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Welcome back fellow artists and art lovers!
I’m unbelievably excited to be sharing another segment of my Artists from Around the World interview series!
This is one of the many exciting projects I’ve been working on behind the curtain, and I hope these interviews inspire aspiring artists out there to keep pursuing their passions, as well as help get amazing artwork in front of people looking to buy from or hire amazing creatives.
One of the things I love about being active in the online world, is that it enables me to connect with other art lovers and passionate creatives around the world. In the short amount time I’ve been working on this site,my YouTube channel, and sharing my work on social media, I’ve been able to get to know amazingly talented people that I would have otherwise never met.
Haydn Symons is one of the people I've had the fortune of getting to know.
He's an incredibly talented illustrator and designer based in the U.K. that has not only developed a unique and appealing art style, but has been able to gain experience working with world-wide clients in a variety of fields. Haydn designs logos and branding work for clients, as well as editorial and book cover illustrations.
Something I admire about Haydn is that he's constantly pushing himself to explore new subjects and techniques, and that his style and personality is palpable in everything he does.
A few months ago, he wrote an incredibly helpful blog post for us titled 3 Tips to Combine Watercolor and Gouache Like a Pro, in which he shares the similarities and differences between these two painting mediums, as well as useful tips to help us combine them effectively.
Haydn was very kind to answer a few questions I sent over and will be sharing with us how his artistic journey started, how he arrived at his art style, insights into what it's like to make a living as an artist, and much more.
So grab a cup of coffee, tea or your beverage of choice, and join me for this interview! :)
Interview with Illustrator/Designer Haydn Symons
1. What made you want to become an artist/illustrator?
I’ve been interested in art and design for a long time and have been drawing since I was around three years old. I’ve always loved to create new drawings and paintings, as well as learn about art. I studied Art and Design at Secondary School, took an Illustration course at college, and finally studied Illustration at Falmouth University, which I absolutely loved.
Illustration covers a lot of industries, from publishing, advertising to editorial, which makes it such a exciting discipline!
Throughout the years I've developed my craft and style, and have learned what it takes to become a successful freelance illustrator. I'm very passionate about the field and am 100% committed to what I do. I believe this dedication is what has allowed me to evolve my skill to what it is today.
2. You have a very distinguishable art style! Can you tell us a bit about how you arrived at it?
I started developing my illustration style during my years at Falmouth University. Throughout this time, I experimented with different mediums and materials, and pushed the boundaries of what I could produce.
My style is a mixture of traditional and contemporary elements. I consider it to be eye-catching and friendly. The artistic mediums I use most are gouache and watercolor, but I love constantly challenging myself with new techniques.
After finishing a new piece, I scan it into Adobe Photoshop in order to tidy it up a bit and do any necessary editing.
My illustration style has changed a lot from graduating back in 2013, and has evolved through a lot of practice, into what it is today.
3. What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect about being a working artist?
The most difficult part about being an artist is the unsteady income. It can really fluctuate from month to month and those bills need to get paid. This makes people hesitant about becoming freelance illustrators, designers or fine artists.
It can be scary and stressful when you don’t get commissions or money coming in. However, it’s an amazing feeling when you're asked to work on a new project and get paid for doing what you love. Being creative and using your artistic talent is extremely rewarding and there's nothing like being able to make a living by doing what you're most passionate about.
I've found it's incredibly important to know about marketing, sales, networking and business in general, to become successful as an artist.
4. What are your main sources of inspiration?
My sources of inspiration change from day-to-day. I’m inspired by the things around me - everything from landscapes and portraits, to news articles and popular culture.
I’m also very inspired by fine artists like David Hockney, who has become well-known figure in the art world. I really admire his use of color. I also love more traditional artists like Caravaggio, Canaletto, Rembrandt and Edward Hopper. Alongside them, I’m also inspired by well-known illustrators like Oliver Jeffers, Mr. Bingo and Sam Webber.
