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What Is It Like To Be An Illustrator?

Lifestyle

What Is It Like To Be An Illustrator?

I have always been artsy and creative since at a young age and I’m all for the arts in all forms – whether it be in creative/design, performing arts, literature, and in science too as there’s art in every aspect of life. Like any other young ‘un i just drew on papers with pencils, markers, crayons and my family noticed and encouraged me to do more of them. I started taking it seriously when my mom suggested I take a diploma in illustration when the time has arrived for me to choose my career path in college.

Photo: Azizi Musa (https://www.instagram.com/azizimusa_)

Challenges Of Being An Illustrator

Illustration comes in many forms, styles and directions in terms of technicality and medium so it was never difficult. Anything can be an illustration piece when you just start letting your creativity flow and translate that to any canvas! The challenges I personally face on a day to day basis is honestly just staying true to my style and sticking to it mostly as I can get very detailed oriented in my pieces, and I am very particular on making sure the focus is apparent to every aspect of an artwork that can take up quite some time to complete.

But that also is finding the style that suits you most (which took me a while to obtain, master and execute) and also being confident about it and using it as a medium to sell yourself as an artist. But overall, anyone can be an illustrator just like how anyone can be an artist.

3 Of My Favorite Art Pieces!

1. (Drowned In Envy, Digital, 2019)

This piece is the first to really kick off my vision of the style I have long envisioned but I had no idea nor clue on how to execute, it’s actually based off a reference from an online zine called Dark Beauty and that’s when I know the direction I’m headed for all my future illustration pieces. This meant a lot to me as it’s a piece that got sold the most when I debuted at Comic Fiesta 2019 as a vendor, and I had people appreciating my art in real life. Not going to lie, after I had it rendered I was a little scared at how dark it looked in the end especially on the sharp expression. But it was different, and it holds a special place in my heart.

2. (Lost in Lust, Digital, 2019)

This was actually done with by ‘recycling’ one of my old concept design artworks from my final year project during college. I completely stripped the character where I made her look more ethereal and have her shown her body more. It was one of the quickest to render and I’m impressed at the overall tone, emotion and simplicity in the end.

3. (Broken Beyond Repair, Pencils, 2020)

One of my most recent traditional pieces I’ve drawn in my sketchbook where I mindlessly just draw without much of a direction. All I did was cleaned up the lines, planned a little bit more on what else to strategically add, and that’s about it. It’s somewhat an unfinished piece, too. It’s probably a habit for most artists to have many incomplete works. I might just complete it and add more dead flowers in the future.

Misconceptions About Illustrators & Artists

Usually I don’t hear much on my behalf but I would hear things like artists can’t do other things like graphic design and also that we aren’t worth much for one skill set. But that’s why versatility is extremely important and me as an artist, I would want to learn as much as I can to expand my repertoire and be more than just one title.

To be able to master art is one thing but what drives it to fatality is letting that be the only attribute for you to make a name for yourself. An artist can do and be so much more and that’s the beauty of it.

One of my personal favourite traditional sketches.

Tips One Should Know Before Being An Illustrator

Never give up on discovering yourself as a person and the things you do as an artist/illustrator/designer/creative. And it’s okay to rediscover yourself again and again. Art is in humanity itself and to be human is extremely vital to translate that into our canvases.

Always push yourself out of your comfort zone and that’s how people will notice you and take your creative direction into their liking. We go into phases and being comfortable will only deter us from reaching into our fullest potentials. Always paint, draw or design with a purpose – whether as practice or to experiment with different styles/techniques.

Always stay as active as you can be, never stop researching and never be afraid of criticism. We might be completely different in our own ways but we still have so much more to learn and it’s always a great feeling to be able to put the new found knowledge into good use. Never stop learning. It is never too late nor never too much to continue expanding your skills.

Keep going, keep pushing, but never be too hard on yourself. Art is extremely subjective. You’ll never know how much you’ll inspire others until you keep on going and realise how far you’ve come- as an artist, as a student, and as a human being.

Digital Reference study/practice of Actor Cole Sprouse. The actor himself noticed and it’s my first artwork to garner 500++ likes (https://www.instagram.com/p/BT2SS2olhR5/)

The Inspiration Behind My Existing Style

I would say my art aesthetic is raw, intense, vulnerable, and more on the dirty, sexy side in terms of my current direction. I love drawing faces and details matter to me. I love to translate the person that I am to my artworks.

I love the anti-pretty movement in my style where I love dark beauty, conceptual designs and where people usually go “whoa, that’s dark,” but people can still be gravitated to it – and those are the things that brought joy to my heart as there is beauty and reasoning even in unorthodox things, dead botanica, and unfinished, unforgotten debris.

I get inspiration from mangas, animes, other talented artists online, and photography. I love incorporating poetry and writing into it too so that there’s a story to tell.

Digital Reference study/practice of singer/songwriter SZA.

My Future Plans To Expand As An Illustrator

I plan to participate in more art conventions and to visualise and execute my artworks in products like sketchbooks and/or notebooks, tote bags and other stationeries. I have already done stickers and prints so far and I would love to see my vision coming true of compiling my original artworks, poetry and writing into a visual book someday.


Hey there! My name is Adele, and I am currently a creative designer while freelancing as an illustrator by profession. I’ve been drawing since I was a kind, and professionally for companies and clients since 2012 whilst still completing my diploma in my college, The One Academy. Aside from Illustration, I also do concept art, visual development and also storyboarding. Even graphic design. I love music, photography, literature such as poetry and non-fictional stories, and other things like makeup, fashion + food styling and baking as well. I love all things unorthodox and I strive for uniqueness and meaning in everything I do, yet I would want to remain kind, humble and empathetic as much as possible no matter where I am today.

Follow Adele on

Art Account: https://www.instagram.com/wildflowerinpink
Personal account: https://www.instagram.com/adelexblair
Online portfolio: https://www.artstation.com/adelexblair

If it wasn’t for the global pandemic, I will be participating in more art conventions such as Comic Art Fiesta and return once more to Comic Fiesta for the second time. By then, I hope to do more artworks and release an artbook for the first time, while also continuously updating my art profiles/websites.


Featured image from photographer Jean Chan (https://www.instagram.com/jjeanzu)

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Adele Blair

Hey there! My name is Adele, and I am currently a creative designer while freelancing as an illustrator by profession. I’ve been drawing since I was a kind, and professionally for companies and clients since 2012 whilst still completing my diploma in my college, The One Academy. Aside from Illustration, I also do concept art, visual development and also storyboarding. Even graphic design. I love music, photography, literature such as poetry and non-fictional stories, and other things like makeup, fashion + food styling and baking as well. I love all things unorthodox and I strive for uniqueness and meaning in everything I do, yet I would want to remain kind, humble and empathetic as much as possible no matter where I am today.

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