in VISUAL ARTISTS
– emily taylor –
" I believe that we all have a responsibility to be aware of our impact on the environment and we should consciously try to do our own small bit."
Tell me about you and your work.
I'm a Canadian illustrator, currently living and working in downtown Toronto. My illustrations often incorporate a lot of patterned elements and natural references (primarily forest plants native to Canada and wildflowers) as well as references to 1950's clothing. I love tiny details and rendering textures such as hair and lace. I try to include hand-drawn and/or painted elements into my work before going in to work on them digitally.
How do you think the use of Instagram has benefited your art practice?
Instagram has been a really excellent tool for networking and exposure. I have always found what's on other people's desks as they work and the work-in-progress (#wip) shots really interesting and have made a conscious effort to post many photos of my own work and desk in such states. The amount of feedback for my work since using Instagram has really grown; it's amazing to be able to connect with other illustrators and makers all over the world, to be able to share with hundreds of people what you are making in real time, and to keep up to date with their own current projects. It is a huge source of daily inspiration and motivation.
What's the state of the illustration community in your country? Are you actively involved in a community of artists? Is there a booming industry where you're located?
There are a lot of really talented illustrators here in Toronto, and in Canada at large. The illustration is, as a profession, a rather solitary one (in that you spend large quantities of time working in the studio, alone), yet here in Toronto, I've found our community of fellow illustrators to be enthusiastic, extremely productive and encouraging. There are yearly events in which many of us like to participate (some examples including Canzine, TCAF and City of Craft); these events have the atmosphere of one large party rife with excitement and creativity - there's always lots of catching up with friends you haven't seen in months and seeing everyone's recent work.
Do you illustrate full time? Is it your only interest?
Yes, I illustrate full time. When I am not drawing or painting I am sewing, working with clay, and experimenting with photography (most recently foraying into 35mm film photography).
What is your medium of choice?
Tough question, I think it will have to be a tie between watercolors, pencil, and digital color.
Could you talk a bit about the process of launching your illustration career?
I began working as an illustrator right out of graduating university and haven't looked back since. I am always drawing, experimenting with different subject matter and developing new techniques and am always looking for new inspiration. During school, a bunch of friends and I were self-publishing zines - small illustrated books - which we still do but it helped gain initial exposure before starting our careers. Participating in art shows, zine fairs and craft fairs helped with more exposure, as did social media.
What is your typical work process:
My typical work process for a job is pretty standard - first settle the contract and then begin to research the subject matter, draw up roughs and send them in for approval, do a revision round, gain approval from the art and/or creative directors and then settle in and complete the final piece(s). When I am working on a personal project, the process is much the same (minus the usage agreements), if a bit more meandering because the time restraints are not quite as tight.
Does environmental concern enter your work practice / has it altered it at all?
When I am working, I am conscious of how much paper I am using (and try to use up my scraps as much as I can instead of just tossing them); yet I am still working on large amounts of paper. I usually try to remain low-impact, using recycled papers for sketchbooks and printing sheets. I do have environmental concerns but am not political about issues, rather I believe that we all have a responsibility to be aware of our impact on the environment and we should consciously try to do our own small bit.
Name 3 illustrators that influence you:
Lizzy Stewart, Yelena Bryksenkova and Rikka Sormunen.
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