Lastly, I gain a lot of inspiration from reading and writing on a daily basis. I feel these practices really impact my work positively.
Check out my FREE Patreon-exclusive tutorial and class samples here.
5. What are your must-have art supplies?
My go-to art supplies include gouache and watercolor. As I shared here at Erika's blog, I really enjoy combining both painting mediums. The paint sets I'm currently using are both by Winsor and Newton.
I usually like painting the background/base of my illustrations using watercolors, and using gouache for elements in the middleground/foreground.
I highly recommend using thick, strong watercolor paper if you’re using water-soluble painting mediums. Having to deal with buckling during the painting process is very frustrating and so is damaging our paper! I really enjoy using Seawhite Heavy Watercolor Paper in 350gsm.
Lately, I've been using a set of paintbrushes by HeartyBay that I acquired through Amazon. It's affordable and perfect for use with both watercolor and gouache.
Software applications that I use on a daily basis which are very common in the creative industry include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign to Adobe Illustrator. These are paramount for any creative.
6. Do you have any tips on how to stay motivated/productive as an artist?
To stay motivated you need to commit to creating the work that you love producing. Set goals for yourself based on your passions, and actually see them through.
Read Erika's blog post titled Time Management for Artists: My Secrets for Staying Consistently Productive to learn how to define life goals and set objectives to ensure you're progressing towards them every week.
As an artist, you'll discover the specific subjects and styles you like creating, whether they are portraits, landscapes, abstract paintings, etc. If you continue focusing on getting better at what you want to be producing, and sharing your work with the world, people will start knowing you for that kind of work. But you have to stay consistent!
It's normal to have to do work to pay the bills that we're not necessarily passionate about doing, especially when we're starting out, but it's essential to keep making time for self-initiated projects that light us up.
Whenever I'm struggling or feeling unmotivated, I always think back to my why.
Why am I a freelancer?
Why am I an artist?
What will I gain (professionally and personally) if I keep pushing towards my dreams, and what will I have to give up if I stop?
7. Do you have any projects you'd like to make happen in the near future?
I traveled a lot last year and am super pumped about creating a series of illustrated maps, soon! I visited some amazing places that I really want to document in my own way. My illustrations will help me remember those amazing moments, and will be awesome additions to my portfolio.
It's so important to include the kind of work you actually want to be doing in your portfolio, whether these projects are ones you're actually getting paid for, or self-initiated ones!
I’m currently working on a couple of illustrations for magazines, and would love to do more of this kind of work in the near future, along with publishing and advertising projects.
Aside from this, it's very important for me to keep developing my illustration and artistic style, and just keep producing and creating new things consistently.
8. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would it be?
My one piece of advice for aspiring artists is to not give up. Even if you keep receiving knock back after knock back, keep going. Learn from your mistakes, get better, and improve.
If you’re constantly creating, improving and putting yourself out there, nothing will stop you.
Keep going and never give up on your dreams!
9. Lastly, could you share where we can find more of your work and news from you?
You can find my portfolio and personal blog over at www.haydnsymons.com.
You can also find me on social media:
A huge thanks to Haydn, for taking time to answer my questions, sharing his experience with us and, most importantly, for inspiring us to pursue our passions.
Hope you enjoyed this interview and make sure to follow Haydn's work. I personally can't wait to see what he'll be producing in the future!
Welcome back fellow artists and art lovers!
I’m unbelievably excited to be sharing the first segment of my Artists from Around the World interview series with you today!
This is one of the many exciting projects I’ve been working on behind the curtain and I hope these interviews inspire aspiring artists out there to keep making time for their passions, as well as help get amazing new artwork in front of people looking to bring unique, handcrafted goods into their lives.
For me, one of the most amazing things about putting myself out here in the online world, is that I get to connect with others around the world with whom I share similar passions and interests. In the short amount time I’ve been working on this site, my YouTube channel, and sharing my work on social media, I’ve been able to get to know amazingly talented artists and creatives that I would have otherwise never met.
