I have graduated! Hooray!
And, bizarrely, I got a distinction.
This was thanks, I think, to me becoming rather obsessed with my subject matter for the thesis-come-diploma-review; combined with me learning to “turn off [my] mind, relax and float downstream…” while creating illustrations for my Master’s project.
What resulted was an essay entitled Where the Wild Things Went, in which I delved into the use of picturebooks as a vessel for environmental messages, and two very colourful picture books called Terry and Somewhere out there, right now. These projects pushed up my squarely average marks of the previous year, so I found myself surprised – and a little faint – when the final results came through.
I do feel as though my artistic practice has taken a big step forward. Reluctantly at first, I shed my habits of tentative pencil drawing and rough paper cutting to become a fully-fledged digital illustrator. Discovering that I could work with shape rather than line came as a revelation to me – I now sculpt blocks rather than scribble!
I’ve also found a strange, quiet and shy inner confidence that pops out when I am making. It helps me to bypass the mean, noisy voices in my head that unfortuately are not so shy. It keeps me going when my motivation stutters. It bouys me up when, having put myself out in the world, I’ve been met with rejection, criticism or – even worse! – being ignored.
So thank you to this little shine of self-worth. And thank you to the supportive people in my life who have stepped in when there was no shine to be found. And thank you to my constant companions through the tough, lonely times of workworkwork: The Beatles, a fluffy guardian angel called Tiffin and a digital Indian boy that I sometimes got to meet in real life.
Now I have the excitement of looking forward. I am open to commissions and looking to get my work out there. So, if you like my work and want some of it, or you would like to help me get seen, please get in touch! Otherwise, watch this space.