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Beach Meets: Jayde Perkin

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Continuing our series of recent grad interviews, we chatted to Jayde Perkin – her delicate watercolour illustrations are full of cute pastel tones, and fun representations of everyday life.

Plus, I’m a sucker for an illustrated gallery scene (a la Rose Blake) – and Jayde’s business card was a HOT version of this. We chatted to her about process, grief, Berlin and more. Some nice new pins by Jayde are up in our (external link) shop.

What are you up to today Jayde? *

Today I’ve got some editorial work to finish up, so I started the day by going out for a run, whilst listening to Bowie in my headphones. I showered and now I’m just sitting with a coffee and some muesli and answering these questions. I’ve just received the approval from a client about some roughs, so I’m going to spend a good few hours painting that up, have some lunch while it dries, scan it in and send it off to the client. Then I’ve got some orders to get ready to send, i’ll probably do some scrolling/ updating on Instagram, run some errands, and then I’ll do a bit of sketching for a personal project.

So talk me through the process of creating one of your paintings?

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The past few years has seen a change in the process of my work. I used to rely quite heavily on Photoshop to piece my paintings together, but I’ve been bringing it back to basics and I now paint everything in one layer. I begin with roughing out ideas, I play with characters and compositions, and I’ll draw it all out in pencil, when i’m happy I’ll make some coffee and start on the painting, I mix colours, and paint it all up. Coffee is my drink of choice. When it comes to food I’m a such a snacker, I sort of graze throughout the day…. when I’m really focused on painting I sort of forget to eat proper meals, so often I will snack on fruit, rice cakes with hummus, or my terrible weakness is anything salted like nuts or bombay mix. I’d like to say I’m dead cultured and always listening to podcasts or documentaries or audiobooks, but truth is it’s pretty much always music for me, when I’m feeling indecisive I just have BBC 6 Music on in the background. Though I regularly distract myself from my work by creating playlists… I have a collection of some damn good playlists, all with different themes/ emotions.

You’ve illustrated for some nice names in the independent magazine world such as Lagom and Anorak - does your process change when it’s for a commission? What about when it’s for children?

My process doesn’t change too much when it comes to commissions, I will still try and make my work as hand painted as possible, though it usually takes a bit more planning, as once I’ve started painting it’s can be tricky to make changes and amendments for the client. So I’ll plan the colours a lot more, so the client knows what almost exactly what the final artwork will look like before I start painting. Depending on the brief, I will sometimes paint certain elements in separate layers so there’s room for adjustment if needs be. I struggled with drawing children for a long time, but like everything it just takes practice and time, and now I’ve learnt to adapt my work to be more ‘child-friendly’, like changing the shape of my characters, bigger eyes, rounder faces, brighter colours, friendly smiles.

What’s your favourite thing to draw? Do you try and sneak a motif in in every piece of work?

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My work is very narrative based; I enjoy creating stories in my illustrations. I love trying to get different settings and atmospheres through in my work. I’m very interested in the role of women, and as a woman and feminist who makes very personal work, it feels very natural for many of my characters to be female, too. And as I mentioned earlier, I listen to so much music that I’ll often sneak some musical references into my illustrations, especially in my comics, I like the idea that if someone looking at my work ‘gets’ the reference, it’s like a little in-joke with the audience. Where is the best place for inspiration? I think it’s safe to say that in recent years we’ve become so reliant on technology, social media, our mobile phones, and in turn I’ve come to learn how important it is for me to switch off and disconnect. I like to get away from it all, go for a run and listen to some music, or go for a long walk, and just give myself time to think, and allow my thoughts to flow around freely; it’s at these times where my ideas tend to take shape. Travel is really important too, I’m fascinated by new places, and with people; I could sit and people-watch for hours.

Some of your work is really personal, do you find drawing the best way to process your thoughts?

Absolutely. Last year was a difficult year for me, and I found it therapeutic to create comics, it became a way of learning about my own grief and how to understand and process my thoughts. My comic ‘Breathe In Deep’ was my initial response to my mum passing away in March; it was cathartic, and really difficult to make. But it received such a brilliant response, and that was really wonderful. I also made a short comic called ‘Paving Paradise’ a couple of months ago, this was created in a similar vain, but it was about leaving Berlin and moving back home. It was about childhood nostalgia, our attachment to what is ‘home’, and how grief doesn’t go away but it changes shape and form. And what have you got coming up? Any plans to do some more awesome pins? I recently moved back to the UK from Berlin, and so my new years resolution this year is to get my butt around the UK to as many comic fairs as possible. I’m currently in the process of making the artwork for some comic ideas I have, and building up some ’stock’ to sell, hence the pins! Definitely going to make some more pins though, I was so chuffed with how they came out; it’s great to see my illustrations in such a different and tangible (and wearable!) format.

Thanks Jayde!

Check out Jayde's profile in the link and give her a follow.

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