Today I am pleased to welcome a very talented young woman who has lived in interesting places - Thip Sriyananda. So, tell us more, Thip ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR ILLUSTRATING JOURNEY.
I was born in Moscow, Russia in 1989 to diplomatic parents. I moved around a lot growing up. Every four years my family and I had to move between Thailand and other countries, thus I got to learn how to speak English since the 1st grade when I moved to Budapest, Hungary and attended American International School of Budapest (AISB). I remembered that the four years of my elementary school life there was one of the happiest moments of my life. I remembered that before moving to Hungary, I attended the first semester of 1st grade in this prestigious Thai school where the educational system was extremely traditional and strict. I felt that I had to do everything under the rules and didn’t understand why the teachers had to be so strict. I could still recall the uniforms we had to wear, and how the classroom lacked of colorful decorations. Everything was dull. I wasn’t happy. But when I got to study in AISB, my new classroom was full of colorful wallpapers and cute paper cut-outs, and most importantly I get to meet my wonderful teachers and make friends with kids from so many countries. The teachers there would always encourage us to be ourselves and to think outside of the box. I think those were the times where I first really got to be myself. I did well in most of my classes, but art class was probably one of the few classes I always looked forward to.
WERE YOU GOOD AT DRAWING AS A KID?
Since little, I always knew that drawing is probably the only thing I am actually good at. As far as I could remember, I would sit and draw on A4 papers or sketchbooks for days. I just couldn’t stop drawing! I loved drawing girls in pretty clothes. Barbie was probably my first model. I also loved to look at pretty, fashionable girls in fashion magazines, and if I see anyone that catches my eye, I would draw them. My friends liked to ask me to help them draw stuff as well. I was known as the art kid. The best drawer in class. As a kid I didn’t know what I could do with drawing in the future, but I felt that it is something I want to pursue growing up and that it is my true passion.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ILLUSTRATOR?
I took art class throughout elementary school and middle school, but when I entered high school at American Embassy School of New Delhi (AES), it was that time when students have to start thinking what university they want to go to, what their major would be, etc. I knew right away that I want to pursue art and study in an art college. Most of my friends took the IB Diploma program during high school, but I decided to only do an IB Certificate in art. So from 11th grade to 12th grade, I studied IB Art. It was my first serious art course, where my teacher and the content of the program itself prepare students to get ready to apply for art colleges, especially in the United States and in Europe. During my two years studying in IB Art, every student has to keep their own art workbook where they can record and research about their favorite artists, art movements, or anything that inspires them. The art workbook is also the place where students document their process and developments of projects. I truly enjoyed working in my art workbooks because I could research and write about any artists I like or practice my styles of drawing and painting. From that class, I developed my research and analytical skills and who I am as an artist. I was always either interested in pop culture, pop art, poster and propaganda art, or Japanese woodblock prints.
However, the IB Art class was leaning towards to more of a fine art approach. Students could paint or draw whatever they want, with whatever mediums. It was about expressing our feelings and thoughts as an artist. After I graduated from AES, while most of my fellow art friends wanted to go to art colleges in the U.S., I wanted to come back to Thailand to study in Silpakorn University, which is the only prestigious art university in the country. I got into Silpakorn University International College (SUIC), which is the only international program that teaches art and design. I majored in Multimedia Design, where the course introduces you to everything related to art and design, from illustration, photography, animation, interactive design, web design, to typography and many more. This course teaches you to work and think like a designer. At first I didn’t quite understand the difference between being an artist and a designer. Initially, I struggled a bit when working on my illustrations, because I think as an artist more than a designer, thus the message from my work wasn’t very effective to my audience. From this course, I learnt that to be an illustrator, you have to know who your clients and audiences are, and what ‘message’ you need to get across. I learnt that the ‘communication’ to the target audience is very important. Every color or style used has to have reasons behind it. For my final thesis, I produced a poster series and other promotional prints for the The 31st Annual John Lennon Concert Tribute, where I combined my own drawings with other media such as photographs.
After I graduated from SUIC, I continued my Master’s Degree in Visual Communication at Birmingham City University, UK, where I majored in Editorial Illustration. From this course, I got to further understand the world of illustration, and trained myself to become an effective illustrator.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING AN ILLUSTRATOR?
