My name is Soph Khan and I’m an Illustrator who recently graduated from a Graphic Arts degree at The University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art.
During my time at university I struggled massively with trying to define my personal style and find my niche as a designer. Every medium I used to create my work seemed to stunt my ability to communicate my ideas and the work I produced didn’t feel like my own, as a result my visual style fluctuated massively over the three years of my degree. I was always uncomfortable showing my work to my peers as I never felt it accurately represented me as an illustrator or as a person. It wasn’t until my third year final major project that I began to develop a personal style I was satisfied with.
My project was all about exploring the design and visuals that influenced me as a creative. I started breaking down what it was about those visuals that I was drawn to and how they influenced my own personal style and work. Through this deconstruction of other design work I began to identify what I liked about their work and the small influences I had adapted into my own practice. As the project progressed I started to develop a personal style that more accurately reflected my character as a person and an illustrator.
This development in my personal design journey was largely initiated by my experimentation with the medium of clay. I had always worked as a 2D illustrator and had never considered the possibility of moving into the realms of 3D work, it wasn’t something I felt I was capable of. However, as my project was based around the concept of deconstructing the design that influenced me, and I am a creative who is inspired by a vast amount of 3D makers, it was integral to my research to understand why I was drawn to the influences of 3D work. I felt the best way to understand what it was I enjoyed about the visuals of physical design, in particular ceramics, was to learn how to make 3D work myself.
To achieve this, I attended the studio of a professional potter and from the first day of working with her I was hooked. I started making hand crafted clay pieces, developing my own visual language with the texture, colour and pattern that I chose to render the small scale models. As the designs of my 3D work started to develop a consistent style my 2D illustration naturally adapted to that same visual language.
By the end of this project I had achieved my original aim to better understand the visuals that shape me as an illustrator, but through the deconstruction of the design that inspires me I had also discovered my personal illustration style and learnt to tailor my aesthetics in a way that I feel portrays my personality fittingly.