Chrissie Murphy is one of them. She's an Australian-based artist, calligrapher and blogger who’s artistic journey began after having taken up repetitive drawing therapy as a means to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her beautiful and unique artwork is full of personality and brings light through bold pattern, color and highly detailed line work. I absolutely love that she uses lots of different mediums to create her art!
Through her blog, Chrissie shares uplifting articles for other artists, resources and practical tips to help get your creativity in motion. Her spirituality, originality and the love she brings to everything she does, can be felt through her online presence.
Grab a cup of coffee, tea or your beverage of choice, and join me for this interview! :)
Interview with Artist, Blogger and Calligrapher Chrissie Murphy
1. You have a very appealing and unique art style! Can you share a bit about your influences and how you arrived at it?
What a great question! I stumbled into the art world by accident, really. I had been seeing a counsellor for treatment of symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and she suggested I look into being more “mindful”. I did some google searching and stumbled upon “zentangling”, also known as Repetitive Pattern Art, as a mindful relaxation technique.
The act of creating the same movements with a pen, over and over and over, is very calming. It’s also a great way to be present as the strokes require your undivided attention.
Needless to say, I was hooked. Repetitive Pattern Art turned on something inside me and from that day onwards (30 April 2013), I have been drawing.
Now that I’ve been drawing for a while, I have been influenced by many things. My greatest influence is the Creator Himself because His work is the best there is. I’m inspired so much by being in creation, out there amongst nature, and I’m fascinated at the patterns He uses, the shapes, varieties and colours perceived in nature.
I’m also a big lover of ornamental design (particularly the Baroque period), the work of the scribes and illuminators from the 14th to 17th centuries, botanical art from the late 1800’s to 1920’s, as well as commercial product packaging from that same time period. I have a love for all things old and detailed, and I adore the work of the penman of yesteryear.
2. Can you tell us about when that moment was in your life, when you came to the conclusion that art was your passion?
Yes, I think it was about a year after I got into it. It was then that I truly realized that art was here to stay and it was all I wanted to do. I would be using every spare moment to create, and when I wasn’t, I was looking at other work or watching videos/tutorials on how to improve.
It became all consuming for a while, and although it doesn’t consume me like it once did, I think that initial hunger has served me well. It was quite intense at the beginning, but after time it has settled into something that just “is”. Art IS part of me, it’s a major part of who I am.
3. When did you first start selling your work and what would you say has been the most challenging aspect when it comes to selling?
I’m going to be really honest here and say that I started selling my work too early. Looking back on things, if I could do things over, I would have held off selling for so much longer. My early work is really terrible and it’s not something that should have been in the marketplace.... period!
If you’re someone who’s trying to establish a serious online art business, selling mediocre art does not help your cause. I can see that now, but back then, I couldn’t! I actually thought the work was ok.
Now though, I can see my work is at a much higher standard, and I rely on the feedback of other artists to back up this belief. Remember.... I thought my old work was ok back in the day, so I try to honestly survey my work.
An honest survey includes getting feedback from other artists I value, and good artistic friends will tell you when your work stinks! The other aspect that I believe is important when selling art, is that’s it’s instantly recognizable as yours.
These two things (work of a high standard, and instant recognizable art) are the things I believe you should have under your belt if you’re going to sell art online.
Having said that, I still believe the most challenging aspect when it comes to selling art, is what to charge for your work. Just try and do a google search on this and the advice out there is mind-blowing. There just isn’t a clear answer and in the long run it comes back to you the artist to make the decision.
I don’t have any real advice on how to navigate this area as I find it to be complicated. There doesn’t seem to be a one solution fits all scenario, which is what I’d really love to discover.
Check out my FREE Patreon-exclusive tutorial and class samples here.
