Sketching used to make me cry. Having an art assignment to turn in made me procrastinate, bite my nails, and get super nervous. I loved art, don’t get me wrong, but I never felt like my work was good enough to be put onto paper, let alone be showed to anyone. I felt like I barely survived my first year in art school (let alone, how did I even get accepted?!), and then when I transferred to FIT and had to take fashion illustration courses, and show the rest of my peers my figure illustrations, I seriously wanted to pass out from embarrassment. (Let’s be real, they probably weren’t THAT bad… but still…)
And then one day, it clicked. I figured it out. I spent all of my time trying to illustrate the way they were telling me to. THEY. The teachers, the professos, the students, the textbooks, the lessons, the current trends. They. And sitting at home that night, procrastinating because my next collection of illustrations was due the next day, I said, enough. Enough sketching according to their precise instructions, enough feeling like I’m not enough, and sitting here crying and feeling like I have to force something onto paper, instead of letting the passion that I knew was buried deep down just flow out. Enough!
And I let loose. For the first time I illustrated the way I wanted to. The way I was passionate about. The way that felt like I was actually creating something. I let the figures and the clothes and the bright red lips flow out onto the paper, and for the first time ever, I was excited, and proud about every single figure I created. And I had fun! And this time it was a different type of finger-biting nerves I carried into class the next morning. I was finally putting myself out there, creating something that was meaningful to me, and what if they actually didn’t like it?? (Spoiler alert: it was the most encouraging, and most exciting response I had ever had in a class critique.) It was like they could tell that I had finally done what I was supposed to do. My sketches weren’t supposed to be cut from the same cloth as everyone else’s, it had to be personal for me.
So I want to start sharing my sketchbook with you. The people, the clothes, the designs, and the stories that I illustrate every day. Some of them are finished, some of them are rough ideas, but they are all a representation of me, and my work. And I want to encourage you that if you ever start to lose the passion behind what you’re doing, check and make sure you’re actually doing what you love in a way that you’re passionate about. Don’t design, or photograph, or create in the way you see everyone else creating simply because that’s the trend, or that’s what you think you need to do to succeed. Create from a place of being passionate about what you’re doing, and keep it personal. And yes, that means that maybe you won’t attract everybody. But you will attract YOUR people. And those are the ones you really want following along. I promise.
When I looked back through the original portfolio that led to my initial acceptance at FIT, I can see me in the sketches. The me that I tried to squash and leave behind and learn to draw the way they told me I had to in the industry. The illustrations were far from perfect, and rather disproportionate, but the passion was there. And that’s probably what got me into the school in the first place.