Meet the Maker: Nicola Walker (Envy Row)
Can you describe your creative work in a few sentences?
I use a lot of colour and wonky hand-drawn inky lines. I like to think that my work brings a little colour and joy into the lives of those who engage with it.
What’s your favourite medium to create with?
I love to work with traditional pen and ink, but I also create a lot of my art digitally. Digital art affords me the freedom to travel with everything I need to complete finished artwork without the worry of spilling ink all over the contents of my bag (again)!
Can you share a programme/art supply brand/item you love working with?
I absolutely love the Procreate app. The drawing app includes a great variety of brushes, the ability to work in layers, and to export artwork in various commonly used file types. Plus, it was a one-time purchase so it’s affordable and extremely user-friendly. I use it every day!
Do you create every day? If so, do you have a set time to create?
I draw every day. Even if it’s just for a few mins. Even on busy days. If there is a blank surface nearby and a pen in my hand that blank surface isn’t safe! I am trying to get into the habit of sketching something (anything) last thing before I go to bed. Just taking note of my day or to help me turn off from my day.
Do you have a ritual around creating?
If I plan a proper ‘drawing day’ there are a few things I like to do:
- I like to have a playlist, an audiobook, or a TV show picked out and ready to rock before I start drawing- I like background noise although I’m not sure why because I typically TUNE OUT entirely when I am creating art. I’m a big fan of the Chilled Cow Spotify channel.
- I often create art in bulk so I will usually have a list of things that I need to draw before I start creating. For example, if I’m planning a pattern collection, I typically create a sketch of what I want the finished sell sheet/portfolio page to look like and then I make a list of the different elements that I will need to draw to make those patterns a reality.
- If possible, I like to have a collection of reference photographs on my laptop so that I can quickly flip through them as I draw.
- A few years ago, I overcame my fear of ruining a nice pencil sketch by bypassing the pencil sketch stage altogether. Unless it’s a digital drawing I jump right into ink and accept my artwork as it is. It’s very empowering!
- Sometimes I create with brush and ink and other times I create in Procreate before bringing everything into Adobe Illustrator to finalise (unless it’s a raster image in which case I just use Procreate- did I mention I love Procreate?).
- I always do line work first and worry about colour later. I’ll probably change a colour palette several times before I settle (and then a few months later I’ll probably change the colours again)!
What’s your favourite part about your creative work?
I love that when I am creating- it’s like the world around me isn’t happening. I get into such a state of flow that someone could be talking directly to me and I quite simply don’t hear them. I’m not sure that’s entirely a good thing (rude much?) but I love that creating art gives me that space to be entirely myself. It draws my focus onto whatever I am creating at that moment and the rest is just background noise for a short while.
What’s your least favourite part about your creative work?
The images that I create in my mind’s eye are often much better than the reality of my creations. I often compare and pick my work apart (like most creatives probably do) and this can lead to not sharing the artwork. However, I don’t tend to scrap a lot of work. I’m a firm believer that most artwork looks rubbish until it is finished!
What would you tell your younger self about your creative work?
Backstory- my younger self was rejected from art college. This fact impacted my self-confidence like you would not believe! But I love creating and I’ve explored so many different forms of crafting over the last 10 years. I think I would tell my younger self (and my today self) that you don’t need external approval to do the thing that you love. Keep doing the thing you love, keep learning and experimenting and you will find your voice, your people, and your space in the art world.
Do you create with a certain person/target group in mind?
I’ve been thinking about this recently- moving into 2022, I’m keen to combine my professional background in Occupational Therapy, my experiences as a cancer care youth worker, and my love of illustration to create art that will empower people to look after their minds and engage more with the joys in life.
I have too many interests to niche down! I create little doodles to share my own journey into the world of ramp skating and the beautiful sense of community associated with the sport. I also create body positive art which is rooted in my own personal mission to share the stories of real people, their bodies, and their stories when we are otherwise exposed to unrealistic lifestyle and beauty standards in the media.
Where can people find you and your work?
@envyrow on Instagram and Twitter (general art)
@envyrolls (roller-skating journey and roller-skating themed art)
@foofart (body confidence/femme art)
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