A few days ago I did a call out for questions from my Instagram followers, I picked a few of my favourites and here are my answers. Hope you enjoy! x
Are you a full time artist?
Yes I am happy to say that I am! I will of been doing this full-time for 2 years come July. Before then I worked part-time in a Jewelry shop in Brighton. It was only when we moved to Hastings that I could afford to put my all into my artistic career as I didn't have such expensive bills to pay every month. Brighton is a pretty costly place to live - not quite as bad as London but not far off! I literally moved cities so I could be an artist.
Are you going to make self designed wedding invitations?
Yes I am indeed! Ollie (my future Husband) and I are doing one of our collaborative drawings for our wedding invitation. I'm doing a black and white ink portrait of us and Ollie is going to illustrate the background with things that represent us as a couple. Here's a sneak peak! Ollie's about to start the background after a brainstorming session! We actually offer this as a product so if you would like us to design your wedding invite get in touch.
If you were to follow a different career, what would you do?
Being an artist is honestly my dream career, but a few years ago I did toy with the idea of being an art therapist for a prison. I'm fascinated by true crime and psychology so that coupled with art seemed like the perfect marriage of things I enjoy. I'd also LOVE to do set design for period dramas, films or museums. I would of loved to of chosen the fabrics, props and wallpaper on Marie Antoinette or sourced all the antique toys for The Woman in Black.
How do you have the work ethic to work completely from home and on your own hours?
I think this comes more easily for me because I love what I do so much and really want to make a success of it. It really doesn't feel like work for me. But I would also describe myself as a pretty hard working, committed person and I have a very strict routine which I think is key. I plan my week out and try to stick to it fairly rigidly. I usually get up, go for a run then get to work. Other than stopping for lunch and taking the dogs for a walk I usually work through till 7.30 when Ollie gets home. I used to get lonely working at home on my own but I've gotten used to it now and quite like my own company. In the future I'd like to rent a shared studio but it all depends on my finances.
How many pieces do you complete per week, or how long on average per piece does it take to complete?
On average I would say I paint or draw around 4-6 pieces a week but this is really dependent on how big the piece is, how complicated it is and how good the photograph I'm working from is. I tend to work on multiple pieces at once so I don't get bored or overwork them. Time wise for each piece, for example, an A5 painting that's fairly straight forward takes me around a day to complete. A large square Pawtrait could take up to 4 days if it's complicated.
Poor quality photographs really slow down the process as I often have to Photoshop multiple photographs together, use others for colour reference or spend time making amendments which could of easily been avoided. This is why it's so important the photos supplied are high res and accurately show the colouring and features, as it directly effects how much work I can take on (and therefore how much money I can earn.)
How do you capture so much detail in your work?
I usually block in the colours first and work back into them using very thin brushes, slowly build up layers of detail such as fine hairs. I think it also has a lot to do with using Gouache as it dries so flat, meaning I can really push the levels of detail much further than say if I was using Acrylic paint, which has a more textured effect when you layer it.
Again, how much detail I can include is really dependent on how clear the image I'm working from is, as it's extremely different to make up things that aren't there.
What advice would you give to an artist wanting to start commissions/freelance work?
I can only speak from my experience and I'm not an expert but there are a few things I would advise. Firstly, make the work you want to be commissioned for and make a lot of it. I started by painting friends and family members pets for birthdays and Christmas presents - that's how I got my first few commissions. Get yourself a good website and a way for people to easily pay you. Love what you do, because sometimes it will be hard. Money will be tight and self doubt will be rampant. A lot of people would give up but those who don't I reckon succeed. If you don't already, listen to the creative pep talk podcast. It's full of advice on how to build a creative career.