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Artist Talks: Alison Soye

A couple of weeks ago I went up to Edinburgh and when I was there I met up with Alison Soye, who is an illustrator I discovered through Instagram. We met up in Lovecrumbs (the best cake n coffee shop) and chatted for a bit before heading to Princes Street Gardens to draw the buildings and surrounding scenery.

We spoke about how we present ourselves online as artists this is something that we have to use more and more to get our work out there. Alison is currently working on an exciting project illustrating a children's book. We drew some of the buildings when we met and spoke about how amazing it is that people can both be drawing something in front of them at the same time but interpret it so differently. Alison's sense of line is more structured than my chaotic approach but we both have a similar continuous way of capturing what is in front of us, Alison's way of drawing is very instinctive.

I've put together a small interview with Alison for you to learn more about her process and ways of seeing.

Why is drawing important to you?

Drawing is important to me because it makes me see things I might not otherwise have noticed - for example, the quirky outfit someone on the street is wearing, the beautiful buildings in the distant horizon or the shapes and colours of the leaves on trees. Whenever I take out my sketchbook and paints, I start looking at things around me in a new light, which I love - it is so relaxing to be concentrated on only one thing at a time - and not think of anything else but your pen and paper. Drawing is also very important to me because I take great pleasure in making little doodles or pictures that can put a smile on peoples faces. The satisfaction I get out of drawing, alongside the feedback and appreciation of my work from others is really what keeps me wanting to do more and more!

How has social media helped you and do you see both the positive and negative sides to it?

 Social media has been a huge help in pushing my work forward into my surrounding communities - both at home in Northern Ireland, and Edinburgh, where I'm currently living. From tagging local shops where I'm selling my work and posting prints I illustrate for local clients, to making connections with other nearby creatives and feeling a sense of support and encouragement, it really is an amazing help as an illustrator. And not only that, but it keeps me eager to showcase new work, which in turn pushes me to keep creating and stops my work from becoming stale. The downside of using social media regularly is that I sometimes become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of beautiful work out there and I start to adopt a 'well they've already done that so I'm not going to try' mentality. I limit this by not following a crazy amount of people and instead only a select few who I really want to see on my feed every day - people whose work I am genuinely interested in and can keep up to date with. I'm not a huge fan of slick, curated feeds either, as although often beautiful, I don't feel that they inspire me as much as seeing an artists gritty, unedited work process and the many challenges a creative can face on a day to day basis!

Who are some artists you have found online who inspire you?

Oooh this is a tricky one - there are so many! I love Nina Cosford's work - her little illustrated outfits and travel sketches are just so adorable... I loved her GIRLS series of illustrations, based on the TV series too. Clair Rossiter is another illustrator whose work I found online (I think through looking at illustrated maps - she does so many beautifully!) I love Alice Melvin's papercuts and prints and Laura Hughes serves as perfect inspiration for the children's book illustrations I'm working on at the minute. For outdoor illustrations I love Padhraic Mulholland's work - often of quirky buildings and birds he see's on his many outdoor adventures through Norway, where he is currently living. He takes a darn good photograph too! Obviously there are so many more but if I tried to name them all we'd be here all day!

I've found the links of the artists Alison has mentioned so you can have a look to see her inspirations. A huge thank you to Alison for taking the time to answer my questions and taking the time to meet with me up in Edinburgh.


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