Sophia Ward, an illustrator who studied at Kingston University and graduated with a First this past summer. Now? Well, explore her artwork on her website as well as connecting with her on Instagram and Twitter.
A creative who likes to explore the use of illustration as a springboard for socially engaged visual communication activity, describe your work in five words…
Expressive, Sketch, Colour, Abstract and Shape.
Who and what keep you and your work moving forward?
I suppose what keeps me going is my love for drawing and for creating things. I really enjoy the way I can use social media to keep communicating with others, and I like getting instant reactions back, both from people I know and from new audiences. And because I draw a lot on location I’m continually inspired by my surroundings. I love to use drawing to react to day-to-day life which itself is always changing, and I re-interpret it in my work, so that definitely keeps things fresh and fun for me.
Being in London (it’s honestly the best) is great, especially after being down in Brighton. How do you find the two differentiate from one another? Do you find you preferring one to the other?
I think I love both for different reasons! Although Brighton is an amazing city and filled with lots of creative activity and people, London for me has more opportunities. However this does mean there’s lots more competition, which makes it a lot harder to get going in the creative industries. I think you can find what you want to do wherever you are though, especially with the Internet and social media. You can be wherever you want, start something new and make your own thing!
When, for you, do illustrations hold more strength than words?
I personally feel that illustration is more powerful and flexible than words because you can portray a whole story or evoke a mood with just one simple image. I love how you can fill the page and describe a scene with many elements, or use just a simple shape that can equally communicate the same thing. It can grab your attention far more quickly than printed words can, certainly at first glance. Also illustration is particularly useful when it can communicate across language barriers: it can be multi lingual so that anyone of any age or background can understand or feel something just from viewing it.
Talk us through your fantastic work – you have a variety of projects on your website. Talk us through ‘Memory Maker’ and how this came about?
This idea first came about during the middle of my third year on my Illustration course at Kingston University. For my final project I wanted to use illustration to create something that helped people in some way. Dementia sits quite close to me as I have experienced it within my own family, and I know it can be very hard to cope with at times. After some research and experimentation I realised that what I wanted to make had to be tactile, and it had to be an activity that people with dementia and their carers or family members could share together.
I remembered from past experiences how sometimes people in care homes find it a bit intimidating to draw and don’t really want to ‘be creative’. I came up with the idea to create wooden pieces, which could easily be moved around by the user to form any kind of picture, almost like doing a collage. I made some samples and took them to a dementia care group called ‘Memory Cafe’ which is run by the charity ‘Home Instead’. The staff and the participants took to the idea really well, and they gave me lots of great feedback, which ended up being crucial to the final design. For example, having all the pieces the same colour makes it easier to imagine that each shape can be used to create any design. I ended up with ‘Memory Maker’ which also included a bespoke table which I created with a bowl in the middle for the pieces to live, making them easily visible and accessible, to be taken out and shared at any time.
What, for you, is the strongest and weakest point about your style?
That’s a hard one to answer as my style tends to change and develop all the time, but I think the key aspects could be a lack of detail and sometimes being impatient! I see this as a both the weakest and strongest parts of my work though because its what makes my style what it is. I like to draw things with a free energy to them, and I don’t like to spend hours on a small detail. This is great sometimes because it means I can get things done quickly when I need too. I remember with projects at university I would just go out and try stuff out, just to get on with it really, and if it didn’t work I would go back and try something else!
Quick round questions!!
Process or final piece? That’s a difficult one – so hard to choose! But I love the traditional, more hands on ways of creating, such as printmaking so it would probably have to be process.
Exhibition or pop up? Both! Pop up exhibition? 😉
Film or TV show? Both! I love going to see films at the cinema and watching TV shows at home.
Lipstick or lip-gloss? Lipstick!
Walking or running? Walking 🙂