Here is the question again- So, Why Children's Illustration?
Having now been educated in my foundation year and also in my first year of degree, specializing in Illustration, I feel like I have definitely learnt so much. Although saying that, I am still learning everyday. I am still very keen and passionate about pursuing a career in children's picture books, despite it being a highly competitive and saturated field.
Here are the 3 main reasons behind me pursing this career, again because of these 3 things I truly believe in:
- Imagination- I still do believe that as children view pictures, they can let their imagination run riot just from viewing visual imagery- whether it be in children's books, watching an animation, etc. From my point of view anyway, illustration from other people's perspective is seen as a ridicule- where it is not thought of as an actual job. But it is. There are a lot of talented illustrators (animators, interior designers, architects...) out there that are actually in the industry, just because of their ability to draw; drawing and connecting ideas together. It is not a ridicule. It is a visual language that sheds light upon ideas. It differs for many illustrators, but for me, my reason is all about creating and inventing a world that is full of colour and light, through narrative and writing also. Even though the work I do may appear imaginative, most of it actually based from reality.
- Creativity- Following on from the previous point, drawing illustrations for children can definitely influence anyone to be creative. Whether it is just about getting children to question the world around them, to encourage them to read, or make one simple mark from a pencil or paintbrush. So many ideas can come just from that one simple act, from imagination, from creativity.
- Dreams- Drawing for me, (like most illustrators and any other creative) is my form of escape from reality, and it always has been from an early stage. I have been drawing and creating consistently since then, practicing, honing my skill, picking up a pencil or a paintbrush, leaving my mark on the world. In my eyes, even though I do think there is good in the world, there is still negativity that exists, even in the most unlikeliest of places.
*Be warned, this part of my blog post will be highly personal. Please note that this should not be mistaken for the blame of others, but instead, to educate. This is just me coming out from my personal point of view and I apologize if I appear offensive, it is not my intention. *
I will go ahead right now and say that my life is not how I pictured it to be. It is chaos. It is not perfect. But after waking up today, I watched this video that gave me a new perspective, and this is a quote from it:
"All today is is a projection of what has been"
I could not agree more. Like I had stated almost 2 years ago now, the Developmental Approach in Psychology explains that early childhood experiences can affect the individual as they grow up and mature as adults.
Well, nearly all my life I have been constantly intruded, harassed and bullied. This also includes school. My physical and mental state now is a manifestation of my childhood, filled with the echos of shouting, arguments and bullies in my head. Despite people (such as my friends especially) knowing me as quite a 'happy go lucky' person, in reality I have been hiding.
All my parents wanted me to pursue when I was younger was to become a nurse. I chose to do something completely the opposite and pursue a career in the creative arts, specializing in Illustration. From my point of view anyway, this was seen as different and I guess word got around that I am regarded as child who was different. Do not get me wrong, I respect them both for working hard giving me a home to live in, food to eat, to help support me at university. From what I have gathered for a long time now is that the world is not a wish-granting factory.
That is the sad reality of my life, and I will admit it has not always been easy. It is not perfect. Being abused mentally, psychologically from a young age, being bullied and constantly intruded by others made me feel so lost and I was not in control of myself, my well-being, even my own feelings, like I was not allowed to feel. I felt like I was silenced and had no voice- what other choice did I have but to feel panic & powerless all the time? (noting that they had strong personalities) Even now I still feel so anxious, and most of the time there is a great deal of conflict inside my brain. Confusion.
These experiences are most definitely real and valid. They exist and I think it proves a great deal that I am actually human. I have always had a conflict because I was not so good at making my own judgments. But now, entering into my adulthood I am learning to have my own self of opinion, feelings, and actually trusting them.
Having now observed this from my past I think proves that making mistakes is all part of the process. When you feel like you are not good enough, people often at most tend to do negative things. But I do not want to be that kind of person and live in a society that does negative things. This pattern must be stopped.
In the now, the present, I am learning to forgive myself, and learning to accept the past for what it is and to just move forward. I apologize for being so cliche, long and tedious with this blog post but I just want to let it all out before I get to caught up in my own head.
So now that most of the heavy stuff is mostly typed-up I will start to finish this post. Some important stuff I have noted down from a video I watched, and also to summarize my opinions as a whole:
- At ages 0-12 is the time where we constantly learn and observe as individuals (from parents, friends, family). So as you can see, for someone who has been bullied, this tends to have an cause and effect, which is so damaging to the brain. If someone has been victimised, this will cause low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma.
- Talking in a more scientific way, it is said that the hippo campus in the brain can re-generate new brain cells- so this means that we can re-create new thought processes. Breaking out of that cycle, away from negativity. To put it more simply, a compromise- finding that balance. Learning to love yourself unconditionally is also another point I noted down.
- What the world needs now is self-love, self acceptance. This is where the judgement stops, the guns and barriers get put down and then maybe, eventually, conflict will fade. How much do you love yourself? Do you love yourself enough to say no to the things that make you feel unhappy?
- As selfish as this sounds, I want to live a life for myself and release all of that heavy emotional baggage I have been holding onto for years. I am entitled to my own future, dreams and happiness. I dream of becoming a children's picture book illustrator, drawing for children. As well a looking for ways to escape through drawing (and also writing), I think it is also a way for me to get to grips with self- discovery, and hopefully the given audience I am aiming my illustrations at can also relate with my story. To answer the question in the beginning, I want to be in the children's book industry because it is a way of telling my younger self what I would do differently, in a sense also, I do not want a child to go through the same things as I did. I want to pursue a career in this field despite all the hard work I am prepared to work towards, no matter how long it takes me.
And that is the end of it. And in a sense, it might not be, maybe it is the beginning.
Thank you for listening.
(Oh and P.S. listen to this video below, it brightened my day fo sure)