Poonam Mistry kindly answers some questions…

Poonam Mistry kindly answers some questions…

I have mentioned and shared Poonam Mistry’s (she now has a new website here) work before, as she’s one of my favourite current illustrators. She has kindly agreed to answer a second set of questions for me (you can see the 1st set here).

Be sure to visit her site and admire her work as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed.

1. How well did you find college/university has prepared you for the “real world” as a working illustrator?

I was quite lucky at uni to have teachers that explained
the process of getting a commission and how to deal with it. In that
respect they did prepare me. When I studied at university I don’t think I
was prepared as other student from other unis were with the basics like
a website. It seems pretty obvious but when you have no idea how to
make one it’s difficult. Noone is going to take you seriously if you
don’t have a proper online source which displays your best work.
2. How did you begin your working life as an illustrator? Do you work at it full-time?
Actually I don’t work as an illustrator full time. Not
yet anyway. I was lucky enough to get a few small commissions and also
sell quite a few of my screen prints but now I want to get my name out
3. Do you work from home or a studio? What do you enjoy about where you work and what benefits do you think it has?
I work from home. It’s just a personal preference. Even while
studying at university I did the majority of work at home. I found it
very difficult to work in an environment with lots of other people. I
like to close myself off from everything as I find it less distracting.
At the moment I work in my kitchen. It has a large table and lots of light which is important to me.
4. Could you describe your working method? From idea to execution?

I get a brief I sketch anthing that comes to mind. Try to develop it
into a solution that works. My sketches are awful. I try not to to do
anything too fancy. My working process is very complicated. It wouldn’t
make sense to draw a rough that was too detailed as it would be a waste
of time. In my roughs I mostly just play around with shape and
composition. The patterns come naturally afterwards. Then it’s a case of
lots of drawing and Photoshopping!

5. Have you got any tips for an upcoming illustrator (some of whom are still studying)?

make the most of the facilities you have while studying! And to also to
make sure you do your best work in your final year. When I was on my
summer break coming up to my third year at uni, I made a list of
everything I wanted to achieve in my last year. I wanted to do
screenprinting so much I made it possible to do in the most important

Also to trust yourself and your decisions. You know your style
best. If you can justify a decision yourself then you should go for it.
Learn to become more independent as your teachers won’t be there when
your a freelance illustrator!
6. Finally, what do you like most about being an illustrator? And the least?
Just doing what I love! 🙂 The worst thing about being an
illustrator is the fact not alot of people know what it is. In fact alot
of people I have come across don’t even the know the difference between
graphic design and illustration. Also probably the most irrating thing
is the whole issue surrounding plagiarism. I have seen so much work that
is just copied it’s ridicious people can get away with it.