New year no need for a new me

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As with the chime of the bells calling in the new year, cries of a “New year new me” began across all social media. Diet plans and gym memberships are purchased and a thousand pictures of running trainers shared on Instagram in new “fitspo” accounts.

The last four to five months of 2015 were very difficult for me, I’ve faced major health issues, a new home and a break up right before christmas. I was already starting to call this year a write off 10 minutes in. I want to begin to feel happier within myself again. This version of me may not be functioning quite as well as it did a year ago, but the only way I can see a happier me is to do small things that would make me proud of myself. Simple obtainable ideas for the year. No grand plans or schemes that will disappoint me a few more months into the year when I realise how early on and easily I had failed.

These are a few which had come to mind:

I want to read a book each month.
I know that only equals 12 books and others read hundreds, but by moving house I reduced my commute from an hour each way to just 10 minutes. In this I lost my reading time. I went from having read 30 books in the first 6 months of the year to none in the second. So with this I want to allow myself time each month to finish at least one book. Time where I’m not pressuring myself to do more freelance work but to actually enjoy sitting still and beginning to read again. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have managed more than 12.

Stop washing my hair every day.
For the last 10 years my hair has been so greasy when I wake up every morning I have to wash it to feel like I am presentable enough to be seen. This is the year I say fuck it, spray the entirety of my head in dry shampoo or even embrace my grease and face any poor sod to happens to look my way. This is the year I train my hair to function without and no longer spend half my wages on bottles of bloody shampoo!

Take part in a craft/art fair.
Simple really. I want to make products such as badges/mirrors/notebooks etc and begin to sell them alongside my prints at art fairs in and around London. I’ve always been to nervous and shy to do it before but it looks so much fun and it’s such great publicity for my illustration work I can no longer see any reasons not to go and get involved.

Make some new friends.
One of my biggest fears starting this year was that I was going to become very lonely. This fear stemmed from the end of my relationship in late December, the worry that I had spent so much time with my boyfriend that I hadn’t built myself a strong enough social life of my own to function during evenings and weekends without him. This is not to say that I don’t already have amazing friends. I do. I just feel guilt and maybe a little paranoia that I will become such a persistent nag for attention and care from endless requests for company that I will drive them insane and eventually away. However, to combat this I have already started to join in some ETSY and feminist groups based in London to meet some like-minded people around the area.

No big changes, no pressure on changing or ‘fixing’ myself.

And that’s ok.

 

She was known for her secrecy

I’m really enjoying creating illustrations of my favourite female characters in film.

I decided to draw Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum from the Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums. She’s one of my favourite characters, constantly moody with a killer wardrobe.

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I decided to also step out of my comfort zone and try colouring my illustration using some watercolour style digital techniques. I only used the watercolour detailing in a few areas since it looked too heavy when used all over.

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I often find that I critique myself in the same way that my uni tutors used to do. I find that I tell myself that I should push my illustrations further, add shading, give it depth etc etc. But until very recently it was just a way for me to bring myself down, be less proud of my accomplishments within illustration.

Although at uni we always received feedback or ‘positive criticism’ sometimes I found it quite damaging to how I view my own work. I never felt it was good enough, or that it could hold its own amongst my  work. I at one point won a competition with one of my illustrations during a modular brief where we had to complete competition briefs. However, there was no rejoicing in my triumph, instead I was told that my work was poor and weak and received a low 2:1. It was just too subjective.

I’ve found that since then I find it really easy sharing my work online but horribly difficult when it comes to showing it to those I know in person. I share the majority of my work via instagram and tumblr, since I don’t know who’s looking at it on their feeds and deciding against liking or sharing it. However, I struggle to share my artwork on facebook since I know the majority of my friends may see it and judge it or even me as poor and untalented, someone who is just kidding themselves.

But hopefully the more I post on this blog and the more I share my work online I’ll become more comfortable with sharing my work in person and my work will develop according to how I want it to. So hell no I’m not shading it, I never liked it when I was asked to in the first place. So it’s no longer my style!

Tea Rose

This week I decided to join in with the colour collective challenge on twitter.

Each week the account posts a colour that your artwork should be primarily based around and then posted onto twitter with the tag #colour_collective on a Friday.

Here’s my submission for this weeks challenge: Tea Rose! Although it’s quite a powdery girly pink I wanted to keep my illustration a little edgier by adding tattoos to the wrists and hands.

