This post is from the PARROT Talks archive.
Hi Rebecca! Can you tell us all a little bit more about who you are?
Hi Flora! My name’s Rebecca – I am an illustrator from the South Coast of England and run my Instagram page Rebecca Journal. I graduated from The University of the Arts London in 2018 with a degree in illustration and have been enjoying keeping my practise going since!
What do you do?
I work mainly digitally using my tablet to draw lots of fun gals in clothes I wish I owned – all of whom seem to have fringes I could only dream of being able to work! I have always drawn girl gangs since I was little – I loved Bang On The Door (remember her!), Garance Doré and Jeffrey Fulvimari’s illustrations growing up and I was completely influenced by them. I also love drawing faces (I’m super inspired by Matisse and his gorgeous but simple line-work) as well as making digital collages to help inspire me – I really enjoy curating images and creating a mood through found photographs. I would love to be able to begin working with ceramics and see my drawings on objects – I love the idea of creating something that is fun to look at but will be used and loved for years and years to come.
What made you start your business?
My brand began to form towards the end university – I worried so much about grades whilst studying which meant I shut myself away from experimenting and having fun with drawing. My tutors encouraged me endlessly to let go and try new mediums but I weighed myself down with my own judgement. When we finally handed all our degree work in I felt so relieved and weirdly so free! I began using colour in ways I hadn’t before (spoiler – I used NO colour before) and began drawing with my trusty tablet which hadn’t seen the light of day for years. I felt like I could draw whatever I wanted because I wasn’t tied to any grading system and through that, I began to slowly generate a new visual identity and my own way of working. I changed my Instagram handle to Rebecca Journal because I felt like my profile was my own online journal, full of all sorts of work and scraps of ideas. I began seeing myself as more of a brand when I began receiving print orders and commissions – I worked on creating a brand identity by finding fonts I liked, specific colour palettes and making little stickers and wrapping for orders.
You have such a recognizable look (which I love!) on your designs – where did this come from and when did you start drawing in this way?
Thank you so much! This question is difficult because I’m unsure of how I ended up drawing how I do! I am always trying to develop how I draw. The way I draw now has come from years and years of practising and phases of very – ahem – interesting styles, it has taken so long for me to reach a place where I feel like my drawings are truly me. I think the best thing for me was to stop comparing how I draw to how other people draw – everyone is different and it’s okay to not be the same as someone you are inspired by. I think in 5 years time my drawings will look very different to how they do now and that is fine with me! It’s healthy to see everything as a process, not a finished and complete thing. You are always growing and changing and that is good!
You use lots of tonal, muted colours in your work. What is about these shades which you are drawn to?
Colour is something I am always kind of scared to use and it’s only more recently that I’ve began working with colours and feeling positive with how it looks! I definitely gravitate towards warm colours that feel contemporary and full of life but are equally calming and simple. I usually draw with colours I utilise in other aspects of life – I love warm, tonal interiors and I use terracotta, shades of beige and cream in my own home! I always look to fashion and art for colour inspiration – this is why I love using digital collages to help me create moods and colour palettes. I will find fashion photography and editorials as well as runway pieces and photographs of nice scenes to help inspire me!
Who or what inspires you creatively?
I absolutely love scrolling through my Insta feed for amazing illustrators and visual communicators to help me feel inspired and motivated. Instagram (or any social media platform) can be somewhere that harbours anxious thoughts, encourages you to compare yourself to others in a negative way and make you feel glum. But it’s also exciting and wholesome if you use it in a positive way. I use Instagram to engage with people who are true to themselves and are kind, genuine people who I’d love to be friends with in real life! Thanks to Instagram stories, you can really get to know creators and there is such a lovely community feel growing- especially right now when we need it most. Seeing work that makes me happy encourages me to carry on doing what I’m doing and push through!
What would be the absolute goal for you and your illustrations?
Oh gosh I do not know! I find myself panicking when I think about where I’d like to be in the future – there is so much I’d love to do but I never know how to get there! I’d love to work with fashion brands some day, using my illustrations to help promote new collections or maybe even seeing my drawings on pieces! Fashion communication is a pathway I’d really like to take my illustrations down and I hope to apply for a masters next year to help me begin wandering down that road!I would like to see Rebecca Journal grow and become something I can make a career from – but I know I have to be patient, keep making all the time and try to remember how far I have come since I graduated!
How have you been coping during isolation? Do you have any tips for keeping a creative mind busy?
I think there’s weirdly some pressure on creatives to be using this time in isolation to make more than they ever have before but that shouldn’t have to be the case. We are living through some really strange times, if drawing or painting or sewing or sculpting makes you feel good then do it, but if you don’t have the energy just focus on looking after yourself. And stay indoors! There are some amazing resources at the moment to help you through the days – Alexandria Coe is running online life drawing classes; Liv Purvis has been hosting a very wholesome bake along with her Dad via Instagram lives; The Insecure Girl’s Club Instagram is brimming full of positive affirmations to help you be kind to yourself whilst the London Drawing Group has some fab online workshops you can enjoy with a cocktail in the evenings. Perhaps try out some stretching with Yoga With Adrienne over on You Tube and there are so many brilliant films to spend time getting through on MUBI and Netflix that you will be spoilt for choice! The MoMa are running free online art theory courses at the moment and they are wonderful for inspiring you without feeling like you have to create. I also love listening to talks on art to help me out when I’m not feeling it or looking through fashion and art journals.
What do you miss most from a mundane day in the pre-corona times?
I miss being close to people I love – being able to hug my friends and my boyfriend, talk to them without it being through a screen, drink cocktails and dance in the sunshine. I live in a coastal town but the sea is too far for me to get to on a daily walk! I can’t wait to be able to sit on the pier and look at the water. I’m so grateful to be able to stay safe at home whilst our amazing and courageous key workers battle through this for us- we owe them so much. Isolation makes you realise usually the simplest of things are most important!
What’s been your go-to isolation outfit? Are you making the most of slouching in joggers or are you more of a ‘get yourself all dressed up for the living room’ kind of person?
I try my best to wear clothes each day that make me feel good but are still comfy, do my hair and put some earrings on! I also really feel like spritzing a wee bit of perfume makes me feel so much more put together. There are definitely days I stay in pj’s, but wearing clothes that are more day-time appropriate then retiring to pj’s in the evening helps the day feel more normal and productive! I love Monki and Free People for really soft, lovely quality basics that are lounge-like without being too sleep-wear-ish.
Can you give us any recommendations?
One of my favourite independent shops for all things lifestyle and beauty is The Hambledon in Winchester. It’s such a gorgeous, light and airy building with an edit of the prettiest pieces that give The Hambledon it’s very distinct personality. Their website is still up and running, plus they are making local deliveries! I also love Brighton based Our Daily Edit- It’s the most pleasing shop to look at with some gorgeous brands – they really know how to find the perfect colour palettes and curate their products beautifully.
And finally, what’s next for you?
I think my goals right now are the keep making, keeping finding positives and be patient. I would love to start a ceramics class once we are out of lockdown and until then I will keep trying my best to fill the time with things that make me happy!
All of the gorgeous imagery in this blog post was from Rebecca’s Instagram (which is really worth a follow!) – she is online @rebeccajournal.
Thanks for reading, take care,