Social media can be a wonderful thing, certainly in this instance; I'm so pleased I stumbled across Carissa Tanton's illustrations. From what started as a need to buy all of her work, lead to me contacting her to see if she could help to bring an idea to life. For a while I have been looking for an alternate way to convey our story and process, to translate exactly how we are working in a simple uncomplicated form.
I wanted to write this blog not only to share the beautiful work Carissa has created for ANUKA, but also as an insight into who Carissa is as an artist, I hope you enjoy..
' Working with Francesca has been amazing, we first met for a coffee to work through ideas and think we accidentally spent a good couple of hours talking about life and shared passions. It's been fascinating to learn about the jewellery industry, so many processes I didn't know about as well as things I hadn't even thought to question, like where the gold, silver and diamonds were coming from that makes a piece of jewellery. Such a joy filled project that I can't wait to see all come together. '
What initially got you on the path to becoming an illustrator?
When I graduated with a degree in Psychology and English Literature back in 2011, I had no idea what to do with myself, so naturally ran away to Paris. That's where I fell in love with art and specifically drawing. When I moved back home to North Wales, I started drawing for the love of it. I then started sharing my drawings on Instagram which eventually led to me opening up a shop selling prints and being asked to do commission work. There was never a real plan to become an illustrator, it just all stemmed from the love of drawing.
How has your style changed since starting your illustration career?
I'm a big lover of simplicity so my style evolved from that, just using black pen and a piece of paper. And although this has very much become a signature of my style, I think the way in which I draw has become simpler. I still love creating depth and interest with patterns and shapes, but I also now focus on how less can do more. I have recently started painting too which I'm intrigued to see how that will have an impact on my style going forward, especially as I'm enjoying working with colour.
(Francesca's Jewellery bench, handmade by her father in oak)
Can you talk through your creative process on our project?
I usually start with getting ideas down in my sketchbook, free drawing in a very imperfect way. Francesca had shared some gorgeous photos with me of her jewellery and all the people that are involved in the process of creating her pieces, so I looked to these for inspiration and tried to pull out the elements that would most simply illustrate each stage of the process. Once I've decided on which element of an image to use, I then work in a more refined way of drawing, slowing down and concentrating on the placement of line work to create a clean image. Sometimes I'll draw with pencil first and then go over in pen. I do still like to keep an element of the free drawing. I think the slight wonkiness of hand drawn is its appeal, so I try not to be too much of a perfectionist. I then scan in the drawings and edit on Photoshop, mostly to clean up any mis-drawn lines or pencil marks. The colour elements were then added digitally using Anuka's minimal colour palette.
(Bespoke circular process- From design to finished modern day heirloom)
Where do you go for inspiration/motivation?
I'm currently hugely inspired by nature. Since getting a dog a few years ago my daily walks have had me falling in love with the changing seasons and the delicate lines you can find in nature, whether that's the patterns left by the sea in the sand or the markings on a leaf. I also have quite a busy mind so need solitude and daily meditation to slow me down, and its amidst quietness that I feel most motivated and inspired. When I'm really feeling a bit of a block then I do turn to the work of others and can be so incredibly inspired by the beautiful things that other people create.
Do you have any tips for making sustainable life changes?
I think it can be very overwhelming to look at sustainability, especially online, so my best tip would be to look around you. Look at your own daily life and see where things could be improved and then seek out how. I feel like so many people can end up buying unnecessary items because they're labelled as sustainable, but the best way to be sustainable is use what you already have and be mindful of what you actually need. I think upcycling and buying second hand are my favourite sustainable life changes. Nothing gives me more joy than sifting through treasures in a charity shop. And I upcycle all my paper by blending it up and making new paper, which is surprisingly simple.
If you could impart one piece of invaluable information, what would it be?
Ooh this is quite a tough question. I guess a big life lesson I've learnt over the past year is that you have all the answers yourself. I was constantly looking for other people to answer my questions, whether that was simply what to have for dinner, or questions about my business, up to more profound questions of life. Once I stopped asking others and just asked myself instead, life got a lot simpler and I felt more empowered. This may be a bit on the woo side, but I really do think you're the best person to answer your own questions. It can take a bit of practice, and I've found tools like tarot and meditation to be helpful but tapping into your own intuition has been invaluable to me.
And finally, Fairmined Gold or Recycled Silver!?
(Illustration of Francesca, Founder of ANUKA)
You will see these illustrations and more come to life over our website and social media, helping to share our story.
To learn more about Carissa Tanton: https://carissatanton.co.uk/ or visit her on Instagram @carissatanton