We will always remember Pepper as one of our early customers who helped to test our Sketchbook prototype, back when we were still developing it in 2016! Her art has become so much more intricate over the years, that sometimes it's hard to believe she paints everything by hand. Read on as she talks to us about her personal journey in pursuing art as a passion.
What do you draw inspiration from the most?
Lately, I’ve been into food art but I try to draw inspiration from anything. I think it’s pretty obvious that I love to draw girls in pretty dresses. I have a few Pinterest boards dedicated to historical fashion, but I generally enjoy painting frills and torturing myself by painting small, small details.
What are some of the most painful details you've drawn?
Definitely laces! They can get very repetitive so it gets boring quite easily.
What mediums do you prefer to use?
I fell in love with watercolour all the way back when I was in high school when I watched my friend work on a painting with watercolour and it looked so magical. I really love the vibrancy and the transparency of watercolour, watching the colours spread on the wet surface is so therapeutic and satisfying.
What is the most challenging part of working with watercolours?
Watercolour can often be so effortless but it can be very unpredictable at times and it takes some practice to learn how to control it. One of the frustrating things about watercolour is that you cannot undo your mistake. Watercolour is transparent so it’s not like you can just paint another layer in an attempt to cover your mistake.
How would you describe the Mossery Sketchbook?
Truly wonderful! As someone who has been using Mossery’s products before they came up with the sketchbook line, they really went beyond my expectations. I love the papers they have chosen for their sketchbooks — the 300gsm Watercolour Paper choice is such a blessing for me!
I really appreciate the fact that the sketchbook has a section where I can write down notes. I usually write down my ideas somewhere so this feature comes in handy for me. Also, I like to keep a few artworks that I have either commissioned someone to draw or were gifted to me in the pockets. I can pretty much carry them safely and cry over them wherever I go hahaha!
Tell us about your creative process—what is it like from start to finish?
My process is unnecessarily tedious! Most of my ideas appear at the most random times, so I’d usually write them down somewhere. I’d then sketch a few thumbnails and see which one I like the most. After that, I’ll make a proper sketch on my iPad, since I find it easier to fix any mistakes and plan my colour palette digitally.
Once I’m satisfied with the sketch and have decided what colour palette I am going with, I’d print out the sketch and transfer it onto a watercolour paper by tracing over it with an HB pencil and a tracing light pad. After that, I’d proceed to the colouring stage with my watercolour. My planning process is long but honestly, it saves me the stress and reduces the possibilities of having to redo my painting.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
Honestly, I don’t remember! But I do recall doodling on the walls of our house when I was very young. I’d look back at my childhood photos and the walls in the background were covered in pencil and crayon doodles. I think my parents had the walls repainted but my younger brother and I would persistently draw on them again anyway.
How does your family come into play when it comes to your creative journey?
My parents know I express myself best through visuals. My dad is someone who believes how important it is to apply creativity in our daily lives, especially as a problem-solving technique. Overall, they have been quite supportive!
Do you believe in talent? Why?
I guess not? It’s true that some people are blessed with the ability to perceive objects and colours easily and some people are fast learners. However, I’m also a firm believer of hard work and practice. Art requires a lot of practice, effort, skills, and creativity — you can’t rely solely on talent to be good at it.
How do you handle criticism?
Back when I first started my art Instagram account, I was terrible at handling criticism. I wasn’t used to all the attention I was receiving and it was very frustrating to receive criticisms when you don’t want them.
I think I’ve gotten somewhat better at it. I realised I’m the type of person who requires time to process things, so I’ve learnt to just sit down and take my time to think over any critiques and feedback that I receive. If I receive something that’s not constructive and/or is completely negative, I’ll do my best to ignore it.
What’s one of the best advice you’ve ever received in life?
'Failures aren’t failures if you’ve learnt something from it.' I dropped out of my master’s degree a couple of years ago because the course I had chosen didn’t suit me and I didn’t know how to seek help. I was the youngest, the only fresh-grad out of the 6 people in my batch and I didn’t know how to keep up with everyone. It drove me to a point where I experience panic attacks almost daily, so I decided to quit the programme.
The friends whom I went to high school with went to get their master’s degrees and some even got their PhDs. It crushed me that I couldn’t make my parents proud but in the end, I realised everyone’s journeys are different. I learned a lot of things from this experience and it somewhat shaped me into a stronger person.
In return, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Love yourself better and don’t beat up yourself too much. There are a lot of wonderful things about yourself that are yet to be discovered.
If you’re given only one word to describe yourself, what word would it be and why?
I was thinking ‘dramatic’ but then I realised I see myself as more of an ‘overthinker’. I’m the type who would overthink and overanalyse every single little thing.
You shared a little about your mental health. Could you share if creativity plays a role in maintaining your mental health in any way at all?
I personally think creativity makes a good outlet to channel out my thoughts. As someone who does art for a living, I try to find something aside from painting as my outlet (but still art-related). I write and doodle out my thoughts in a journal to organise and declutter the million things I have inside my head. I worry a lot about perfection and quality (not to mention I can be quite lazy sometimes, haha), so I try to make this journaling thing as quick and simple as possible to keep up with it regularly.
Tell us a secret.
I’ll keep this one light! I don’t know if this can even be considered as a secret but when I was younger, I went through a phase where I’d dress in black almost all the time—I hated skirts and the colour pink—and I used to listen to a lot of heavy metal. Fast forward to the current me, I wear skirts almost all the time and I probably own 5 or 6 different shades of pink hijabs!
You can follow Pepper on Instagram here and shop our Sketchbooks here!