Growing up I lived a long way from anywhere which, I think, forced me to be creative— I’ve always been interested in being able to make something out of nothing, or very little. It was also the first thing I ever felt good at!
I moved to Leeds to study Visual Communication at Leeds College of Art. During my second and third year I interned for Lord Whitney — a set design/art direction/magical team. It was so beneficial for me, not only to be around people who were making a living out of design, but also to be around their positivity and humour. They got me one of my first real life jobs which was doing some sign lettering for a cafe they’d been commissioned to do up (I managed to spell one of the words wrong!) but it led to getting more paid lettering work for pubs and bars in Leeds.
After I graduated I still felt really unsure as to where I fitted in within the creative industry and how to label myself. I planned to stay in Leeds and get a part time job while continuing to build my portfolio, which is what I did for the next 2 years. I’d spent most of my final year at uni studying sign painting and lettering techniques but the more purely typographic based jobs I did the more I longed to draw, so I kind of found myself starting all over again. I’m really glad I did as I needed to work through that to figure out it wasn’t solely what I wanted my career to be. However, it’s become a vital tool within my illustration practice and I still apply those skills in my work.
I was desperate to get out of the retail/hospitality cycle and searched for any foot in the door within a studio or creative job, but naturally got rejected as my portfolio never really fit with anything and I lacked the professional experience. For those 2 years I felt pretty downhearted — I left Leeds and moved back in with my parents, got a another part time job and spent every day drawing. 3 years later and I’m earning a living out of it!
I’m a freelance illustrator, I create images based on ideas people want me to communicate that are applied to a range of different things. I also work on personal art projects which often takes a more tactile approach creating fabric banners, prints and other objects.
For me it’s been a journey of combining processes that connect with me — but my work isn’t always the same. Sometimes my technique is more painterly, sometimes it's more graphic and clean. I think having a style can be a very consuming notion for a young designer but personally, I believe if it’s coming from a learned and considered place that is yours then that will show through, even if you work in different ways. For me my style is about my use of layout and how I build up and construct an image even if they look stylistically different.
Probably the same thing I’m still telling myself today — you don’t have to please everyone. Follow your instincts, embrace what connects with you and it will connect with others.