Emyexoillustrations; Chatting About Her Digital Creativity.
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
Meet Emy Parnell, an illustrator based in Essex. Her branding is Emyexoillustations. She currently works in stocks and shares investments, whilst being a freelancer illustrator. In her own words 'I do enjoy travelling around, but only to hot countries, I don't do well with the cold. I enjoy gaming and drawing in my spare time, which you'll soon find out.'
TELL THE READERS ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND OF BECOMING A DIGITAL ILLUSTRATOR? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
'From a young age I have always been interested in drawing, and was always drawing in my spare time, from drawing my fluffy toys to drawing album covers. Through high school and college, I was heavily into in fashion but the more alternative looks, I was more of an emo kid, with the bright skinny jeans, trainers, back-combed hair, it was an interesting look that I went with. In college I studied Fashion Promotion which opened my eyes to the world of fashion. I really enjoyed learning about the history of fashion, subcultures, my favourites were the punks.
This influenced what I was drawing, helping me learn how to draw the figures and how clothes would fit on a body. Japan is actually one of places that have subcultures, the street-style is actually insane, and is inspired by anime, a form of illustration. It really has inspired me with the way I draw, what I feel like I represent as an artist. I went to Brighton University, where I got to experiment a lot more with my work, and introduced me to a different medias which helped me develop my own style, while being influenced by others. Artists like Valfre and Death & Milk inspire me. Their style is very unique, and I love how they portray their drawings, this helped me develop as an artist and gave me hope that you can create original content. When I left university, my work became more refined and I felt had more of a style. From there I became more of a digital artist, drawing people that influence me, people asking me to draw them which I got good response from my followers.'
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS OF CREATING A PIECE OF ILLUSTRATION? PLEASE EXPAND.
'When I first started digital drawing, I used to use Adobe draw on my iPhone, which I had to use my finger on a small screen, it was so difficult, I don't know how I managed to do it. I would mainly draw members of a band and when people started to ask me to draw them, I started to actually earn money. With the money I earned from these commissions, I was able to buy myself an iPad, this made life so much easier. In time I upgraded to an iPad Pro and bought an Apple Pencil, and to be honest it is the best purchase I have ever made. I highly recommend buying one. I still use Adobe Draw, which is a free app, but I also decided to invest in Pro-create which you have to pay for, but has helped me experiment more with my work. For example, you are able to use different paintbrushes to create different textures, and give depth to the work that you are producing. You can also create colour mood-boards, which is great when you are creating a series of work and the style needs to remain the same. One of the best things is that you can create different layers as well, which can help you break down the artwork and destruct it. When creating work, I am normally referencing from a photograph as I tend to draw portraits of people. I keep referencing back and forth and making sure I can get it as similar to the image as possible, whilst still portraying my personality and style through the work. I flick between these two platforms to make sure I can create the best outcome I can achieve. It would normally take me about 6 hours to complete an illustration depending on the image, it is hard to sit through so it is good to break it up, and see what I can do achieve my illustration.'
WHAT THEME OR SUBJECT DO YOU LIKE TO ILLUSTRATE THE MOST, AND WHY?
'As far as themes go I would say that, mine is portraits of people who have inspired me throughout my life. This tends to be the current artists I am listening to. Music has always had a heavy influence in anything I do in life, let alone in illustration. The vulnerability artists share when writing music, is really inspiring. I am not musically talented, however as a thank you to these artists I would draw those that inspire myself. By doing this, it has broadened my audience as well. For example I have drawn Post Malone, and if someone likes his music they'll find my page. It helps people connect more emotionally with your work, the best response to the work. I love finding new bands that I can connect with emotionally, and when I draw is shows more of a passion in my work, which is the best type of work. If you are enjoying what you do, people can tell, and they will be able to connect what you are doing.'
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS OR TRICKS TO DO WITH ILLUSTRATION/ DRAWING OR ANYTHING CREATIVE?
'Not a lot of artists will tell you this, and some might say it is cheating. But if you are looking into drawing, either for fun or more professionally, the best way to learn is by tracing and copying other artists or images you like. This will help you get used to the movements with your hands, until you won't need to trace the work anymore. When you are more confident with drawing, then you will be able to develop your own style and create your own work. It is almost like when you were at school and learning to handwrite, you had to copy to learn. Another tip would be to use different medias and different materials, to find out what you are enjoying. If you aren't enjoying creating a piece of work, you won't be creating the best of your ability. Also take risks in your work, if you feel like it will work for you, then do it, don't care what others think, if they don't like it, they don't have engage in it. However, criticism isn't always a bad thing if someone says something constructive, listen to them, they are trying to help you progress. A little bit of advice goes a long way. My final advice would be don't be afraid to take a break, if you need a break, take one. It is ok to not be consistently drawing if that is what you need.'
CAN YOU TELL THE READERS ABOUT THE SERIES YOU HAVE COMPLETED FOR THE BLOGGERS BIBLE?
'So for the images that were chosen to be illustrated, we wanted a running connection between all of the images so we decided to choose a colour palette and stick to that. The colour palette Molly and I wanted to be warm and muted, as we hoped it would give of a good vibe. The sort of the images, and the quotes added were chosen by Molly, and I feel like she has done a really good job in pairing them together, and we are both really pleased with the outcome, and how the pictures flow together and you can tell they are a series. I really liked working with Molly, she gave me quite a lot of freedom in how I could adapt the images, making it a bit more my style while keeping it within her brand.'
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER CREATIVES WHO WANT TO MAKE IT A CAREER OR AS A FREELANCER?
'The best advice I could give someone wanting to join the creative industry, is that you have to be patient. You have to build. Don't be afraid to experiment with different styles you do for example, portraits and landscapes. If you widen the variety, it will widen your audience. Another piece of advice would be social media, make sure you have all the basis covered Facebook, Instagram and try to keep your audience engaged as much as possible. The best way to get more followers is hashtags and tagging brands or people, all which gains coverage. Make yourself heard through your social media. For example I drew the Youtube influencer Jamie Genevieve, and she reposted one of my pictures. It has broadened my following and gained more coverage. I got some great feedback and responses from that. Also networking is a big deal. A lot of my commission work is from small local businesses where they are asking for me to create a logo for them, people I work with, or friends of friends. Once people know you are an illustrator they can get their word out. Word of mouth is massive within in the industry, it is all about who you know. I think one of the hardest bit of advice is know your own value. People tend to think because I do drawing in my spare time, it is my hobby I will just do it it for free, this is not the case. Illustrations take a lot of time, especially with having a day job it takes up my free time. Know your value.'
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS TIME, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
'Honestly I can't tell you. If you had told me five years ago, that I would now be in lockdown and not allowed to leave my house. I would have not believed you whatsoever. I am a very much a take each day as it comes person. In an ideal world in the future I only would be doing illustrations and not have any other job. but how long that takes is how long it takes, you have to be patient, and when your moment comes it comes. as long as I am producing work I am happy with, I don't mind what the future holds just make sure my heart is still in it, and people are still enjoying it. Live life as it is.'
If you want to be further inspired by Emy follow her instagram @emyexoillustrations.