Creating a Unique Style through a Thoughtful Process with Anna Wray

Anna Wray incorporates a variety of mark making and drawing techniques, stepping back and forth between studious observation and unrestrained expression. The resulting characteristics of her work are deep and varied but cleverly masked by considerate editing to give a sense of fluidity and ease.

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As Anna talks about below, the unique style she has created comes from a series of thoughtful choices throughout her process.

By being selective with colours and materials, and switching between ways of working throughout, she has developed a lively and exciting visual language that is forever revealing new and welcome surprises.

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I always carry a sketchbook, everywhere I go, that way if I have a visual idea I can get it down on paper before I forget about it.

I find that if I maintain a discipline of daily drawing, ideas just keep on coming, it may be that I just make a 5 min drawing—or I might spend hours drawing, I just keep doing it.

I don’t get too upset if my work isn’t on top form everyday, I just accept it as the ebb and flow of the natural creative process. A sketchbook is really a visual diary.

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The drawing materials I am never without is a mechanical pencil and a set of Faber-Castell colouring pencils, the quality of colour is really intense, I also love Moleskine sketchbooks, nothing beats the way the pencil draws on the fine and smooth paper texture.

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I am very interested in a very limited colour palette and enjoy choosing 2 or 3 colours and really seeing what I can do with just those, this, I think has evolved from a love of ’50s and ’60s illustration where the printing technology only allowed for a few colours, I love the simplicity of colour, line, characterisation and texture of those early illustrations.

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Line is really important to my work, I like to combine two very different approaches in the same drawing, one of carefully control and one of wild abandon (such as a loose scribble).

At the moment, I am making work that has an element of quirkiness and visual humor—just a hint. If I start to smile when I am drawing a character, I know it’s working.

I like to make the characters a little bit ridiculous by extending their proportions. I spent my entire childhood doing just this—so I haven’t moved on much!

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Right at the end of the creative process I’ll scan my drawings into Photoshop and play around with the colour combinations and maybe collage 2 or 3 drawings together and see what happens, this is the really exciting stage where all the hard work is done and I can tweak and fiddle until it all starts to come together.

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© Anna Wray, 2016

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