Hi, I’m Mia and I’m a 15-year-old Illustrator! I’d start by explaining what illustration is, because I get asked that quite a lot! An illustration is a form of art, except it’s done digitally, there are many approaches to illustration, such as vector art, which –to put it simply- is a cartoon mean of art. The beautiful thing about illustration is that if there were 10 illustrators asked to recreate the same picture, the results will always be different and versatile, this only goes to show that illustration is an art of creation, not “tracing” as some might put it!
The process of illustration for me can sometimes tend to be kind of tricky, as I usually lack inspiration. For me, I either scour Pinterest and create a mood board, then move on from there, or I attempt to illustrate some celebrity of sorts. Whenever I’m in the biggest creative rut, I go for reading a book or poetry, in losing myself in the words of the page and losing any sense of reality, I become fully immersed with what I’m reading and immediately get inspired to create, or rather recreate the emotion I experienced upon reading. The most difficult part for me is to start. I’m a very impatient and antsy person, so I always try to set aside some time to illustrate, during the day. Illustration is a long process, which requires a ton of dedication, I know several illustrators who spent 24+ hours creating a single piece. So by illustrating, I force myself to slow down and stop the never-ending train of thoughts in my head. It brings me solace and peace and quietness.
However, I’m a full-time student, so managing art and academia can tend to get quite stressful. Being a newbie in this world can also tend to get super overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, the illustration community is the most supportive community I’ve ever been a part of; however, most of them are experienced and create such beautiful artwork like @malmae.creatives, @madisons.motifs & @jlcreationz. It can be difficult not to be swept in the whirlwind of thinking that your art isn’t good enough, thinking that you need to speed up the process, to match the expected rate of content production in that corner of Instagram. But that’s when I need to take a step back and remind myself what art is, just that, Art. It’s a state of being, a lifestyle. It’s the romanticization of your existence and the littlest details, it’s how your brain becomes wired to think about shadows and light & angles and finds beauty amidst them. I try to always remind myself of Quality over Quantity.
Unfortunately, because of my academic work, I don’t always have the time to illustrate. But whenever I do, I spend a rough 11 hours per illustration, that is, if it’s detailed!! Most times I don’t post whatever illustration I was working on in that given day, simply because I deem them as not good enough. And although there’s no such thing as ‘good enough’ art, there’s something soothing in seeing how far along you’ve come and how you’ve managed to hone your artistic skills all by yourself. I’ve also come to realize that, practice does indeed make “perfect”. I always get so taken aback, whenever I decide to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce on my older pieces.
One thing I’d love to stress on is, you don’t need to wait to have the right “professional” equipment to start. There’s no such thing. Start now. Teach yourself to fall in love with the art of creation and all that is. Over time, you’ll become so accustomed to creating, it’ll be a part of your identity. Embrace the randomness of art and its world. Embrace the rush of pride that surges your body upon seeing a new piece. But foremost, if there’s anything you take from this, let it be that not everybody will support/like your art and that’s okay, because it’s YOUR art, it’s not meant for others to fall head over heels for it. Don’t tie your art to your worth, because there is simply no correlation whatsoever between those two.