4. I love how you incorporate the spiritual/mental/positivity aspects in your blog posts! Would you say developing these aspects is just as important for artists as developing cold artistic skills?
Oh yes!!! Most definitely. I believe knowing these things helps you truly understand who you are as an artist. We are made in the image of the Creator, therefore we are creator’s as well.
Understanding these things (which can be a bit deep at times), helps you tap into your very core as a creative.
Art is an expression of what’s within us, and if you want to be good at what you create, you need to really KNOW yourself. You need to know all your good bits, all the bad bits, all the quirky bits and all the bits that are just downright weird.
You need to know how you’re put together, how you’re wired, because when you do, it will ooze out of you as you create.
5. Why do you think art is important in today's world?
At the moment, I believe the world is starving for beauty, only many of us don’t realize this. Buildings are a really good example of this principle. In any city, there are old heritage listed buildings, ones that were constructed at the turn of the century like Court Houses, Post Offices, Banks or Churches.
These old buildings have ornamental design features like columns, acanthus leaf carvings and scrollwork. Polished wood is prominent, so are high ceilings and architraves, polished brass and there may even be wrought iron gates or heavy wooden carved doors. I think you can imagine the sorts of buildings I’m referring to.
Contrast this to the most recent government building constructed in your town. Construction in recent years has focused on energy efficiency, sustainable building products and overall construction costs. Although we’ve done a great job at delivering high outcomes in these areas, it’s come at a price - The loss of visual beauty.
Buildings are just one example, but I could rattle off a dozen more. Product packaging, print media, handwriting for example, all these things that have changed over the years. They have become more economical or mass produced and in doing so, a lot of visual beauty has been lost. And I think the world is grieving this, they are starving for real beauty.
In today’s world, art is more important than ever before, because it can play a vital role in closing the gap that mass production and cost cutting opened. We have a world starving for beauty. As artists in today’s society, we have been given a unique opportunity to feed the world some of the beauty it’s been desperately craving.
6. Do you have any exciting new projects coming up or special ideas you want to make happen in the near future?
Next month I kick off on one of my most favorite times of the year – Inktober. I’ve participated in Inktober for 5 years now and I’m as keen as for Inktober 2018. If you’re not aware of what Inktober is, it’s where you create something with ink every day, for the entire month of October, and you post your work online using the hashtag #Inktober.
I will be closing the blog for the month of October to ensure I have plenty of time for drawing each day, and I will also be sharing my work to my social media accounts daily. Inktober is intense, but so worth it. At the moment, it’s where my focus is as I begin preparations.
7. If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists who want to make a living from their creative talents, what would you tell them?
Take your time and don’t rush things. Spend some time really getting to know yourself as an artist and when you do, make sure you put yourself out there. I’m not talking about your art here, but you! I mean you in a selfie or a head shot, a portrait – an image of you.
When you show your work online, don’t forget to show yourself as well. More than anything people want to connect with you, to feel like they can relate to you, and they can only do this if they can put a face to you. So don’t be shy friend, get out there and smile. And you know what? When you do, the world will smile with you.
8. Lastly, could you share with us where we can find more of your work online?
I’m online just about everywhere!
My Etsy Shop:
I also tweet and tumble, just search for Chrissie Murphy Designs and you’ll find me.
Thanks so much Chrissie, for answering my questions and everything you do!
I'm looking forward to seeing all the amazing artwork I'm sure you'll be putting out there for us and to connecting with you in the future!
There are a couple of things Chrissie mentioned throughout the interview that I feel are incredibly important for aspiring artists to understand, which I would like to go over.
Firstly, Chrissie indicates how important it is to be open to receiving feedback from other artists so that we can use it to improve our work. She mentioned how listening to other knowledgable creatives around her was fundamental in her artistic development, as this allowed her to improve her skills significantly and be able to offer quality artwork for her audience/customers.
We can all really learn from Chrissie's ability to remain open and not take things personally!
