This month, we’re celebrating student creativity! We spoke to Annabel Lobb, a creative illustrator studying at the University of Leeds. Annabel was one of our fantastic students that created a series of illustrations for the Co-op x Student Watch magazine, which you can check out here.
Design is for everyone that loves to be creative and here at Hype Collective, we recently collaborated with Adobe to promote their Adobe Digital Edge Awards to students. The Adobe Digital Edge Awards celebrate game-changing student projects that use Creative Cloud to take uni work to the next level. Did you know, you can enter your work to be in the chance of winning two top awards of £9,250 in cash, with six runners-up winning £1,000?
Hype: Hi Annabel, it’s great to talk to you! Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Annabel: Hi! I’m a Masters student studying Advertising and Design at the University of Leeds. I did my Bachelors degree in Fine Art with Curating so it has been a bit of a turn studying such a business heavy degree. However, I realised I wanted to start using my creativity for a purpose and working on briefs and campaigns for real world issues. It’s definitely been a step in the right direction.
Hype: What are your favourite ways to get creative?
Annabel: There’s nothing more I enjoy than sitting down, putting some good tunes on (anything Stevie Wonder) and getting creative. I like to experiment using random objects and materials and see if I can create illustrations from them. I’ve tried things with egg cartons, sponges and paper cut offs – sometimes they look amazing and other times slightly naf, but it’s fun to play around! I like to find ways to recycle things too, I’ve recently turned a can into a plant pot with the help of some paint.
My favourite way to get creative digitally is to open my Procreate App and just have a doodle. Sometimes I find my best work comes from when I’m starting with a blank canvas and blank mind
Hype: Recently, you worked with us to collaborate with Co-op and Student Watch for an illustration, tell us more about this and the experience!
Annabel: I was so excited when this opportunity came around. I’d only completed one other illustration commission before this, so it was really exciting. I illustrated an Article on Student loneliness, which the team at Hype Collective gave me full creative freedom on. I remember feeling really enthusiastic to get stuck in to it but also slightly nervous. I wanted to create something that the team would be pleased with and would work well with the article.
Hype: Is there anything in particular you always find yourself leaning towards when illustrating?
Annabel: Absolutely. Plants, Abstract/ Organic shapes and colour! I sometimes wonder why I always favour these things when sitting with a blank canvas in front of me, but realise they are just some of my favourite things in life.I have a flat full of plants and I think they are so beautiful and make any space look nice and feel calm. Sometimes I feel like a walking juxtaposition because I love minimalist neutral things but then I also am drawn to anything with bright colours, which I think you can tell from my illustrations. I’m a bit like a magpie with jewellery when it comes to colourful things.
Hype: Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations?
Annabel: I find inspiration from such a wide variety of sources, including illustrators who I have followed on Instagram way before I even started practicing myself. I love to visit Art Gallery’s and Exhibitions and often find inspiring colour combinations or forms. However, I find I’m most inspired when I’m not looking for it. I do enjoy Pinterest for inspiration, although it’s hard to not get into a rabbit hole of so much work that you are left feeling a bit crap about your own work and ideas.
Hype: The ultimate question: which is your favourite Adobe Creative Suite program to use?
Annabel: It would have to be Illustrator! I feel like it can really perfect illustration and there are so many different things you can do on it, and I’m still learning about all the tips and tricks.
Hype: How do you use the Adobe Creative Suite in your uni work?
Annabel: I use other Adobe Software such as illustrator and photoshop for my illustrations if they need a touch up. At uni, I’ve recently been using Adobe Dimensions which allows you to place your graphics on to packaging and 3D models which is really cool! I’m getting the hang of using InDesign for layout purposes like presentations and portfolios.
Hype: And finally, to those who are looking to explore illustration but don’t know how to get into it, what piece of advice would you give them?
Annabel: I think it’s very easy as a creative in any discipline to feel like your work is never good enough. Sometimes when I go looking for inspiration I’m left feeling deflated, uninspired, and (hard to admit) a little jealous of other people’s work. But I’ve come to realise that to be true and authentic is the best thing you can do – nobody else will think exactly like you or produce work like you so that is your strongest tool.
I suppose that was kind of a piece of advice but my main one would be to not limit yourself, (at least not too early). What I mean by this is that I’ve always debated whether it’s better to have a really iconic and recognisable style or be fluid.
I love being able to see a piece of work and be able to recognise who’s work it is (David Shrigley or Keith Haring for example, who both have such iconic styles). Having a recognisable style can be really championing. However, I think it’s important to show adaptability and differentiation in your work and capabilities too.
I love nothing more than to try out new ways of using digital and physical materials and I’m amazed to continually find new things that work. It keeps me going and inspired to come back to it again and again.