I am not a hugely confident person, inside. I overthink every little thing and worry that those around me are secretly getting fed up with me. Unfortunately, I try to be confident and it almost always comes across as cocky despite the fact I am not very self assured. I use self deprecating jokes so that the people I’m around don’t think I’m big headed and to confirm to the world that I am under no illustrious that I am gods gift. I know my flaws and I think that’s important.
However, whether it’s being big head or obnoxious, I do think I am some what decent at art. It is something I am very passionate about. Now, technically there isn’t a bench mark for art. It is completely subjective to the person viewing it. Paintings of nothing more than three lines have sold for thousands. Despite my growing list of commissions, I am yet to sell any of the pieces that litter my little studio upstairs but my drawing and paintings always represent something. There is always a subject. Today, I am much more confident using other mediums besides graphite. 2019 has been the year of water colours and digital art however I am still learning. People always ask “how did you get so good?”, well, the truth is practice. Lots and LOTS of practice.
As a child, I didn’t draw that much, no more than any other child and it certainly wasn’t a huge hobby of mine. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I really started to draw frequently (warning, this is about to make you cringe, it certainly makes me). The ripe old age of 16. Hormones are flying, everyone around you is starting to date. Having a partner was the “in thing” and I fell into that group. I fell in love. I don’t know what it was, perhaps it’s was because I have always been a dreamer, a planner. To me, the future is what I live for. So I started to draw him. Us. In all kinds of big life events. Our first gig, days out, being pregnant, getting married… (I did warn you). I would draw all the time and this guy should stick every picture to his wall. I was inspired to draw more.
Now these weren’t great drawing. They were faceless, handless, coloured poses and it was all I could do. I tried to draw faces but the proportions were never right. I wasn’t too bothered though. I had a fan and at the time, he meant the world to me. 16 is a difficult age and as my school days was drawing to an ends, it was time for me to decide what I would do afterwards. Long times followers will remember that my personality is very… let’s say “easily inspired” for lack of a better term. My job plans changed depending on what my boyfriend was doing. Not because I wanted to be with him but because other points of view make things in my head seem very favourable… I was easy to manipulate (not as much nowadays). So in the space of a few days my career plan changed several times. In reality I have no idea what I would do. September was drawing closer and in a rather impulsive move, I told Mum that I wanted to do art. It was always a class I had enjoyed and it was pretty easy. My portfolio of faceless, handless, poses earned me a place in the course where I learnt some valuable tips and tricks.
My art did improve during that year at college. I wouldn’t say dramatically and looking back, I wish I had put more effort into it, however I was still young and still in love. Looking back and it was still one of the best years of my life and I often think back to the advice I was given. One particular piece if advice was:
“Draw what you see and not what you know.”
We all know that you have two eyes, a nose and a mouth but you have to really look to see where they sit on a face. How much space is between the eyes. You almost have to go out of focus and ignore the other features. It’s a piece of advice I give to anyone who wishes to draw better.
In 2010, I chose to leave college for a part time job rather than stay on at college for a further two years. I kind of regret that now but at the time, two years felt like an eternity and silly old me was trying to rush the bigger things in life. Art was put to the back of my mind and for the next two years, I only did a handful of drawing. Two of my favourite pieces from this time were two A2 canvases, each displaying a baby. Id never been a fan or portraits but these two pictures showed me that I could fall straight back into art, even if it had been a long time. I impressed myself. These both sit in my studio to this day, as inspiration.
2013 arrived and I got accepted into uni. As you’ll know, this became quite a low point in my life as I battled food demons for the next several years. I used art as a distraction and every night I was producing a drawing. I worked harder and harder to perfect my photo copying ability and it shows in my portraits. I began using different mediums such as inks and coloured pencils. I preferred inks but they weren’t easy to control and quite expensive compared to other materials. I haven’t done much ink work since. During these three years, my art work began to leave the confines of my dorm you. Members of my family were getting a “piece of Dannie” as well as some of my course mates. Once piece has made it all the way to Scotland.
After completing university and entering the big wide world, art was put on the back burner once again. Starting work for the NHS took its toll and I was back in antidepressants before I knew it. It wouldn’t be until late 2016 that I would find the motivation to draw something again. Posting a drawing of a baby to Facebook, this was the first time my colleagues say my talent. A few weeks later and I drew again, this time a line art drawing of a fox via a graphics tablet; my first time venturing into digital art. This drew a lot of attention. Not only was my art (or rather perception of my subjects) improving but my speed and ability to adapt to new challenges had also improved dramatically. It boosted my confidence and ultimately helped me connect better with people at work. Art was helping me mentally and socially.
Things really began to pick up in late 2018. Becoming a vision of myself who was able to flourish in her own right, who was able to be pure and natural, I began producing some of my best art to date. I also began getting requests. It started off with one, then two… before I knew it, several people were asking for different projects. Different pieces to fit different decor or passions. I’ll be honest, for someone to personally request a piece of artwork is just such a confidence boost. It’s such an honour and spurs me in to draw more and more, to better myself and to learn from my mistakes. Every time I draw, I assess it. I question it. Would I buy it? If the answer is yes, then I’m finished. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Just the other day, I drew a field of barn owls. I know it’s not perfect; one of the faces could use some extra definition but it works. It’s good. It’s framed and happily perched in my studio.
In February 2019, I bought an IPad Pro with the aim of mass producing some postcard. While I am yet to make money out of my art (I don’t yet charge for commission, I wouldn’t know how much to charge. A grateful smile is more than enough) at the moment, I am more interested in enjoying it. Improving it.
10 years ago I was drawing faceless poses. Today I am painting in watercolours, sketching babies, drawing squirrel line art. I have never felt more confident. I am good at art. I am an Artist.
A little bit of selfish, self promotion here but should you wish to see more of my art, feel free to follow me on Instagram. You’ll find alot of my ‘Blog inspiring’ stuff too.