Want my job? with Digital Illustrator Paris Anthony-Walker

Voice speaks to Paris Anthony- Walker, Digital illustrator, who paves the way for young Black women in the industry. Her unique portraiture work combines faces of those she loves with boldness and edgy detail.

Want my job? with Digital Illustrator Paris Anthony-Walker

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hey! My name is Paris, I am 25 years old and have been drawing ever since I can remember. I’m a digital Illustrator and currently a Masters student studying Creative Advertising Strategy.

What does your job involve? Give us the typical outline of a day?

Whilst I am studying, I don’t have much time to draw, so the freelancing aspect of my life is quieter than it has been previously. However, before studying my day as a freelance Illustrator consisted of: replying to lots of emails; liaising with clients; working on projects for clients; creating my own personal illustrations, and regularly creating content for social media.

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What’s great about your job?

The great thing about my job is that it’s based on my talent. I am approached because people find my art appealing and have found something they are able to relate to within the piece. It’s also really nice to be able to build a community and interact with those who appreciate my work.

What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?

I don’t particularly enjoy the admin side of freelancing as it can be very time-consuming and every request is different. Also, having the confidence to charge what your work is worth can be challenging at first, but it gets a bit easier over time. Thankfully, I have an Illustration agent now who deals with that and who I can learn from.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

I am pleased to say there are definitely a few. One is being featured in Yellowzine’s first magazine, which was an issue focusing purely on UK Illustrators. Another is being commissioned by the BBC to do a piece for the TV adaptation of Noughts and Crosses, and I’d also say being featured in a Buzzfeed article for Black History Month. Oh, and how could I forget?!, Koffee reposting my work on her IG story. 

What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?

I have always been into art, so it came as no surprise that I naturally chose it as my career. 

At A-level, I chose art and it was then, in Sixth form, I planned to continue studying at University. In the end, I went to Coventry University and did an Art and Design Foundation year followed by my degree in Illustration and Graphics.

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I began freelancing whilst at university and continued after I graduated.

Also, I have always prioritized building my online presence whilst studying, no matter what! It is extremely important for any creative and can be considered a job too. 

Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?

People not valuing my time has been a challenge at certain points. With art, people often underestimate how much time and energy goes into it. 

What is it like to be a Black woman in the field of illustration?

To be a black woman in the field of illustration very much heightens moments of achievement because you almost feel like you are helping to pave the way for others to follow you and be inspired. It can be tough when placed in situations or groups where you are the only black person present and you wonder why you are there, but you have to find ways to adapt and bring your best regardless. 

How does lack of representation play a part in your journey? What do you think needs to be done to change this?

I think in general black creators need to be given opportunities to be in spaces that are usually hard for us to gain access to (and not just in black history month) because we are often overlooked or underfunded. There is more than enough talent out there and the quality of work is just as high as our counterparts.

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You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?

I would say keep doing exactly as you are, continue showcasing your work online, and practicing. You’d be surprised who approaches you for work in the future. People are always watching and taking note of you even when you don’t think they are.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?

Keep perfecting your craft and learning from others similar to you. Don’t compare yourself or feel you need to rush your growth because of the amount of work you see other people producing. Find some good resources that you can keep referring to for help. Start building your community by sharing your work, that way you can receive advice and often feel encouraged by the support that you get.


Follow and support Paris on: Instagram

For Commissions & Bookings click here: https://www.oskarillustration.com/paris-anthony-walker 

Header Image Credit: Paris Anthony-Walker

Author

De-Mornae Clarke

De-Mornae Clarke Kickstart Team

De-mornae is a Kickstart Journalist for Voice. Music, interviews and pop culture are her preferred topics of interest but is often pushing her own creative boundaries to prove that anyone can have an opinion regardless of their background, education or class.

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