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  • Writer's pictureHannah Balogun

I just realised....

So I spent the weekend talking about my Instagram feed to some of my fellow peers, and I realised something, I'm a graphic designer with a passion for illustration... I mean you would think after doing illustration as a hobby here and there for 3 years, that I would probably know this, but I wasn't, or more so I was in denial - which I still kinda am. I've always said that I would never be an illustrator because I like it too much. I've received commissions via Instagram, some good, some I could do without, but the whole idea of someone making decisions on my illustrations just seems so unattractive. Not because I can't take feedback, mate, me and feedback are two peas in a pod, but it's the way they make decisions that shouldn't be made, I mean it's different if the feedback was valuable and changed the work for the better, especially because I tend to work for people who aren't from a design background, but their paying after all, so I just make do because I'm not at that stage of my career I guess, and everything counts as experience.

I'm currently working a 9-5 job as you probably know if you've read some of my previous blog posts, and despite saying I have no time for myself, I kind of do, I just misuse it. I've been wanting to update my blog for months because I love the whole idea of telling the story behind my work and thoughts, but I guess being out of uni for a few months has made me forget what that's like, but the majority of the time I just can't be bothered. However I really do want to make it a habit, I'm in this phase where I keep saying "oh, I would love to try that", and "yes I will definitely upload a blog about that" but I don't.

Going back to the topic of my Instagram page, I've began to realise how much I've changed over the years, and even though I know there was a lot of hesitant and decision making every time I decided to change my style, all that matters is that I gave it a go, and why? Because I wanted to try something new, I wanted to improve and explore my skills, and at the end of the day the content I create isn't going anywhere, it's like a time capsule for my work right?

So yeah, what inspired this blog post? What inspired these realisations? Wrapping paper.

We've got a Pop-Up shop project coming up at uni for our DPS class, the brief was to make something, anything, that can be reproduced about 10-20 times to sell in Elephant and Castle. I've been focused on ways I could make a product from recycling for the past 2 weeks, but after going to the briefing yesterday, my eyes opened and I saw that the world is your oyster - someone will be personally customising someone's trainers, another is making a tiny little lemon brooch - the possibilities mate. My idea was going to be t-shirts made using recycled plastic bottles, and the t-shirt design would incorporate an illustration of water bottles to show and indicate how many water bottles were used to make the t-shirt. Below are some scans of my notebook, along with the interesting facts I found to do with bottle recycling and how many are used to make different fabrics. I've also added some quick drawings I did using the following drawing techniques that people usually dread:

- drawing the object with your dominant hand whilst not looking

- drawing the object with your non-dominant hand whilst looking

- drawing the object with your non-dominant hand whilst not looking

All of the techniques above were done in under a minute because the quicker, the snazzier.

Moving on, I realised my idea was too much effort for such a basic idea, especially because of time, I had to keep in mind that the pop-up shop is very soon and working 9-5 limits the time of exploration I can do in terms of idea generation and experimenting with materials.

Any who, back to wrapping paper and being i n s p i r e d - I've been so stuck on what to do for my new idea of wrapping paper for the pop up shop, Christmas is around the corner and I've always loved the idea of patterns, so why not wrapping paper? Why? BECAUSE THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS, there's legit no brief, and as a Graphic Designer, I find no briefs slightly stressful. Essentially the only direction is to make wrapping paper, it doesn't necessarily have to be Christmas themed - after all the whole point of the shop is so we can make something different, inspired by a UAL shop called "not just a shop". My brain keeps going to typography, because as a Graphic Designer who should probably be obsessed with typography, I feel like that's where my mind should be at, but the same time, I've realised that the fact that I always get stressed around the idea of typography probably means I should give it a break. I've always said that illustrations are too easy for me and don't challenge me, but I think that's because I always approach it the same way.

So Hannah what have you actually realised because this blog post is getting very long? (get to the bloody point mate)

- I'm a Graphic Designer who can illustrate. This isn't unknown, but it's also not very common, so why not use this skill to my advantage?

- I can love more than one thing. Just because I'm studying graphic design, doesn't mean I cant add illustration into my title.

- Don't think, just do. Despite looking at other people and thinking 'wow I wish I was that talented' in reality your skill set never start at 100%, and I keep forgetting that even I'm an example of that when I first started illustrating. I could barely use the pen tool, thus why I went for the 'geometric' style at one point, but the more I did it, the more I learned, and now?? I and the pen tool are the best of buds x

- It's good to be inspired, but don't compare too often. I keep doing this in terms of illustrating, but if you scroll down to my first Instagram post, there was nothing to compare it to. I knew for a fact that my drawings weren't amazing because there were so many others doing the same thing I was doing, but the point is that I tried to make what I was doing my own, find my own style, not necessarily be unique, because that's when the stress comes, but just focusing on what I'm doing.


Hopefully I'm going to use it.

Below are some illustrations from my recent style explorations, you can also go check out my Instagram to see a couple more @hannah_balogun

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