What did you learn and how did you develop as an artist at university?
I’m a recent graduate who studied illustration at Falmouth University which was probably one of the best environments anyone could ever ask to develop in. Before going to university I already had a very set drawing style which was mainly black and white and was all done in fine liner with barely any colour – it had more of a fine art feel to it than illustration, and being at Falmouth meant I had to break that down, strip everything back and start again. This did prove to be a massive struggle for me and at one point I didn’t think I was good enough to continue the course but the tutors there are honestly some of the most supportive I have ever been around and they really taught me how to use colour and not be afraid to take risks and so I really embraced my time there and I honestly don’t think I could have developed the style I did if it wasn’t for being there.
What was the best part about studying at Falmouth Uni?
The best part about being there meant going to New York and showing massive clients like Vice and 3×3 your work, where you would get really focused feedback and as soon as I got back to the UK I took it all on board and tried to really bring my work together a lot more and realised how inspiring architecture is, which is why I created my New York piece. This piece of work really felt like a landmark for me, it was finally something that I thought “yes this is how I want my work to look to an audience.”
I found your work at New Designers, what was the most exciting bit to come out of your show there?
The Selfie Phenomenon, which was a project I showed at both New Designers and New Blood, and was fortunately lucky enough to be chosen by the Creative Review and JCDecaux’s Talent Spotting Showcase 2015 where 20 graduates got chosen to have their work shown nationwide. I thought I would include this in the images I have sent to you because it was one of the most exciting things to have happened straight after finishing my degree and seemed somewhat unbelievable.
What recent projects have you been working on?
Recently I have been working on an image for a collaborative project to do with helping the environment and focuses around the idea of stopping people from using plastic bags and so instead are selling tote bags for a pound in order to get people to help the environment. I was invited to design an image for the tote bags which involved me drawing animals which is really something I never do and so it was quite interesting for me I suppose? I usually stick to buildings, figures and environments as it’s something I much prefer but this was actually really fun!
What areas of illustration do you hope to work on in the future?
My main interests lie in editorial because I always think you manage to get the most interesting images out of them. I also really love fashion and so the idea of being able to work on advertising campaigns with some sort of fashion house would be my absolute dream. Anything that I can apply bright colour, pattern, shape and an element of design to is perfect for me and I’ve even found that children’s books (although not what I had originally expected to like) are something I could really see myself enjoying.
How did you become a member of YCN and what have you been commissioned for as a result of being on the website?
I am currently a member of YCN and am lucky enough to have my portfolio showcased on their website which has meant I am able to say my first ever commission was for the Financial Times Magazine which was amazing. It was an article about Gastropubs and so I had to draw pubs and food which was bloody great as they are both things I love! This was really important for me as it really gave me a taste of how the professional world worked in terms of being a freelance illustrator.
What inspired your double page for my book?
My colouring book pages for you were inspired by my summer holiday I had in summer. I wanted each page to contain an element I enjoyed most about the holiday, which is obviously why there is just one page full of people lying down doing nothing because I felt like I’d been on my feet for a full 3 years doing my degree and being able to do nothing for 2 weeks was bliss haha. When I was drawing this image it was the first time in quite a while that I had actually gone back to hardcore drawing and it was really good for me because it meant I pushed myself a lot on what I was doing. The other half of the image that is in black and white of the buildings is supposed to be the part I enjoy most which is walking around and discovering things – I actually much prefer this page and can’t wait to see how people colour it in!
How does your interest in social media materialise in your work?
Being on holiday also inspired me to draw other images like tourists flouncing around trying to maniacally take pictures of everything but not really looking at anything. Social media is a big thing for me and my work and a lot of focus tends to lie around it. It’s interesting because we are obviously in a day and age where it can be detrimental to a creative’s career, but then you see how much it takes over some peoples lives and I love trying to wrap my head around it and create solutions to it through illustration.
How do you try and evolve your style?
I am constantly trying to recreate and evolve my style because I think it’s incredibly important not to get stuck or comfortable in what you’re doing and so I always try and develop the way I draw the figure. Fashion has a huge influence on how I create my pictures and so I always try and do portraits just as little fun experiments! It’s also good to do just to let everyone know you are still working, because I want the world to know I am still drawing and I am still enjoying it and that I am really serious about it all and not just getting lazy, but it does get hard difficult running out of inspiration.
What are you working on next?
I have plans for an upcoming project which I don’t want to reveal just yet but I feel like it’s something a lot of people my age can relate to. I tried for ages to think about something that would be “cool” or “appealing” or about something I love. It’s hard to stay inspired straight after your degree and I think it’s a really important time to keep pushing – especially when you are just working a job you don’t want to be to pay the bills. Ideally I would love to work freelance and be working within a company too.
You can colour Ana Jaks‘ art in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion alongside that of 40 other international artists. Funding on Kickstarter now! Make sure you grab a copy or two, it makes a fantastic Christmas gift!
#ameliasccc, Adult Colouring, Amelia's Colourful Colouring Companion, Ana Jaks, Coloring, Colouring Book, Creative Review, Falmouth University, Financial Times Magazine, Holiday, illustration, interview, JCDecaux's Talent Spotting Showcase 2015, New Blood, New Designers, The Selfie Phenomenon, YCN
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