Being a bit on an introvert at times it is a bit hard for me to open up. I tend to joke rather than tell you how I’m really feeling. Except it seems when it comes to my illustration work and of course this feature. The stuff I produce can be very personal. Granted, I do post drawings of birds and animals doing funny stuff. Not a lot of me there. However, a lot of what I do relay’s my feelings about how I see the world and my place in it.
I remember James Victore saying something about putting ‘you’ in your work. I forget (and cannot find) what he actually said, but it has stuck with me since I heard it. Maybe a bad thing to reference. Anyway, I have produced myself various pieces which show ‘me’, warts and all and I am very proud of them, not just creatively but for my courage in opening up.
Probably the bravest thing I did was my series of editorial spot illustrations focusing on my mental health issues. I find it very hard to put those feelings into words (ask my wife) so a series of illustrations did the trick. It was me opening up in the purest way I knew how and being totally honest with the world (more honest that is than I am in person.) It felt good to show it, or at least what it is to me, and I hoped that I inspired others to open up too. Especially other men. We are a nightmare when it comes to talking about our feelings.
Another piece I did was entitled, A series of Problems with Having Short Legs. I had a friend mock my short legs in the a studio where I work so I decided to make a little series which looked at the problems one might face with a the condition but in a funny way. It’s quite silly, but it’s me. That’s another thing that’s me and in my work: humour! I might not be that funny in real life (again ask my wife). However, I think i’m hilarious and that is something I try to bring out in my work too.
As a rule you got to brave with your work. I mean what have you got to loose! I think that the more personal you are, the more you put you into it (even if it is completely weird) even if it’s just your sense of humour, the more relatable you’re more likely to be. Just like any heart-felt song or stand-up comedian telling it like it is, people relate to that stuff. I’m going to sound like a self help poster soon I can tell, but you get my point I hope. Listen to me, or not, I just think people respond better to honest creative.