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Scribble Artist Interview with Kelly Blake!

Big Eyed Cat by Kelly Blake

Big Eyed Cat by Kelly Blake

Scribble Town (ST): We are so very happy to have the talented Kelly Blake with us! When I came across her artwork I could see how sensitive this person is to the world around us. From that, I just had to know more about her. What are you up to Kelly?

Kelly Blake (KB): Hi Scribble Town! I’m Kelly Blake and I live in the creative city of Bristol, United Kingdom. I’ve spent a long time studying throughout my life but I now feel I’m at the point where I have learned everything I felt necessary and I now feel confident enough to pursue the dream of producing my own art. I actually moved to London several years ago to complete a Masters in Production Design (movie art direction for anyone who is unsure) but after finishing and eventually moving back home I realised my true passion lies with illustration and creating my own individual artwork. So that’s what I’ve begun.

Normally when I produce some artwork there’s a reason why I’m producing it. The main factor behind all of my work is that I absolutely adore animals; it’s the common thread behind all art I create and I have a large array of artwork under my belt which (I hope) shows just how much I love all things fuzzy. At the moment I am focusing on publishing my very first adult colouring book called ‘Into the Wild’ and I’m working to raise the funds necessary to complete the project by producing my own Kickstarter campaign. If anyone is unsure of what Kickstarter is, it’s basically a crowd funding website where you launch a campaign and ask for the public to fund you. Imagine Dragon’s Den but will a billion different dragons! It’s going rather well at the moment so I’m doing everything possible to ensure I raise all the funds and so I’m able to complete the project successfully.

Please take a look at my Kickstarter campaign here so you can get a feel of the project.

ST: The concept is wonderful!  Is Into the Wild: A Coloring Book About Nature just for adults?  I think many people of all ages would enjoy seeing the pictures come to life.

KB: Thank you! I’ve initially created Into the Wild as a colouring book ideally for adults, but of course all ages are welcome to join in. The reason it’s for adults specifically is because the images are a little more detailed than perhaps some of the colouring books on the market today –even more detailed than most of the adult ones too! Each illustration is comprised of lots of different angular shapes/blocks and it’s only as you begin to colour each section that it reveals a hidden design within the image. Think of it as a slightly abstract and more challenging version of paint by numbers, but with the freedom to choose your own colour coding. It’s rather quite complicated when you get down to it so perhaps it might become a little too confusing for the younger audience; but of course they’re completely welcome to have a go!

Surreal 'Goddess' Illustration by Kelly Blake

Surreal ‘Goddess’ Illustration by Kelly Blake

I originally came up with the idea because I know a lot of people who are very artistic but are not able to draw even the simple stick figures. I have received a lot of compliments for my artwork in the past (especially my abstract pieces) and it led me to think about creating something that enables other enthusiasts to produce something that they’re also proud of without feeling like they’re lacking the talent to do so. It’s also been a proven fact that adult colouring books are being used as a way to de-stress and calm your mind so why not hit two birds with one stone!

ST: That is so thoughtful of you to create something that includes all ages! When and how did you start illustrating and drawing?  Is there a piece of art that always inspires you to create?

KB: When I think back to when I actually began drawing I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t being creative. I’ll always remember at my earliest of ages in Primary School one of my paintings was framed and featured on the wall inside reception as an example of a ‘good piece of art’. Of course, when I look back at it now all I can see are the dodgy eyes and weird shape of Henry VIII’s head, but I feel like I wouldn’t have come so far without all the support and positivity of the people around me. It’s the constant reassurance of ‘that’s great’ or ‘wow!’ that really drives me to produce more and more art and to get better and better. Granted, there’s always a few pieces that make people think ‘hmm, how odd’ but as long as I create something that I feel I’m proud of, then that’s what pushes me to continue with my work. Who cares if 90% of the population dislike it, what’s important is that the other 10% can appreciate it.

Eagle Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Eagle Woodcut by Kelly Blake

There will always come a time when I think to myself ‘I want to do an illustration!’ and the ideas just start flowing, but for those times when I can’t get myself into the mood or I can’t feel any inspiration coming then I start to check out illustrations online to get some creativity flowing. Even things such as typing phrases or keywords into google can help immensely. It’s amazing how much variety of different artwork there is out there and it’s surprising how much inspiration you can get from looking at other people’s work. Pieces that I personally love to flick through include modern and quirky works by artists such as Michael Godard and Fabio Napoleoni, but someone who I look up to as a huge inspiration for my work itself is the work by Canadian artist Nicholas Di Genova. I love the way he mixes processes such as freehand illustration and digitally enhanced methods to create something rather surreal and unique; but very, very special. It’s him who’s helped me develop a signature style myself and I do feel that a lot of my work has a thread of ‘Nicholas’ running through it.

Big Eyed Lemur by Kelly Blake

Big Eyed Lemur by Kelly Blake

ST: What is the artistic process of your paintings?  For example, how did your Kinderschema series come about? Do you usually sketch first your idea?

KB: My Kinderschema Collection was originally inspired from an article which I read about cats. It basically went on to say that the reason we find cats big eyes and overly big features so adorable is because of what is genetically programmed into our heads at birth. This led me to research into the science of why the human brain naturally reacts to these traits and I came across a German term called Kinderschema. Kinderschema defines the 5 basic traits that lead us to believe an animal is adorable and these can include; a large head, a large forehead, large eyes, rounded cheeks, and soft body surfaces.  I then decided I wanted to explore some of these factors in my own work and I created an art collection of digital paintings showing us just how much we love all things cute.