All entries from this week can be found here! Really excited to see what colour this week’s challenge shall be.

 

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Let them eat cake

To distract myself during my sick days off work I’ve been watching all my favourite easy watching films, 90% of which are period dramas.

Whenever I watch costume dramas they have me longing for giant dresses, extravagant wigs and lavish decor. Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette creates the greatest longings. It’s beautiful pastel coloured ornate sets and the divine soundtrack make it the ultimate sick day film.

I decided to illustrate Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette when she begins to start eating all the cake and trying on the different shoes. Although I couldn’t quite get the true likeness in the face, I do like the detailing in the hair and the mischievous look across her face.

Creating this illustration has given me the idea of drawing other historical or literary characters from my favourite books such as Lizzie Bennet and Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Estella and Pip from Great Expectations.

Although the are currently all the rage and everywhere right now, I would love to create a colouring book since I think my black and white line drawing style leans quite easily to it.
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The trials of being a ginger

As if being a teenager wasn’t difficult enough as it is, I also had the added joy of being 5″8, overweight and seriously ginger. There was definitely no blending into a crowd for me.

I’ve heard every ginger joke under the sun and been asked every personal question you can imagine. They have never get more inventive as the years went on. I still remember the first time I was asked if things ‘matched down there’, I was about 14 sitting on the school field when one of my close friends decided to shout out and ask in front of all of our friends. I was so mortified. I just hated the idea that my body and my hair would be so different to everyone else, especially so much so that it would be a topic of discussion!

During my teen years my hair was nothing but a source of bullying for me I truly hated it. My mum spent years telling me it was my ‘crown and glory’, how women paid so much money to have my colouring. But it fell on deaf ears. A mum has to tell you that you’re beautiful, it just meant nothing.

However, during those peak days of myspace back in 2006, one comment changed everything. I had liked a page and a photograph of a beautiful model called Cherry Dollface who has brilliantly red hair and is covered in tattoos. She in return not only liked one of my photos but left a comment too. She wrote telling me how beautiful my hair was and how lucky I was to have such a stunning colour naturally. This was the first person who wasn’t related to me to say something positive about my hair. It may sound ridiculous but it was a massive turning point for me, finally starting to accept that just maybe it wasn’t all bad being a ginge. If a woman as beautiful as she was liked it, then well hell why couldn’t I!

Now, in my mid twenties I have finally come to my senses. I really do have the best natural hair colour possible, it’s bright, it’s shiny and old ladies still stop me in the street to tell me how lovely it is. I’ve stopped messing around with hair dye, no more blonde, no more post box red, I will be remaining my natural self for as long as it’s still there!

So here’s my illustration of a woman whose one kind comment unknowingly triggered a least one journey of self-acceptance. I may be still overweight, now 5″9.5 but at least I’m proud to be ginger.

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Feeling like I’m in the greatest girl gang

A few months ago I joined the best group ever. The Artist’s of Instagram, set up by the lovely Jessie from Blue Vxlvet. Jessie has built this group not only as a brilliant way to promote our work, but also as a support group for one another.

Each month we have a great trade where we send our artwork to one another. I have loved receiving the beautiful prints each month, no two peoples style is a like so you always receive something so different each time. I’ve also really enjoyed the challenge of creating new pieces to send out within a short deadline.

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Beautiful work by @hellogab – unfortunately the postman took no heed of the ‘please do not bend’ request.

Lovely work from the artists of Instagram founder @bluevxlvet_

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Two portraits I created for the @ninten_beau and @jess.fauscette

This group has been brilliant for keeping me inspired, I no longer struggle for design ideas anywhere near as much as I used to. Also it’s really helped me grow my Instagram audience, gaining between 200-300 new followers since I have joined.

Most importantly though I’ve gained some really great friends. They are truly fantastic girls who go out of their way to support and help one another. Even though they may just be internet ones (for the moment) sometimes they are the best type :)

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New blog, new me?

helloSo this is day one of being signed off as medically unfit for work whilst the doctors attempt to figure out whether I have Crohn’s disease/colitis or something else that’s ruining me from the inside out.

So what better day to finally buy myself phiehackett.com (older blog can be found here) and begin to fully blog my journey with freelance illustration and dealing with my new FODMAP diet and illness.

Hopefully this will help me track my progress as an illustrator and share work that inspires me. I’ve never been one for writing so there is the possibility this could just end up a constant stream of images. Lets see how this goes.

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