Hey, I like your style

I'm in a somewhat reflective mood and wanted to share a candid post about work, creativity, and insecurity. Naturally I decided to share it on my poor old neglected blog, always available for when I need to rant into the ether.

I should mention that as an Illustrator, I feel I've been incredibly lucky. I've had the opportunity to work on some wonderful books alongside top notch Authors, Publishers and my ever supportive Agents. All the same, I began this year riddled with insecurity following a rough patch at home (think hospital, heartbreak, and the loss of a much loved pet) and it had a huge impact on my work life. It resulted in a sizeable gap in illustration work, which led to further insecurity, and so things spiralled.

I love drawing in sketchbooks and normally it comes naturally, but at the beginning of the year I couldn't pick up a pencil because everything I drew looked absolutely awful. I hadn't particularly considered "style" before, but it became an ever present doubt. My thoughts circled like this: Does this look like my work? Am I allowed to draw dot eyes? Will people recognise my artwork? Does it matter if they do? Do I like this work? *internal panic and repeat* 

Last year I inherited a folder full of scrap paper from a friend leaving the studio, and decided to collage some Christmas cards for my friends and family. I started cutting and sticking, and it felt so... liberating. It made me appreciate just how much of a creative rut I was stuck in. I began to treat collage as a kind of improvised art therapy, thinking of it as my "creative playtime". Through paper cut I actively considered things I had previously overlooked, I focused more on colour, shape and composition. It's been a learning curve and a reminder that I'm on a creative journey. There are still the nagging doubts about "style", especially by branching into collage, however I hope I can begin to own it with time.

I care deeply about the work I make because it's an intrinsic part of me, and it was scary to lose that certainty of identity. Exploring new ways of working has been vital and I hope to continue to enjoying the process.

Anyway, that's my small ramble over. Here are some of my recent efforts...

Keep on keepin' on, guys!