This month, we’re speaking to Nicola Robson who featured in our SHORT SHORTS issue last year. We talked to her about why outer space draws her in, what gets her creating, and how to tackle the blank page.
Thanks for taking part Nicola! How is April treating you and your art?
I love April, it's my birthday month (yay!). It's been going great so far!
You often seem to be drawn towards space/Science Fiction - what's your inspiration? What makes drawing outer space so attractive to you?
I have to say listening to Enter Shikari definitely kick-started the space theme. It all got a bit out of control from there and the ideas started flowing out of me. I can't pinpoint my fascination with it, maybe it's the unknown and the feeling of connecting to something that is so far away and out of reach.
How often do you draw in a week, and what motivates you?
I aim to draw seven days a week, it's rare I don't actually get to fit it in! I'm self-employed, so I make sure I manage my time so I can always include it in my day. I've always had a passion for art, but in the last couple of years it's become very obvious to me that it's the only thing I really get a buzz from. I always feel on a high after I complete a piece or draw something I'm proud of. My motivation is always to be better, so that's what keeps me going. There's so much I want to do that I still can't do yet, so I'm always striving to get to the next level.
How would you describe your style?
My style seems to change depending on what I'm drawing. I feel I’ve found my style when it comes to weird little illustrations, which was a great breakthrough for me, but I'm not 100% sure about other things yet. I absolutely love doing detail and I find it hard not to include it, so I'm trying to teach myself minimalism so I can broaden my skills. I'm still finding myself a bit, but there's no rush. It's a fun journey!
What's your main choice of medium?
When I started properly getting back into art about five years ago I started with digital art. I try to do 'real' drawing too, but digital always pulls me back. If I'm not using my Surface Pro, I've really been enjoying Promarker pens. It seems to be a good way to create solid pieces without using the computer. I also enjoy fineliner pens and pencil drawings. I’m not a huge fan of using watercolours, but I think I'm not too bad when it comes to acrylic paints. It's hard to choose a favourite, I think it depends on what mood I'm in!
What's the most challenging thing about the blank page?
If I don't plan what I'm going to do, I usually can't create anything. I'll end up drawing something with no direction and deleting it. A blank page is only challenging when there's no direction, otherwise I love seeing a blank page and creating a whole new world on it from my head. I've never really had any problems with where to start, it comes quite naturally to me luckily!
We heard you're starting an Etsy shop . What's your plan and where do you see yourself as an artist in future?
That's the plan! I haven't as of yet as I keep sucking myself into learning new skills and getting carried away! It's on the cards though. I just love the thought of strangers having my art on their walls. It would make me super happy if my art was making someone else happy.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out, or picking up their paints after a long time?
To have a goal and stick at it! Aim to practice at least once a day, even when you don't feel like it or can only fit in a quick sketch. I've surprised myself at how far I've come in a fairly short space of time just from being consistent.
Nicola Robson is an illustrator from Devon, England. She finds most peace when surrounded by her husband and four pets, and, of course, with a sketchbook in hand. Primarily a digital illustrator, she is now branching out into the world of ink and paint on paper.