So many interesting items in your bag! Please walk us through each of them and tell us a little of their story.
The items in my bag vary according to time and occasion. I do carry my phone and sketchbook around with me most of the time and have a habit of sketching people as they eat (and as I eat). Sometimes I carry my Ipad and Pencil for digital drawing. I try to be discreet although on several occasions, people have asked to take a look at my artwork. Sometimes I get a bit freaked out when this happens because I’m never sure if I will get in trouble! The brown paper bag contains highly sought-after items: home-baked oatmeal cookies which have earned me the favour of many of my so-called friends. And drumsticks, because I play the drums!
When did your love for illustration begin? What appealed to you? How has it grown and evolved with you?
I’ve always been drawing and still have some of the sketchbooks from when i was three or four years old. Things really took off a few years ago when for the first time, I put up a couple of tiny paintings for sale at an animal shelter fundraiser. Not only were they sold, but I received requests for more pieces and got my first commission to design a series of Christmas cards. That inspired me to draw more and at the price of a social life, my drawing and painting skills have become more refined with time. I’ve been very fortunate to work with voluntary welfare organisations both locally and internationally. Being able use my art for something good is one of the best parts about being an artist.
Tell us a little about your process. Where do you find that spark of inspiration? How do characters and stories evolve from there?
That’s a tricky question. Sometimes my friends make typos on phone texts and that instantly creates an image in my mind. I have a slightly evil sense of humour and tend to make fun of the things that people say or do, especially when I am annoyed (inappropriate pictures not included here.). My watercolors tend be of more happy and upbeat because I like drawing cheerful animals. And trees.
Do you have a favourite work/series of yours that you could tell us more about? What makes it special?
I was really bored one day and only had a scrap of paper and a black ink pen on hand. I love doing quick sketches and seeing how I can interact with the picture by drawing an ink line on my finger. These are one of the simplest illustrations that I do for fun, and also apparently, one of the most popular on my social media platforms.
Do you think the nature of illustration will need to change, given the rapid digitisation that’s happening?
Mmm… I’ve been encouraged by my friends in the industry to learn digital drawing and painting as that is what illustration is moving towards and what clients seem to prefer. So while I am trying to take baby steps along that path, my happy place is still with pen, paint and paper. A hand-painted portrait is always more personal than a digitally illustrated one.
Any upcoming projects or events that you’d like us to know about?
While having a full-time job as a special needs therapist, and doing my own illustration work, I’m also part of the Band of Doodlers. I have been busy bribing/terrorising/hassling fellow artists to share talent and conduct hands-on workshops as part of Doodle Fiesta, a year-long arts outreach programme.
Since it is Tusitala’s 6th birthday this month… how would you spend your birthday in an ideal world?
Oh my! Cake, fried chicken, Disneyland, snowboarding, skydiving, rock climbing and more fried chicken.