How did you get into illustration?
I think a lot of creative people realise that as they grow older they always remember that they were quite creative when they were younger. This normally starts from painting or drawing, I was really into that, all throughout school all I wanted to do was art. I wanted to go straight to university and study art, so that’s what I did. I got into Goldsmiths to study fine art and history of art, but it was really conceptual, I was automatically creating boring looking things that were based on heavy theories, it was really interesting to research, but it wasn’t very visually stimulating for me. I’d always be doing drawings on the side and my friends would see them and be like "these are really good, why are you not doing that for your practice?" I didn’t think my tutors would like them, it wasn’t conceptual enough. After time I realised that it was illustration that I really wanted to do, so I started studying it instead.
How is it going?
Yeah its good. I made a website, put some of my stuff on instagram and people started to really like it. I got a message from someone saying they wanted to buy one of my pieces, so I did a commission for them. It was like poster size! And I’ve had a few more people who are interested in me doing more commissions. My next step is to maybe try creating valentines cards.
Who inspires your work?
I do quite grotesque drawings that are somehow comical, kind of like David Shrigley’s work, I contrast that with using quite cute animals as my subject matter, and I use water colours. Quentin Blake is a big inspiration, my work is quite sketchy and expressive in the same way that his is. A lot of my stuff is done really quickly, but its planned. I will do lots of little sketches and build up to the final one. I think about it a lot before I start to draw, I create little landscapes of imagination in my head.
Tell me more about the animal side to your drawings.
I find animals really interesting because even though they’re really cute, they are also really grotesque; they rip up other animals to feel themselves. That is not cute but it is part of what an animal is. I like showing these two sides of them through my drawings.
How did you go about creating illustrations to go with the photos I took of you?
When I am working I just like to get out all of my pens and paper and start to draw. I do lots and lots of sketches and the work just starts to come organically. With this however it was a slightly different process, it was more thought out. I looked over the images first and thought about how I could adapt them into drawing, I didn’t want to make it too literal though, you don’t want to end up with an exact copy! I used similar colour schemes and focused on the dreamy atmosphere that you created in the photos. That helped me to generate more drawings. Even though my illustrations are animalistic, I was imagining myself as the animals; I was the bat in the drawings.
With regards to your artwork, what do you want people think when they are looking at your work?
I think there are a lot of things actually, because some of my work is quite ridiculous and also grotesque. I want to remind people that a lot of cute illustrations are a bit false, they are putting on a façade. I like to remind people, not in the clichéd way of ‘oh what a horrible world we live in’, but I want it to bring people back to a weird reality, I’m not trying to hide anything, but I like my work to be open to interpretation.
I’ve noticed that you do a lot of art with the snapchat app on your instagram, can you tell me a bit more about this?
I got introduced to snapchat when I was on the Love Magazine shoot by one of the set design guys. We were waiting around and he showed me the app and explained how it worked to me. I downloaded it and realised that I could draw on top of the photos you can take with it ,and I started to use it as a form of a creative output. It started getting out of hand; I was taking photos of everything! haha
That’s definitely an unusual way of using it!
Yeah it allowed me to see things really imaginatively. I think it’s a really nice tool for that. I think people see things like instagram, vine and snapchat as something that’s ruining our society a bit. Like we don’t need to see pictures of you eating every meal, everything is seen, everything is documented now. But I also think they are tools that can enable you to think creatively and I like to think I’m using them in that way. We should be using them creatively; it’s good for your brain!
You’ve made a blog for your snapchats now right?
Yeah, it’s called snapchatdiary.tumblr.com. I’ve put all of them up on there, I see it as just another form of drawing. We should be drawing everyday, even if you think you cant draw.
That’s good advice, I don’t draw enough, but then I don’t think that I can! Maybe I should try and draw more.
Everyone can draw. There are varying stages of natural ability, but its just shapes. when you’re a kid you learn how to draw a triangle, a square and things are just made up of shapes. That's good practice, but not even just to become good at drawing, it’s a nice creative output.
What are your dreams for the future?
In the future I definitely want to start a children’s book. I’d love to start doing that and for it to be successful. It would be great to find somebody to collaborate with on the writing side of things. Also, I think it would be really fun and kind of ridiculous to do my own take on an illustrated Karma Sutra book. It would be really funny. Maybe after the children’s book.
Photography & Interview by Cleo Glover.
Illustrations by Dominic Myatt.