26th May 2021
Words: Amy Bell
If you're looking for fun colours, striking visuals and somebody with raw talent, Immyz Illustrationz is your go to. With over 5 years of experience as a modern mural painter with Creative Ginger. We spoke to Imogen about her designs, how she came up with her ideas and her advice for creators who wants to start illustrations.
When did you realise you had a talent for illustrating and what made you want to pursue your talent?
During secondary school I was incredibly self conscious, being bullied I’d often feel like the world was against me... When I found my talent for art and illustration I found something to be proud of myself for and something to shine about. I would spend hours on YouTube watching tutorials on how to draw realistically and how to paint to make myself better. At the time my Mam would share my art on Facebook and I was getting a few commissions from family and friends so I was so proud of the work I was doing and earning money from it at such a young age. Since 2015, after a week work experience with Creative Ginger, I have continued to work alongside Andy to create large scale murals using aerosols, window art and had the opportunity to network with more established artists around the North East. Together we had a fundraising exhibition on Grey Street in Newcastle for my volunteering trip to Tanzania in 2017. Such invaluable experience has grown my confidence and opened my eyes to the opportunities you can have as an Artist.
Do you remember the first illustration that you ever did?
There is so many!! One that stands out from when I was little is a winking lady with massive eyelashes and big juicy red lips. My auntie kept it on her fridge for years! Another time, my uncle was drawing a car and I was sitting opposite him and copying it even though his was upside down to me. My grandad still tells that story to this day.
What is your motivation to keep on illustrating and where do you find your inspiration?
I think I’m blessed to be able to create artwork so personal to somebody. Whether it be large scale murals that enhance the environments around them, smaller internal bedroom murals for children with their favourite superheroes and characters on them or personal commissions, I love creating art that people can be excited about. People will approach me with ideas that they have and I will work with them to bring those together into one piece of art, or multiple that they can cherish forever. I find my inspiration from people and experiences. I love when people come to me with ideas that I wouldn’t of thought about before. I love being spontaneous and trying new things so I believe inspiration can be found everywhere, otherwise things would be boring. However, I do love Pinterest and Instagram to find inspiration for illustrations.
You do commissions for your illustrations, what illustrations are you most proud of and why?
My most favourite illustrations I have created are for the Cog & Wheel in Newcastle. They asked me to create a set of anthropomorphic animal paintings, they sent me some inspiration and we worked together to create three characters that each have their own unique personalities and sit pride of place on the walls of the bar. Images of these can be found on my personal website. This is the biggest project I’ve tackled by myself so far and I’m so proud of the outcomes, I would love to work on more projects similar to this. To continue doing this is my motivation.
I’ve also recently created a few custom illustrations for Canadian customers, it’s so exciting to me that my work is seen on an international level. 13 year old me would NEVER believe the person I am today
Do you think people have taken you more seriously, now you are getting work like this?
I think the most important thing is that I take myself seriously. Once you believe in yourself and have a more professional approach then people will trust and respect the work that you do and you build yourself from there.
How do you know when an illustration is complete?
With commissions, from sketch to finish, I will always communicate with the client every step of the way. if there’s anything they are not satisfied with or want to change, I can do it sooner rather than later and this saves time and stress!! I will then know when I’m finished when there’s nothing else to add and when the customer is totally happy with the final product.
How do you decide what to price your illustrations?
I feel pricing is always a touchy subject as an artists as jobs vary, time varies and your skill can improve. I’m always reflecting on my prices but over time I’ve learnt that my skill is valuable and so is my time. I always try and estimate how long a project will take me, this includes the sketching process. I work out how much I would get based on minimum wage as I would NEVER want to fall below that as I value my artwork more than the work I do for my part time job as a waitress. I then look at work that people are selling on Etsy etc and try and match that. I also ask for advice from professionals. I have a lot of advice that I’ve gathered from Creative Ginger over the years and possible mistakes he’s made of undercharging and people wasting his time. His work has improved over the years therefore his price has increased. I’ve also found reaching out to artists online who’ve created successful projects for advice about pricing, most of the time they are more than happy to talk.
What advice would you give someone, who wanted to go into illustration?
I would just tell them to do it, keep going, try new things and always ask for advice and feedback. As brutal as feedback may feel, others might have advice or new ideas that you’ve never thought of before. All advice helps you to grow as an artist but the most important thing is to keep doing it for you, because you love it. Be your own biggest fan and never doubt yourself!
See more of Immy's work here.