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To Illustrate a Point

I have recently been carrying out Adobe Illustrator workshops for a Theatre company, HunkyPunk. During of one of these workshops, I drew a few shapes to demonstrate the process of creating a custom brush, amongst other things. After we had finished, I was about to close the file without saving when I was grabbed by the urge to turn these vectors into something rather than waste them – an urge I think any creative person feels when they see something with the potential to become beautiful. In this case I decided I could spare a couple of hours of my Sunday evening to play with the artwork and see what I could come up with. Creating this vector artwork made me think about ways I could get more creative with my work, and inject a bit more colour and creative flair wherever possible and appropriate. I really enjoyed the process – it reminded me how much I love to illustrate, and how I used to find satisfaction in the process of taking a scribble or a written note and turn it into a doodle.

As a freelancer, you get into a routine that works for you and it’s easy to forget about skills you have that might not seem relevant to the day-to-day, but taking time to express yourself creatively in ways that may not be directly conducive to your business goals can really fuel your enthusiasm for your work and make you take a fresh look at your projects. I feel more motivated than ever to ensure my clients’ websites are not only fit for purpose and easy to use, but also look beautiful.

When I sat back and looked at the result of this quick design, I was reminded of a quote:

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

I think there is a lot of truth in this statement. Looking at what I created in just a couple of hours filled me with enthusiasm to illustrate more, to draw more, to doodle more, to generally spend more time creating. In fact I pitched for a layout project today that involves a large element of illustration.

I would like to mention that this illustration is strongly influenced by the supremely talented illustrator, Jonny Wan, who I first heard about in Sheffield’s most excellent Now Then magazine.