Introducing the wonderful Ana Jaks to the Soapbox Press stage! An illustrator who is currently freelancing down in Falmouth, UK. Never heard of Falmouth? It’s most well-known for its internet coverage… Anyway as well as being on twitter and instagram let us begin the series of questions with this young lady…
When did your love for illustration grow the most?
My tutors at college all pushed for me to study illustration at degree level rather than fashion communication (which was initially my first choice and all I wanted to do), but they believed in me so I believed in them. Honestly for the entire first year of university I hated it and I didn’t think I was good enough and I nearly dropped out. It took me right up until the end of second year to really understand what illustration was and how it can be used. I think I fell in love with it once I realised I was capable. I was lucky enough to study in an environment where I was taught to get rid of everything I thought I knew and start again – which was scary but it bloody worked. Then I got introduced to Nobrow, Wrap, Kyle Platts, Lottie Neiman and Olympia Zagnoli; seeing all of that really made me want to illustrate. It’s still growing now and I’m so excited! The factor that really got me about illustration (and still does) is that you don’t need to be amazing at drawing things to real life, the figure can be abstract or distorted and it doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense to somebody. I sucked in life drawing and always got told off for not doing it “right” whatever that was. Even in school I was told it’d probably be best if I “left the drawing” and focused on something else. I think it grew the most during my final year at university, I was surrounded by super talented people.
Has anything you’ve seen changed your perspective on art and illustration?
There’s no glory moment or single event I can pin point that changed my perspective on either, other than being in a group crit at university and somebody showing me Anorak Magazine. Right up until that point I only drew with fine liners, my work was always black and white and there was nothing joyous about it whatsoever! One of my closest friends studied Fashion Photography and at that time when I had just decided colour was now going to be a thing, lots of students in her class were using bold, block primaries in their photographs. We both fell in love with Matisse and then I started looking at the Memphis Movement and it just sort of snowballed from there until I finally realised that art didn’t have to be dark or morbid and was to be meaningful. You always get that group of people who come out of college thinking that a dead flower means more than the bright colourful one. Rediscovering colour! Seeing colour, and artists/ illustrators/ makers who use it well changed my perspective.
What, for you, is your strongest skill?
Ironically, after that previous question I’d have to say it would be colour. Balancing colours alongside patterns and working out what’s too much and what is just enough – although that took a long time! I like to think that my choice of colour is often what draws people in and then the content is what keeps them interested.
Current fascinations (we all have them). What are yours and how is it feeding into your illustrations?
Summer! Always summer! Which is so weird? Because it is actually my least favourite season, I don’t do well in heat and I much prefer the kinds of clothing you can wear in Autumn and Winter. But I love the way everything in looks in summer; the colours, the way the light hits the water, plants in the breeze, the hazy sky. Everything is more fun, people are always happy and that’s what I want people to see when they look at my work. I just want people to look at it and smile. I also love drawing the female figure. People I did a work placement with last Christmas caught onto how many bums I had on my instagram and took the piss constantly – but I love it! It’s current; everybody loves a good bum. Cities are a big thing as well, I love drawing buildings.
Explain your project AOI 2017 Entry, what the theme is and what you created for the poster design…
The theme was Sounds of the City and was an open brief, which I unfortunately was never shortlisted for, but am so happy with the way the illustration turned out! I grew up on a teeny tiny island called the Isle of Man, and have since been living in the teeny tiny town of Falmouth, so whenever I go up to London it is pretty much just a visual feast for the eyes – hence the woman with the sunglasses. I sort of went with this abstract idea of “Seeing Sound,” and being surrounded by lots of people and lots of noise, but also wanted the contrast of huge crowds and people reading in their own personal space. There is always so much going on and in hindsight, I do wish I had narrowed my idea down a lot more and focused on a particular area, but I am so happy with the colours and how busy the illustration is! I used to struggle a lot with drawing the figure but this project along with others from 2016 have definitely helped me.
Do you prefer the process or producing the final piece?
I love the process; it definitely forces things out of you that you never knew were there before. Especially the processes you go through with a client brief in comparison to a personal project. They always seem to shock me, because (and this sounds awfully arrogant) I get really impressed with myself? Editorials are the best for it; some of the things your brain manages to churn out are great! Conceptual thinking does wonders! But, saying all this there is something wonderful about producing the final piece, and the accomplishment you feel after is amazing.
Quick Round Questions!!
Concept or final piece? There is something pretty great about seeing the final piece.
Sweet or sour? Sweet! In fact, I would choose savory but this isn’t an option.
Colour or texture? Guess? Colour!
Seaside or town? AH! So difficult! I love both for different reasons. I’m going to stick with seaside.
There you have Ana and her fantastically gorgeous work!!