As I mentioned in my blog post titled Why Criticism is an Essential Part of an Artist’s Life and How to Handle Criticism Like a Pro, it’s absolutely essential to understand that receiving both positive and negative feedback is going to be a recurrent element in an artist’s life, no matter how talented you are or how long you've been in the field.
If we want to become respectable artists and arrive at a point at which we're actually making a livable income from our skills, we have to not only get used to taking criticism, but learn to use people's feedback (whether positive or negative) as fuel to keep going and not as a reason to stop us from pursuing our passions.
It's also essential to know when we're receiving feedback that could actually be beneficial for us and when it's not. *Hint: Listen to people who know about art and know what they're talking about.
One other huge thing Chrissie mentioned is the importance of introspection and getting to know oneself as an artist so that we can truly be able to share ourselves and the ideas we feel strongly about through our work.
Isn't that what art is supposed to be all about, anyway? It's okay to be inspired by other artists, but it's also incredibly important to make sure that we are putting our own personal message and style out into the world.
I talk about this in my blog post titled 5 Fatal Habits and Practical Advice, which I highly recommend you check out! In it, I talk about how it's just as essential to work on ourselves mentally as it is to work on developing our cold artistic skills in order to become successful as artists.
I’m a huge believer in making time for introspection and acknowledging both our strengths and our weaknesses. This will not only enable us to work on becoming better versions of ourselves, but also to become better artists.
That’s it for today, everyone! Thanks so much for popping by and talk to you soon!
I'm SUPER excited to share that I've been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! It makes me incredibly happy to know that the time and energy I'm investing into this website is starting to get recognized, but what makes this even MORE meaningful for me, is the fact that people are taking in a positive vibe when they visit this online space I've created!
To know that this blog and the brand I am creating for myself is transmitting this, tells me that I'm going in the right direction.
You see, when I started planning my business, I knew that I wanted it to revolve around my passion for art, but I always wanted there to be MORE to it. I want to bond with other artists and art lovers and encourage them to keep making time for their passions in life. I want to inspire them to live more fulfilling lives by being true to themselves and making time for what's really important.
Unfortunately, we live in a world in which we sometimes feel surrounded by so much anger, greed and intolerance, that it's easy to forget that there ARE good people and there ARE amazing things to be thankful for. A while back, I even stopped watching the news because listening to everything that is constantly happening just depressed me, and increased my levels of anxiety to the point that I couldn't concentrate on my daily tasks.
I get it.
However, I am thankful for having come across inspiring people that encouraged me to tune out the negativity and concentrate on living my life to the fullest. They inspired me to bring light to others in my own way and I don't think I'd be here now if it wasn't for them. I hope to be able to have that impact on others as well someday.
Thank you SO much to Nichola, from At Home With Nich for this nomination! I really enjoyed reading her post titled Working from Home: the good and the bad! Check her blog out to find awesome posts about health, natural remedies and the wonders of working from home.
Nich has definitely done a good job at writing a bunch of unusual questions for her nominees to answer! So if you'd like to know more about me, make sure to read on.
A Bit About the Sunshine Blogger Award
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity through their posts. Upon receiving his/her nomination, bloggers answer questions created by the previously awarded person, and nominate other bloggers, and so on.
Answering Nichola's Questions
1. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
I would be a red panda. They are small, cute-looking, but kind of intriguing at the same time. They are solitary creatures and enjoy spending time hanging out on trees. They are actually omnivores, but eat mostly bamboo and plants. :)
2. If you could go back in time, when would that be and why?
Though I do enjoy a good timepiece movie or T.V. show (especially when they take place in the 20s or 50s), I honestly wouldn't want to go back to any specific time period. I consider myself extremely lucky to be living today because there's never been a better time to do what I want to do, which is to connect with people all around the world through my passion for art.
