First Im­pres­sions

The wa­ter­colourist on Nor­man Rockwell and Kick­starters

ImagineFX - - Issue 153 November 2017 -

Why Tif­fany Eng­land’s cat is hun­gry for art!

Where did you grow up and how has this in­flu­enced your art?

I grew up in Mesa, Ari­zona. My fam­ily was very in­flu­en­tial in my cre­ativ­ity by en­cour­ag­ing me to play and make up sto­ries. When I got to high school, I was lucky enough to have a ded­i­cated art teacher who gave me a head start on the fun­da­men­tals of art and art his­tory.

You’re a child, you see a paint­ing that changes ev­ery­thing. Where are you and what are you look­ing at?

I was lucky enough to get a field trip in high school to see the trav­el­ling Nor­man Rockwell ex­hibit at the Phoenix Art mu­seum. I was blown away by the ex­pres­sion and char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of each paint­ing and think­ing to my­self, “This is what I want to do. I want to con­nect with peo­ple the same way these paint­ings con­nect with me.”

What was your next step in art?

Af­ter that, I started prepar­ing to take art classes at the com­mu­nity col­lege. I re­mem­ber I didn’t have a spe­cific di­rec­tion I wanted to go in, but I knew I wanted to ex­plore.

Does one per­son stand out as be­ing help­ful dur­ing your early years?

Com­mu­nity col­lege was where I re­ally made the de­ci­sion to pur­sue the arts. I had two teach­ers who fed my art hunger and they couldn’t have been more op­po­site in their ap­proaches. One was a clas­si­cist fig­ure painter teach­ing the fun­da­men­tals and the other came from a con­tem­po­rary per­spec­tive en­cour­ag­ing cre­ativ­ity and ex­plo­ration. Tak­ing their classes made a well-rounded art les­son.

Tell us about your first paid com­mis­sioned piece?

It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand not to put too much em­pha­sis on per­fec­tion

It was three months be­fore I grad­u­ated. It was to il­lus­trate sev­eral char­ac­ters for a self-pub­lished book about green liv­ing. I soon re­alised that what I learned in school didn’t trans­late equally to real life.

What’s the last piece you fin­ished, and how do the two dif­fer?

My lat­est il­lus­tra­tion was a full­colour, wa­ter­colour mer­maid paint­ing. My first com­mis­sion was pen and ink char­ac­ters. I feel they both are gen­uinely me, but they dif­fer in ma­te­rial and sub­ject mat­ter. I def­i­nitely feel more com­fort­able us­ing wa­ter­colour than ink.

Is your art evolving? What’s the most re­cent ex­per­i­ment you made?

I feel my work is al­ways evolving be­cause there’s con­stant ex­per­i­men­ta­tion go­ing on. Just re­cently I picked up a wa­ter­colour sketch­book for ex­per­i­ment­ing with colours and tex­tures.

What is the most im­por­tant thing that you’ve taught some­one?

I feel like it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand not to put too much em­pha­sis on per­fec­tion, es­pe­cially the first time you try some­thing. Most of the sat­is­fac­tion you’ll get from cre­at­ing comes from the process, not the end prod­uct.

What ad­vice would you give to your younger self to aid you on the way?

Keep go­ing and make de­ci­sions that will keep you true to your­self. Also, don’t worry about com­bin­ing fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity with your pas­sion. Find work that en­ables you to pay your bills and is as stress-free as pos­si­ble, to give you the time to cre­ate in your free time.

Can you de­scribe the place where you usu­ally cre­ate your art?

I have a very tiny apart­ment that I share with my sweet­heart. My stu­dio space is in the cor­ner of our bed­room. I have a nice wooden draft­ing ta­ble that my par­ents got for me and I’m sur­rounded by bas­kets and jars filled with my art sup­plies. I have to keep my wa­ter­colour pa­per tucked away in port­fo­lios to stop my silly cat from nib­bling on the edges of the pa­per.

How has the art in­dus­try im­proved since you’ve been work­ing in it?

It’s been en­cour­ag­ing to see in­de­pen­dent artists pub­lish­ing their art books via Kick­starter. This is be­com­ing more im­por­tant for me to have creative free­dom and this av­enue pro­vides a vi­able op­por­tu­nity for that. I’m ex­cited for the fu­ture. Tif­fany is a full-time free­lance il­lus­tra­tor who’s worked on chil­dren’s books, trad­ing cards, CD/DVD cov­ers and more. See more of her art at www.tiffanyeng­land.com.

The Siren’s Silence “This is a re­cent il­lus­tra­tion in­spired by the Mer­may hash­tag. I was re­ally taken with this par­tic­u­lar draw­ing, which led me to ex­plore her en­vi­ron­ment a lit­tle fur­ther.”

This­tle Queen “This was in­spired by a hike around Wat­son Lake in Prescott, Ari­zona. I was fas­ci­nated by all the dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of this­tle present in one area.”

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