A lot of people ask me how long I have been doing art for, whether it was something I studied or started as a hobby. It’s a hard one to answer because it’s always been a part of my life, but I suppose my real passion for creating art started in 2012.
I blame/thank instagram for the start of my journey. When I got the app I noticed a huge art presence, with people easily sharing there sketches. I was inspired by an artist called Dan LuVisi (check out his work, he’s amazing!), who does incredibly detailed digital paintings. I particularly liked the work he did painting famous childhood characters such as Donald Duck, and the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, a series called Popped Culture. The paintings were dark and twisted but really inspiring.
My first instagram post was based off a similar theme, a drawing of Snow White as a zombie! It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t particularly nice to look at, but it was a start. I proceeded to draw a few more Disney horror-style images: Clockwork Orange Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland crossed with Hannibal, along with others.
I used to enjoy drawing people when I was little. When I was 13 I remember my art teacher commenting on my self-portrait and said I had a knack for capturing faces. After a few cartoon-style drawings I moved on to portraits. I started with a drawing of Liv Tyler as Arwen from Lord of the Rings. I was really proud of my work, it was the first real portrait I had drawn in years.
Looking at it now, I see so many areas for improvement. The likeness is there but no depth, something seems off. But this process took me a year to work out! I continued drawing portraits, following other artists, I moved into the world of coloured pencils (see the parrot image above) and paints. Painting was amazing, I could go over a mistake without ruining my paper, I could blend and mix and create new tones. Practising with new mediums and techniques had made me improve and I didn’t realise. Until the day I went back to my Arwen drawing a year later…
The changes were subtle but made a huge difference, I was proud of myself for spotting them. I was proud with how far I had come. I still am now! I now see things with this image I could change and improve. I have an urge to paint it now, to show the differences colour and texture could make to the image. Maybe one day I will.
Many artists will agree you never stop learning. You never stop training. These days I challenge myself to try anything, different mediums, different painting styles, different subjects. I’m trying to paint landscapes and animals and movement to step out of my comfort zone. My next mission is to paint my first series – have a theme and stick to it. I’m also going to try painting on a large scale – canvases and boards nearly 2 metres across.
For anyone starting out, or in the middle of your career, or even at the peak. Keep going, keep experimenting and never stop learning.