When I have a rough idea in my mind of the art I want to produce, I normally go about creating a really quick drawing trying to communicate what’s inside my head. Sometimes this will turn out to be a really crude or basic sketch but I can normally see if the idea is going to work on paper. I’ll also look online and check out other artist’s work to see if this takes me into a different or more creative direction to ensure my idea will definitely look good on the page. I have found that with the majority of my illustrative art, I tend to keep working on a piece until I am 100% happy with it. My motto normally states, “the more ink on the page, the better” but there’s still a fine line between finishing and overworking a piece of art.

Lion Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Lion Woodcut by Kelly Blake

ST: What mediums and techniques do you work with?  Is there a method that speaks to you more than the others?  Why do you think that is?

KB: It’s funny because throughout all my growing years I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly which field of the creative world I wanted to merge into. This means I’ve studied everything ranging from photography to sculpture, and illustration to video editing and I’ve spent a very, very long time working hard to develop some extremely valuable skills. Due to engaging fully in many of these different fields I now feel that I can make a strong decision as to which route to progress into further. This has meant that my artwork created in the past includes a huge range of different styles but I believe this does make me stronger as an artist. It means I’m capable of merging materials and thinking outside the box. If in the future I decide to create a half illustration-half sculpture, then I know that I require the necessary skills to do so. This means that despite my love for illustrative art, I’m not tied down to producing everything in 2D.

For example, I have recently finished a collection of woodcut prints which involve intricately cutting away small sections from a wooden block. This block is then rolled with ink and printed onto a paper surface. This gives a beautifully rustic alternative to simply using paint brushed onto paper.  This method contrasts nicely to the hand drawn illustrations from some of my previous collections, or to the bold look of the lighting installations that I have formerly produced from recycled materials.

At the moment I am concentrating purely on producing this range of surrealist animal illustrations to publish into my first adult colouring book; but I love that if I choose to, I am able to stop and produce something completely different at any given time. How I feel is that if you don’t have to tie yourself down, then why do it.

ST: When you are not creating, what do you like to do?

Big Eyed Owl by Kelly Blake

Big Eyed Owl by Kelly Blake

KB: Well, it’s actually funny that you ask this because I was thinking about this myself the other day. I’m currently working from my own studio at home and so I find myself working on projects throughout the majority of each day; quite often from morning through to late into the evening. I’m very dedicated to my artwork and it’s lucky that I really love what I do otherwise I don’t think I could stay so dedicated to working this hard. All I strive for is being able to maintain a well-balanced and happy life whilst spending a career doing what I love. When I actually do decide to take time off I quite like to get away from home and stay somewhere peaceful as it gives me an excuse to stop working and to clear my head. I normally spend a few days down at the sea or in the countryside with good company, and I find the calm atmosphere refreshes myself and sets me back up for busy days when I return back home. Also, archery, who doesn’t love a bit of archery? I fancy myself the Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games when nobody is looking!

ST: From a person who seems to appreciate their surroundings, I wonder who encouraged you to be artistic when you were a child?  Do you think being raised in the creative town of Bristol had an effect on you?

Cat Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Cat Woodcut by Kelly Blake

KB: To be honest, whilst growing up I’ve always considered myself a bit of a nerd. While there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd, it meant I perhaps didn’t get out as much as I should. Instead, I spent a lot of time studying and working hard throughout school and I always made sure I put everything into getting my grades as high as possible. Whilst this is obviously extremely important, it does mean I probably didn’t get as much creative influence from the city as I should have. Bristol is known as a hugely influential artistic city and I live amongst some huge pioneers of the art world. This means I was very self-dependant whilst studying and I would love to say that a certain someone was the reason for me producing art today but I don’t believe anyone really was. Sure, I had people who supported me and pushed me along but I feel confident in saying that I was the one in the driving seat of my own artistic career and hopefully this will continue for a long, long time.

ST: Any tips, advice, or ways of encouraging our scribblers? 

KB: My greatest piece of advice would be to create art that YOU love and do it for yourself and for nobody else. There’s been quite a few times in my life that I’ve produced something that the masses don’t like but the minority do. I could have succumbed to produce what most people out there would deem as ‘good art’ but then what’s the point in creating it if it’s not for yourself; then you become one of those people who have their passion turned into a chore and may become quite resentful. If I were given a penny each time someone called my work too-weird, odd, or simply had a lack of faith that it would be well received then I’d have a pretty full bank account by now. Don’t ever let someone tell you that something isn’t good enough because simply put, art is perspective and if you feel that something is to be proud of, then wave that proudness-flag up high and display your work for others to see! I guarantee you there are people out there who will absolutely adore it. Don’t give up and show those people just how creatively talented you are. 

If you wanted to check out some of my work that’s available on the market at the moment, please take a look at my website here at: dustlesssoul.wix.com/dustlesssoul

You can also purchase any artwork from my Etsy shop at: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DustlessSoulCreation

ST: Thank you, Kelly, for sharing so much valuable creative information with us! I’m sure your Kickstarter campaign will go great and your artwork will continue to inspire us!

Wolf Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Wolf Woodcut by Kelly Blake

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