Interview: Jojo Rickart

Jojo is an illustrator, designer and Instagram addict. Her love for illustration, makes her design work wonderful and quirky. I was lucky enough to have a little interview with her.

Hello Jojo! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

Thank you for having me, I’m so excited to be on your blog.

I adore your work. What inspired you to start doing illustrations?

I’ve always drawn and as I went through school illustration just seemed to be the direction that I naturally went in. I prefer drawing to photography because I can draw absolutely anything I imagine and put my style, personality and humour into it too.

Have you always been into illustrations, design and art?

Yes!! From really young, I was always making things out of A4 paper and sellotape while covered in sequins – and I haven’t really changed at all since. Art was always my favourite subject at school until Year Seven when I could take Graphics and then I became really obsessed with all things Photoshop.

How has your creative process changed since the start?

I feel like when you’re at school there’s lots of copying existing art and tracing so as I got older I really enjoyed starting using my own imagination to inspire my work and got a lot more creative. I still use pretty much the same method as I used to then only I have moved on from smudgey HB pencils and blotchy fine liner pens – thank goodness.

What equipment do you use for your work?

I start doodling on thick A4 paper - I am very picky about what paper I use for some reason!! – and draw using a cheap mechanical pencil. Then depending on what I’m doing, I’ll go over my drawing in fine liner and then scan it in so I can manipulate what I’ve done on Photoshop add colour and shading.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

My Wacom Tablet!! It’s scratched, dirty and bashed in but I use it for absolutely EVERYTHING and take it everywhere with me. I do also think glitter is an essential although I don’t really think I use it as much as I should.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

It’s good to share your work with others, even if it can be scary. It’s useful to get feedback from your work – although if I need a really critical opinion, I’ll send my work to my brothers because they’re always the most honest. Social media is also good to gain inspiration. I’m permanently on Pinterest looking for ideas, screenshotting things on Instagram and reading blogs.

Who inspires your work?

People. I know lots of illustrators draw animals and there is a BIG audience who loves cute cat drawings but that doesn’t really get me excited – sorry! I like drawing characters because people really interest me. I can give them personalities too and dress them in clothes that I design the patterns on. Every character I draw I give a name even if I don’t share it and it’s often based on someone I know or a musician I’m currently obsessed with.

Do you have any favourite pieces of artwork or illustrations that you adore at the moment?

Just all of Laura Callaghan’s work. I recently got the opportunity to meet her and got so shy and full of nervous laughter. She paints all her illustrations by hand and the level of detail in every piece is just incredible. The hours she puts into her work is crazy, she is so dedicated.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram?

I never really plan ahead with my Instagram. I’ve been trying to be a bit braver and sharing more of my work so hopefully you’ll see more of that. So expect updates of my third year projects where I do a self-directed module. I’m hoping to do pattern design this year as that’s always something I’ve adored. Also, in December, for a few years now, I’ve done advent drawings every day until Christmas Day – which I have started planning so I’m not up until 3 in the morning drawing madly like I have some years.

Do you have any career plans?

That’s a very good question. As long as I’m doing a job where I get to do something creative, I won’t go completely mad. I like the idea of being a Visual Merchandiser at the moment because I love doing that in my job currently and I don’t think I’m suited to sitting at a desk all day every day. Then in my own time I want to pursue my illustrations – which would reduce the pressure of it and make it more enjoyable. I really want to start my own Etsy shop selling greetings cards once I graduate. I’ve started doodling some ideas already.

What are you currently working on?

My summer project for Uni. It’s taking me far too long, honestly, I’m adding so much detail and I’m hoping it will pay off. It’s by far one of the biggest projects I’ve done, with the most characters in it. Some days I’m very proud of it and other day I’ve stared at it for so long I really start to hate it.

What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?

Talking to people. I find the creative world can be competitive and intense so sometimes I am tempted to shy away from talking about my ideas with people. Recently, I’ve tried to talk more to people on my course about their work and connecting with other creative people. This helps me pick up skills and learn things better than sitting in a lecture sometimes. Even just talking to my friends that don’t do art helps too. I’ll doodle something inspired by a bizarre conversation I had with my friends just to make them laugh.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Instagram?

I first got Instagram as soon as the app came out – which makes me sound very sad – but I only started using it regularly when I discovered the blogger Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge. My aunty and I used to do the challenge every day. You get given a daily prompt and a hashtag to use so you can see the photos of other people doing the challenge across the world. It was a lovely way to keep in touch with my family as well as being inspiring. The community of people who participate are very supportive, friendly and comment a lot on each others photos. It was a great starting point. I’ve tried to do it again since, but now I prefer following my own prompts and uploading whatever I like. I always encourage people to get Instagram. It’s my favourite social media because it’s so visual and a lot less maintenance than a blog, it’s just so easy to use. Try not to over obsess about what your posting and just enjoy all the pretty pictures.

Do you have any advice for designers and illustrators?

I really don’t feel qualified to answer that honestly! But I feel like the thing to remember is not to compare yourself to other people. That’s what makes you scared to create and forget why you started to begin with, which was for the love of it. Also, your work is so much better when you just do your own style instead of trying to be someone else in an attempt to gain followers.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

It’s not especially creative advice but when I first decided I wanted to pursue a creative career a lot of people were trying to persuade me against it because it’s so hard to find work and make money from it. I nearly gave up entirely and took a ‘sensible’ subject. Then one day my mum told me ‘you’re far too young to give up on your dreams’. I’ve said it to many people since then of many different ages because it’s so true - no matter what your age. Her telling me that was the final lift of confidence I needed to do what I’d always wanted to do and follow my dreams. And I’m glad she did or I think I might be doing something I really hated now!!

Please follow Jojo on her Instagram ‘jojorickart’ for exciting designs, illustrations and of course a love for quotes.