The internet has been an amazing tool for artists like myself that are trying to not only get their work known, but also to create a community of art enthusiasts. An artist's life can be very lonely, and it certainly helps to connect with others out there that are going through similar experiences. This is becoming easier thanks to the Internet.
3. If you could change one thing about the world we live in what would it be?
There are SO many things I would change, but if I had to pick only one, it would be to have some sort of system in place that ensured that people in power (and I'm talking about all countries here) actually EARNED those positions after years of demonstrating an honest and intrinsic desire to help others. I honestly believe the world would be a better place if our leaders were stimulated by important things and not by wealth and power.
This would lead to an improvement in all areas, pretty much, but it also would create a more fair distribution of wealth and opportunities. I wish everyone had the same chance to live a peaceful and meaningful life.
4. What is the most influential memory you have that has impacted on your life today?
I don't think there's a specific memory per se, but the most influential person I've had in my life would have to be my mom, who is present in many important memories. She's a very hard worker and has always motivated me to take action. She's always believed in me and my big dreams, but has also instilled in me the idea of being smart about what I do.
My mom and I are EXTREMELY different. However, I do think that I've inherited her independent spirit and I hope to be as strong and generous as she is.
5. If you could travel to anywhere in the world where would that be?
As an artist, I would probably have to say Paris! I've never been to Europe and I would absolutely love to be surrounded by all that history. Paris is known to be a city that has inspired a lot of great artists throughout history and it also has a lot of very important museums I'd love to visit! It would be extremely inspiring!
6. The last train has left for the day and you need to call someone to come and pick you up, who would you call?
That would have to be my husband!
7. If you were to have a film made about your life who would you want to play you?
8. If you had the chance to move to another country to live where would that be?
Canada. My husband and I are actually applying for residency, which I REALLY hope happens for us. It's not only a beautiful, peaceful place, but the people there are so friendly and open-minded. Not to mention, a lot of importance is given to the arts!
9. Invent or name a cocktail that best describes your personality. With or without alcohol whatever is your preference.
Hilarious! Loaded Paintbrush would be its name and it would be made out of a combination of aged rum, Ginger Ale, orange juice, fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick. Ha!
10. You are hosting a dinner party and you can invite 5 people, who would you invite?
My husband, Dave Grohl, Chuck Palahniuk, Elizabeth Banks, Krysten Ritter. Now THAT'S a party!
11. Cheese or chocolate?
Chocolate! I rarely eat cheese, actually.
My list of nominees:
Josephine at Crazy Whole Life
Amy at Surviving the Middle
Natasha from Natasha Durel
Leah from My Cup of Cocoa
Amanda from Creativity Sparkles
Jasmin from Rise and Blossom
Mark from Meals with Mark
Mira from Mind Over Latte
Sian from Sianylou
Jen from Buddha Belly
My questions for the nominees:
1. If you were invited to be interviewed at ANY talk show, which would you love to be on?
2. How did you arrive at the decision of starting a blog?
3. What trait do you like most about yourself and how do you think this translates into your blog?
4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
5. What do you enjoy doing on your off-time?
6. If you could collaborate with ANYONE to create ANY type of online project, who would it be and what would you love working on together?
7. If you could have ANY superpower, which would it be and why?
8. If you had only 24 hours to live, what would you do?
9. If you could be in the movie of your choice, what movie would you choose and what character would you play?
10. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
Here are the rules for the nominees (you can accept or ignore the award):
-Write a post about accepting the award, thanking the blogger who nominated you for the award
-Answers the questions given by the person who nominated you
-Nominate other bloggers who you wish to receive the award
-Display a selection of questions for those you wish to nominate for the award
-Comment on each of the nominees blogs letting them know that you have nominated them and give a link back to your post
-List the “rules” and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post
Congratulations to all my nominees for having such AMAZING blogs and providing not only helpful content but a positive place for others to visit! The world needs open-minded, kind, and inspiring people like you!
I hope you have fun with answering my questions. :)
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