An ever-growing interest in the more inconspicuous and obscure ways of storytelling can lead you down a never-ending and yet thoroughly exciting path - a path I currently find myself on with no plans of turning back. Self-expression, especially in a form that captures the attention and understanding of others, is not as easy or straightforward as one may think. It can be messy, cathartic, heart-breaking, exciting, frustrating, rewarding and laborious all at the same time. And there are 5 ladies who make it to the other side of that testing journey regularly that I'd like to draw your attention to: Annabelle (CatCreature), Fran (Frannerd), Mimi (Mimochai), Minnie (SemiSkimmedMin) and Sha'an (FurryLittlePeach). They have constantly inspired me for years and hope they can bring some of that fairy dust your way this year.
There is something about the way Annabelle wields the power of colour in the work she shares on her Youtube channel - CatCreature - that draws your eyes in slowly but purposefully. Always soft, always complimentary, always other worldly. Currently a student at RISD in The States, Annabelle tends to show mostly school-related projects but I do not mind one bit because the way in which she interprets her briefs is always fascinating to watch. Her well-crafted and fun-to-watch videos are mostly vlogs of her days so you get to see how her art is very much part of her everyday life as opposed to them being instructional videos. A few of my favourites have got to be Wildflowers on My Mind // Sketchbook Entry, Paintings and Walk-Through Speed Paining // My Cat Suki - most definitely seen these more than once.
Fran is literally the only person who has created a planner I've loved coming back to everyday to fill out. We share the same birthday AND she spent her 30th almost exactly how I've dreamt of spending mine AND she created a print based on a prompt I gave her (fangirling much? I think not enough) so, I think it is safe to say our paths crossing in the way it has was fate. Fran's illustrations are expressive but in a uniquely simplistic way - forms are easily identifiable but not rendered in an as-in-reality sort of way. Originally from Chile, Fran currently resides in Hastings with her husband Ed and their adorable cats Hamburgesa and Cereal. She shares her views on the illustration industry as well as the life of a freelance illustrator so generously on her YouTube channel, it is hard not to like her. Her way of telling stories with still and moving pictures is light, raw and incredibly inviting. Some of my favourite videos or her's are How to Make a Planner + FIRST SKETCHES, Welcome to Hastings (& our creative house), Let's Go Out! KEW Royal Botanic Gardens London.
Mimi, if I remember correctly, was the first illustrator I came across via Instagram. The magical and whimsical feel of her illustrations immediately captivated me and have not let go since our first encounter. To me, there is a sense of weightlessness, longing and adventure in her work; with an ever-present down-to-earth tone, her colour palette (and subject matters) plays mischievously with both light and dark. Closing the door to her life as a corporate lawyer in LA firmly behind her to honour her intentions of being an illustrator, Mimi's journey is one that resonates so deeply with me. I have always struggled with the notion of leaving behind a career I spent 4 years (worth of tears) preparing for in favour of a path deemed too risky especially in the world of today. But she did it, is doing it. Extremely well I might add. Though she does have a YouTube channel, most of Mimi's work can be found on her website and her IG account. Her latest project 'Let's Go Explore' was great to follow and be a part of.
I've spoken about Minnie before but as she is still an artist I admire, there is no harm in me including her in this round up as well. There is a lot to enjoy when you watch a video by Minnie - her voice (personally, I think she can have a rather successful career as a documentary & audiobook narrator), her song choices and, of course, her ever-evolving style of illustration. Gouache is this London based artist's preferred medium of choice but she does dabble in watercolour, variants of acrylics and digital art too. I am a massive fan of her '30 Ways to Fill a Sketchbook' series and really wish I was one of the lucky 100 who got their hands on a collection of the sketches she made as part of that series. I do love her 'Simplifying Landscapes' mini series as well as this speed-painting video - I actually have a print of this hanging on my wall as I love the colours she chose and because I have a soft spot for peonies in general.
I absolutely love Sha'an's work! Her limited colour palette, frequently consisting of bold primary colours with splashes of other colours, effortlessly shows how much you can say with not much at all. Mostly screaming, 'warmth, fun, vibrancy and adventure this way!' her work is a pleasure to look at. However, she is no stranger to using her art to carry heavier messages in a way that cuts through the BS and highlights the heart of the causes she's passionate about. I'm unsure if I admire her work ethic or her studio more but just know I am in awe of both. Her studio vlogs are a great watch as they show behind-the-scenes of some her latest projects (like her 1st children's book, Zoom), glimpses of her everyday life as well as what tools she's currently trying out. During the height of my compulsive art related shopping sprees, I remember pouring over her blog post on what her tried and trusted art supplies are and making a note to try them all out. Let's just say I've worked my way down half of that list and leave it at that shall we?
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And there we have it, art in 5 perspectives. Or is it really 6 because of the part I play as a viewer? And if that's the case, then really it is 'X' perspectives where X = the number of people who read this post and have discovered these artists on their own. Who said math and art cannot go together?
Anyway, I'd love to know the artists who've captured your eye lately!