Gods Hate Monsters
Interview by Sophie Minello
Octavia is an artist from the UK, making her name known through her drawings of musicians.
Her unique line style and use of color immediately stand out, as well as her keen eye for composition.
We spoke with her about her breathtaking work in the interview below.
When did you discover your passion for art?
It’s not something I’ve really thought about, like there wasn’t really a definite moment that I can remember. I think from being young, art’s the only thing I’ve really enjoyed doing, and anything I could draw on, I would. My mum’s an art teacher so I’ve been surrounded by art and that probably helped.
You have such a beautifully distinct style; how did it develop?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing people, or features of a face (eyes are my favourite to draw) so the subject hasn’t really changed.
Hair has been something I’ve hated to draw, so that ended up being something I never filled in (or only slightly), and I guess that’s something which has stuck, I think that’s something you could probably look back at, and even though my style has changed, that’s still the same.
But I feel the pieces I do now are more ‘finished’, I think my older stuff looks like I’ve just not been bothered to complete it (that’s probably true), and being all grey got a little boring for me. It got to a point where I just thought ‘what next’ and that’s when I wanted to see how I could use colour within the pieces.
How does music play a part in your artwork?
Music goes side by side with it; if I’m drawing, I’ll be listening to something. I started out drawing musicians I was going to see live, and I’d try and meet them and get the drawings signed, and that’s kind of how everything started out with my Instagram page. It’s got to the point where that’s starting to die down a bit, and now I’m just trying to draw bands/musicians I find interesting, rather than drawing a band I’m going to see.
Do you ever struggle with staying inspired? How do you deal with that?
Yes! I can go weeks without wanting to do a ‘finished’ piece, then it may just happen randomly, or I end up having a lot of ideas that I want to get down. If I’m in a slump I try and find interesting references online (usually Instagram), just so I have a bank of images I could use in the future.
I always try and draw in my little sketchbook, even if it’s just a really quick face or something, and I think doing something little like that helps.
Sometimes you just have to wait it out (which can be annoying), but I find most of the time if you force pieces they’re usually not as good.
Did/do you go to art school? Was/is it beneficial?
I’m currently at my local college doing a 2-year art course (in my second year at the moment). I’m really enjoying it!
I think it’s beneficial learning different techniques, and even If it’s something you’re not going to use in your work, you still have it just in case.
It’s nice to be put out your comfort zone as well, and make art you wouldn’t have done usually.
All your drawings have such precise detail. How long do they usually take to draw?
If it’s something quick probably a couple of hours, but with the ‘finished’ pieces they can take quite a while, I usually go back and forth several drawings if I’m not really feeling them, cause sometimes I’m just not in the mood to be doing a particular piece.
In my sketchbook the drawings are usually using no reference so they’re very quick and rough, but it’s quite nice to take a break from the band illustrations, and just draw some random things that aren’t as precious.
What are your go-to supplies?
In my pencil case I usually have a few mechanical pencils (favourite is 0.3mm), a rubber, a few coloured crayons, and fine liners.
You seem to work with lots of different types of media. What’s your favorite to use and why?
At the moment, my favourite is probably coloured pencils, I just really like how they are on paper, and they don’t smudge (which is vital).
I really enjoy oil paint as well, but you’ve got to be committed to start a piece, and I just don’t have the time at the moment haha
Thoughts on digital drawing vs. hand drawing?
Both are great, but for me digital probably pushes past hand drawing. I’ve been using an iPad for my band/musician pieces since the beginning of this year (using the app Procreate), and I’ve just been able to create much cleaner pieces, and experiment with my use of colour and textures without worrying at all about doing anything wrong, or messing up. It’s also a lot easier that you have everything you need on the one device.
I do prefer hand drawing when I’m doing quick sketches for myself though
What’s your advice for aspiring artists?
This is probably what everyone says but just make sure you enjoy what you’re doing! And don’t worry about what anyone else does or thinks about it.