- Hi Elaine! Could you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
Hello..., I'm a 19 year old art student currently finishing my last year of university.
I was born in Shanghai, China, but came to live in Australia when I was 7. Right now I'm running my illustrated blog, Fill Me In, where I write and draw about the local businesses and people of Adelaide, the town that I'm currently living in. I want to connect the locals on a personal level, and to tell a story with my illustrations. I keep all this in my sketchbook journal.
- When and how did you get into art journaling?
I only became serious about frequently keeping an art journal when I received my first sketchbook in university.
It was for a short exchange trip to Hong Kong, because I thought it would be fun to document everything with drawings. So I did, and although I hardly got any sleep because of it, it made the trip so much more special. I felt the same emotions and excitement when I looked back through the drawings, as opposed to all the photos I had taken on the trip, it was hard to remember what was so breathtaking and stimulating. I realised that photos may document details best, but illustrations can document emotions.
- How would you best describe your artwork?
I really dreaded this question haha. I've been trying to find my own style for so long, sometimes it looks forced. I guess I would say 'loose', 'expressive', and 'impressionistic'. Something that is easily relatable for the viewer so that they can make a quick connection with my work, I don't want to close anyone off.
- What inspires your artwork?
Everything. Everything that I read, everything that I see on a daily basis, particularly the places I go to. Cafes, people (I love observing their fashion, or just the way they've positioned themselves, or the curves and edges of their bodies. Creepy? Probably). Recently I realised that I'm also inspired by the idea that I can be of service to someone or a community. It motivates me to know that my artwork can brighten someone's day, or promote their business in a personal way.
- Along with your sketchbook, do you keep a separate writing journal as well?
I have a diary to schedule my appointments and deadlines, but other than that, my sketchbook is my journal. I don't think I can handle keeping two journals, and I'd rather not be left alone with my thoughts for too long haha. They get a bit too dramatic when you let them have too much of the spotlight, don't you think?
- Any particular time you prefer to use when creating?
If I could choose, I would say when I'm traveling and in the early morning. Unfortunately, I have to learn to do this around the clock, even if the last thing I want to do is draw. I end up doing most of the 'creating' late at night because of university, work, and good old procrastination.
- How often do you art journal?
Everyday! Since it's become the highlight of my blog, there's always something I need to draw.
- What type of journal or notebook do you use or prefer?
I loved my first notebook. It was a classic black Rhodia. It definitely wasn't designed to be an art journal though, all the pages crinkled and squirmed when I used my watercolors.
I use Leuchtturm1917 sketchbooks now, their pages are thick and versatile. I still love Rhodia's product design, so if they ever came out with a sketchbook, I'll be ready to pounce.
- Do you have a favorite or preferred art tool at the moment?
My Lamy Safari fountain pens. I love working with ink and pencil because I am well-practiced in that area. Watercolours have always been a love-hate tool to me. I need a lot more practice, but I won't give up.
Your typical artist's answer: Any and every colour. I think it really depends on where a colour is used or applied. Just do it right!
- What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am / I was very awkward in real life. Being an introvert, I never took the time to socialise until I entered university and realised how crucial networking is. I was nervous about greeting people, meeting new people, ending conversations. My awkwardness can still slip through occasionally but the steps I've taken to become more sociable has given me confidence and enthusiasm to talk to strangers. Part of the reason for what I'm doing on my blog, going out to draw and interview people, is so that I can push myself to communicate and socialise better as well.
- What advice, tip, or suggestion would you give for anyone looking to start creative art journaling themselves?
Just do it! I know you have that fresh, brand new notebook sitting on your shelf, pages smooth, clean and polished, and you can't bring yourself to make the first mark because everything in it must look beautiful. Stop putting all that pressure on yourself! It's a notebook for crying out loud, don't think too much, on the paper is where you should be thinking, not before you even get to the paper. The more you use it, the better things will look, just do it.
- Other than journaling, what are some of your other hobbies and interests?
I like to take my camera out and play with lenses. Traveling is definitely one of my biggest interests. Reading, listening to music, going out for runs and walking along nature trails, oh I would love to do these things when my assignments are over.
For all you wonderful readers looking to connect, you can find Elaine and more of her creativity here:
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