Please introduce yourself:
I’m Taynee, somehow I’m 32! I live in Leicester with my partner, three children and French Bulldog Betrand.
How did you get started?
I was an only child until I was 10, which pretty much means I had to entertain myself growing up. I drew and created and made stuff from a very young age, always mostly girls of some sort, faces, clothes, characters. I went to University Falmouth in 2004 and did my Illustration degree.
What is your work all about? I’ve always enjoyed drawing women, it’s only recently that I’ve found a way of doing it that others seem into too… having children changes you, you see the world in a different way and hope for so much more for them. I like to celebrate diversity, I’d love to help others feel comfortable in their own skin as I’m learning to myself.
What makes you tick/drives you? I love subcultures, misfits, pioneers. Unusual faces, gap teeth, freckles, big ears, to quote Tyra ‘perfect is boring, human is beautiful’ or John Waters ‘To me, beauty is looks you can never forget. A face should jolt, not soothe.
I honestly love to draw, if I don’t get to be creative for a while I get a bit sad. It might not always be what I am supposed to be drawing though!
How did you find your style? Has it changed since you first started? I think it’s hard for style to not change, especially when influenced by fashion, in fact, I was once turned away by an illustration agency because they couldn’t slot me in any of their boxes. I do like to work in a few styles, but hopefully it’s still obviously my work., I’ll do a very quick ink drawing, or a detailed painting but always with distorted features, especially over sized foreheads, that’s my jam for sure.
Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums etc? I LOVE PENS! I usually start out with a quick pencil sketch and work over it with my Pentel brushpen, adding details with a Pigma Micron fineliner. Sometimes I’ll use paint, sometimes Promarkers, sometimes Photoshop for colour. I have beautiful sketchbooks but seem to do my work on scrappy bits of paper that I leave in the scanner and forget about.
How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process? I’ve been writing down a lot of quotes and song lyrics recently, and they’ve been feeding into my work. I’ll see a t shirt I like or a face and need to draw it. I tend to draw my next haircut for a while before it happens too!
What do you do during creative slumps? Erm, will I sound ridiculous if I say I crochet or sew or make linocuts, or try out needle felting? Ooh and once we’re not breastfeeding I’m going to a pottery class. If I don’t have anything to draw I’ll go searching for reference material. My partner says this answer is cheating as they are creative things still…
What is the best/most fun part of your job? I don’t get bored, I can take things from my brain and make them real, well not quite, Penny Crayon, that’s the dream isn’t it?
What is the worst or most difficult part of your job? Juggling a house and school runs and bedtimes and dinner times and food shops and breastfeeding every two hours night and day and some days having to wait until everyone is asleep before I can get anything done with ‘to do’ lists swirling around my head and ideas falling out my nose 24/7. Oh, and self doubt.
Do you have any other projects or hobbies you’re currently working on? I’m considering new things to put my illustration on, I ran a Mercht campaign with t shirts, but I’d love to run them as a permanent line. I have a HUGE four eyed painting I started over a month ago and haven’t had time to revisit. I have a rainbow crocheted floor length kimono cardigan I’ve started, I’ve drafted a pattern for fabric baby bonnets, and I’m going to make a colouring book… some day haha!
What are your goals for 2017? I’m not very good at goals, it took me a long time to realise I’m not competitive, I do enjoy the journey though. If it wasn’t for a group of very special women I’m not sure I’d be selling my illustration right now, they believed in me and pushed me and I just kept rolling <3
Top 5 inspirations for your current work? I love Frances Cannon & Mel Stringer, check out their work if you haven’t already. Punky Moms are my forever Muses (but there’s a lot of them, I’m counting them as one, a unit) Isabel Hendrix is a favourite, I have a whole list of strong women on my ‘to draw’ list, Betty Rizzo was first, ahead of her time!
What would be your ‘words of wisdom’ to your younger self just before starting off?
Don’t listen to EVERYTHING anyone says, take note, apply your own logic and don’t let anyone crush your spirit one bit. Not everyone will like you, doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. What would Rizzo do?
+Is there anything else you would like to add? Love a bit more, lift each other up, tell people nice things, stick up for what you believe in.
You can follow Tanyee and check out her work on the links below: