A lover of art with a great eye for detail and plenty of talent, Anum Tariq is the brain and hands behind Illustrations by Anum. Anum has cleverly found a way to fuse her love for fashion and arts in the creation of her very pretty illustrations. A multi talented personality, Anum also works full time as a prop stylist and graphic designer. Today, she gives us a peek into her world and business.
Who is Anum Tariq? I’m a freelance fashion illustrator. I also work as a prop stylist and graphic designer at an online stationery company.
Can you share with us your educational background? I did my bachelors in Political Science and English at UC Berkeley, and got a certification in Graphic Design after that. Fashion illustration was something I was always interested in, and experimented with on my own, but never received a formal education in. A couple of summers ago I took a fashion illustration course with Parsons Paris, and then just practiced and developed my technique on my own after that.
Ah! Paris, please tell us more about your time there, what did you love the most about that wonderful city? I completely fell in love with Paris – the beautiful architecture, the style, every charming bit of it. I would sketch in the studio during the day and go out and explore the city and museums after. Wandering in the Jardins du Luxembourg, indulging in Pierre Hermé macarons in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, sipping lattes at outdoor cafés. There’s really just something in the air there, it’s inspiring.
How did you know graphics, and illustration was the path for you? Art and fashion are two things I have loved for as long as I can remember. Entering a creative field was almost inescapable, because whatever my plans were initially (I was considering Law at one point!), ultimately I was drawn to a path where I could utilize my talents in a practical way, doing something I truly had a passion for. As cliché as it may sound, I’m lucky to be able to do what I love for a living.
At what point did you decide you definitely wanted to venture out to start Illustrations by Anum? How did you go about setting it up and getting the word out? It all happened very organically actually. Social media has played a huge part in the development of my illustration brand and has really allowed me to expand my reach and build a following. I started posting a few of my illustrations and sketches on my blog, Tumblr, and Instagram about a year ago, just as a creative outlet. People seemed interested and started requesting custom pieces and wanted to purchase my illustrations, so I set up my Etsy shop soon after.
What is your favourite part of the design process? My favourite part of the process is when the client approves the concept (the pencil sketch) and I can begin painting it in. That’s when I’m able to bring the illustration to life.
How do you combine your personal commissions with working full time? And how do you stay organized? My nights and weekends are usually dedicated to my illustration projects. Since I rely heavily on email for communication with my clients and for Etsy orders, I need to maintain spreadsheets where I can update the current status of all my orders. And my iPhone is always by my side with my to-do lists and reminders to keep me on track.
What are the common challenges faced by illustrators and what is a smart way to overcome them? With illustration and commissioned art, working under strict constraints is normal. It may be someone else’s (very specific) vision, but it’s important not to sacrifice the integrity of your work and your unique aesthetic. Interpret the ask so that it falls in your realm, and though it may be a little out of your comfort zone, it will be your chance to explore a new facet of your creative style.
What would you say the best things are about having your own business? The flexibility of working on my own schedule. And the luxury of being able to choose the projects I want to take on.
What inspires your drawings? My illustrations are a nod to the modern fashion girl, with an essence of contemporary glamour. I find inspiration anywhere from the runway to a fashion campaign in a glossy magazine, to street style blogs and fashion books. I’ll often find beautiful color or mood inspiration in textiles and photography as well. Pinterest is a great resource and I often build boards for projects I’m working on to keep all my inspirational images in one spot.
What would you say your entrepreneurial tips/advice are? Network. Word of mouth, and these days, social media, can often lead to new and exciting projects.
If you could do anything differently, what would you do? I can’t say that I have any regrets; every experience and decision has been an opportunity for me to learn and grow as an artist and as an entrepreneur.
What next for Illustrations by Anum? I hope to expand my brand and look forward to more opportunities and collaborations in the future.
Besides drawing, what do you like to do in your spare time: I love travelling, shopping, museums, and going out in the city with my girlfriends.
Brunch or Dinner: Brunch
Favourite Colour (s): Black, Gold and Fuchsia
Other illustrators whose work you admire: Izak Zenou, David Downton, and Monsieur Z
If you could pick one, favourite social media channel: Instagram
What you are currently watching on TV: Scandal
You would describe your personal style as: Feminine chic, modern glam
Three things you wouldn’t want to live without: Family, friends, technology