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Jess Entwistle's Digital Arts

Monday 5th April 2021

Jess Entwistle is an artist with a small business painting custom pet portraits using Photoshop. Over the years Jess has also been a make up artist working on photoshoots and music videos. She had a fantastic opportunity attending a course at Neil Gorton Studios where she got taught how to do prosthetics, animatronics and special FX make up for television and film. 

You were a makeup artist for some time, what was your favourite makeup to do? 

The crazier the better! I love challenging myself and letting my imagination run away with me. It didn’t always turn out as planned but that’s part of the fun. I think I love body painting the most and creating illusions. It’s quite fun watching people trying to figure out what their looking at!

Going from makeup to painting, as makeup is also creative, did you find that painting came naturally to you? 

If I'm completely honest – I am a lazy drawer on paper and canvas! I’m always very impatient when it came to “classical” art. I can always see my vision on the page but my hands don’t work fast enough to keep up! I always hate what I had made by the end of it. However, last year I started using Photoshop and a drawing tablet which has been incredible for solving this problem. If I draw something wrong, I press one button and its gone! It has really helped me speed up my process. I wish I had discovered it years ago! It has really helped my confidence and now 90% of the time I'm actually really pleased with what I've created.

Do you still do makeup sometimes or is your sole focus on painting? 

I mainly paint pet portraits and other custom commissions for my clients now. However, if I'm feeling particularly inspired or need something else to focus on – I still often dig out all my makeup and play around with it. Most of the time I experiment with different eye looks and sometimes I'll do something fun like drag makeup! 

What has been your favourite painting to do? 

I have always been a massive animal lover, especially horses and dogs. Infact, for the last three years I have studied and worked as a horse riding coach. So, I always naturally gravitate back to painting animals. I find drawing peoples pets quite rewarding, especially when the client is so happy with what I've made. I feel this is a way I combine my two passions in life. 

Where did you learn how to paint? 

The first painting medium I learnt was watercolours. When I was in primary school, I attended a watercolour art class every Saturday morning in Gloucester. My parents are very supportive of my art. I’ve always suffered with anxiety and depression. It comes and goes in severity but it’s always there in the background. My art has always been a healthy outlet. I spent hours and hours as a child drawing and painting in my bedroom and at school.

Is being in the creative industry always something you wanted to pursue? 

Here's the thing. When you’re in school doing your GCSE’s and A Levels, you have to make decisions at a very young age that effect the type of career you go into when you leave. This is a HUGE responsibility to have when you’re in the middle of trying to work out who you are and what you want from life. A lot of us didn’t care at all about our future and just wanted to go to parties at the weekend. So, I always felt pressured to go into the industry as art was “the thing” I was good at, so everyone expected me to. However, I learnt quite quickly going into the industry, that doing your hobby as a means of work and income can sometimes stifle your creativity. Not everyone will experience this however, so please do not be discouraged by this. I gave it a good go and learnt as much as I could, but felt it wasn’t right for me as a full-time career. I had a four-year break after A Levels to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Then I ended up going to Hartpury University and becoming a horse riding coach which has been one of my biggest achievements! 

What is next for you? 

Even though I now have a full-time job out of the creative industry, I will never stop drawing and painting. It’s part of who I am. Having my own small business is a great way for me to keep my mind thinking creatively, as well as earning some extra money! It also gives me complete control of my workload which is very liberating. 

Advice for any aspiring creatives out there? 

I would say if you’re looking to go into the makeup/art industry for TV/film, then definitely push yourself out of your comfort zone regularly to try out different styles, techniques and mediums. I’ve found those that have diversity and adaptability in their work are snapped up my employers. Try not to get stuck in a rut and look at others artists work and learn how to make things with completely different materials. For example, I learnt a lot about drawing anatomy on paper through sculpting with clay! It gave me a better understanding of structure and depth. You may be terrible at some mediums but you may also learn you’re really good at others! It’s a great way of keeping your mind fresh and your eyes sharp. It's also a fantastic way to make your portfolio stand out to potential employers!


Photos by Jess Entwistle @jessdigitalartz

Words by Amy Bell

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