What I enjoy most is that I get to discover so many talented illustrators out there. To see their level of talent really excites me and motivates me to become better. And of course, what I also enjoy is to sit and draw.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING AN ILLUSTRATOR?
I guess having everyone to appreciate your work. Some people don’t understand or get what illustration is about. It’s just that all illustrators put a lot of time and effort into their work. I don’t expect everyone to like my work, but to me appreciation is important. Also, I just finished my Master’s Degree, so at this stage I’m still trying to get my work known to the public.
DO YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF, OTHERS OR BOTH?
I would like to start working for real clients!
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
My greatest achievement so far would have been making my parents proud by completing all my degrees of studies, and also as part of my final project for my MA Visual Communication course, I designed and work on the whole content of my first published book, ‘Understanding Editorial Illustration: The Guide for Illustrators’, which introduces readers to editorial illustration and other important skills required to become an effective illustrator.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
A series of drawings on female pop idols
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM?
I prefer using pencils and black pens and markers. I like to draw by hand more than using programs like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. But I do use those programs to do some editing and adjusting to my work.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I always go on Tumblr or Pinterest to look at other illustrator’s artworks. I like to look at photography work as well. If I come across any pictures I really like, then I would save them onto my computer. My other inspirations would also be street art/ graffiti art and song lyrics. There are a lot of interesting street art here in the UK, so if I were walking down the streets and spot a cool graffiti work, I would quickly take a picture of it. As for song lyrics, music has always been a big part of my life. I view song lyrics as my inspirational quotes, as something that I could relate to. I think music is what feelings would sound like. Also, at the moment I’m really into tattoo designs.
WHAT DO YOU PREFER TO ILLUSTRATE?
I like to draw portraits of celebrities, especially singers and musicians. I have always been into popular culture, and I guess I like to portray these artists in an iconic way. However, I still love to draw portraits of women more than men. I love drawing their hair, eyes, and lips. Women are elegant and mysterious creatures, and to me there’s a lot I can play with in my drawings. I would love to create gigs and concert posters as well.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM ILLUSTRATOR’S BLOCK?
Actually, yes…a lot of times. When I start an illustration I have to feel into it, or I have to feel that I want to do it, or else I would feel that I have to force myself to work on it. So if I’m not in the mood, sometimes I would start doodling or sketching random things in my notebook to bring the feeling of wanting to draw back.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE TO ILLUSTRATE?
I like to work on my illustrations in my bedroom or living room with music playing from my laptop. I always play music when I work. It relaxes me. Getting to work in an art studio in my university is also a great feeling. I’m always happy to be able to catch the faint smell of paint and see other art materials and artworks from other students.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN YOUR WORK?
The feeling of satisfaction when my work is completely finished, and that other people like my work too.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATOR AND WHY?
I really like the work of Yuko Shimizu, Mr Frivolous, Morning Breath, and Tyler Stout. I like Yuko Shimizu’s work because it involves mixing traditional Japanese woodblock/manga art with contemporary style, and for the other three artists their work has a lot of the styles of street art/graffiti art, and I’m always attracted to that style of drawings.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
The best compliment I ever received was from one of my teachers from the MA Visual Communication course. His name is John Barrett and is also an artist/illustrator. He was the tutor particularly for illustrations students. He told me that he knew I would get good grades for my final projects as I have a lot of ability. He also wished me good luck in becoming successful in my career. He was a really great teacher to all illustration students, and so it meant a lot to me when he said that.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
I never really had the worst comment, but I felt bad everytime when I put a lot of effort and time into my work, and got a bad score.
OTHER THAN DRAWING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love listening to music and discovering new bands. I normally listen to music all day long. If some days I didn’t listen to music, I would feel like there’s something missing. My favorite style of music is indie/alternative and music from the 60’s and 70’s like The Beatles and ABBA. Other than music, if I have some free time, I like reading books, and traveling to new places.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Being at home all day, listen to my favorite music, read some magazines and books, or watch my favorite tv show. I just like to spend a lot of time at home.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I hope to start my career as a freelance illustrator soon, and it would be great if I can work for magazines under the art team.
ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
“Art is anything you can get away with” – Andy Warhol
Clancy's comment: Well done, Thip! I'm envious of your abilities. Hook up with some of the other sensational illustrators I've had on my blog and you'll be laughing. Good luck!