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Introducing: 21 year old Illustrator, Joshua Boateng

We sat down to chat with Joshua Boateng; a creative who’s making a name for himself. With his work featured in i-d, galdem and itesnicethat, Joshua describes with art as unique, refreshing, aiming for his art to reach an ‘optimum aesthetic’. We speak to him about how he got started, challenges he faced and for some words of advice for creatives just like him.

Can you tell us a little bit about who you are & what you do?

My name is Joshua Boateng, I’m 21 years old and I’m an illustrator from London but based in the US. Basically, what I do is I create illustrations and post them on Instagram and then people approach me and pay me to do personal ones for them.

What is an illustration & How long does one piece take to create?

An illustration is a graphic image that can be used for a magazine or a children’s book or anything to promote a product. I draw it by hand and then go over it in ink pen, I scan it and then do all the colouring digitally.It depends on how detailed the piece is, For example if I put images in the background like a flower or bird or something that would take me longer, maybe around 4 hours. But without that maybe around 2 hours.

How did you get into the creative field?

I’ve always been a creative person from when I was young. I used to write poems and short stories in primary school because I wanted to be an author, but I quickly realised that writing a book takes a lot of time.  So I got into Art, I started looking at Youtube videos of people drawing and I would just copy them and now I’m here.

To date what has been one of your biggest challenges as a young creative and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was probably when I had to make 16 illustrations for one person. It was one of by biggest commissions to date so far.  I had to make 16 in less than a week; during that time, I had a lot of uni work to do so it was hard to balance both.  So, I had to make sure I planned my time and work effectively but most of all I was continuous in prayer. I prayed asking God to keep me calm throughout all the work.

As a Christian what does the phrase “Anything is possible “mean to you?

That phrase is very important to me because it’s kind of the definition of my journey. Without God I wouldn’t be doing art right now, I had the opportunity to take it but unfortunately due to several reasons I wasn’t able to, so it was pushed to the back of my mind.  During my sixth form period I didn’t feel right, I felt like there was something wrong. I failed my exams but was still able to do art without even taking it and now I’m here.

What’s your plans for the rest of the Year?

I’m planning to be way more ambitious, because last year I achieved all the goals I set out for the year and even more. But this year I just pray that God just keeps increasing my blessings. I hope that he makes me a light of the world through my work; in the sense that he will use my work to draw people closer to me.

3 top tips for young creative’s just starting out in their field

Be consistent- I feel like this is the most important one. So wherever you post, whether it’s Instagram or facebook (I feel like Instagram is the best one) don’t post once a month. Make sure it’s at least every week try and aim for everyday is possible.  It shows that you’re serious; it attracts more people as it gives them something to look forward to on your page. When you get a larger following and companies want you they can see a wider range of your work.

Don’t be afraid to post mistakes or failed pieces- it helps break the fear of messing up. Later on, it will show progress and improvement in your work.

Get your name out there in any way you can. Whether it’s emailing big companies, small companies or posting in social media. You may feel like you’re not doing much but it actually is.  In the long run people that may not want you will start referring you to companies that are interested. Eventually someone will see your post so just make sure you get your name out there.

You can follow Joshua’s journey on instagram or visit his website.

Interview conducted by Shenika Minto.

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