel itching in my fingers if I don’t get at least a couple of hours with a paintbrush or fineliner.

There is no right way to be creative! Just be creative.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.