Hardwork at Play- Shehzil Malik

I finally get to, get inside the head of the person that created these amazing designs. I usually don’t do this on a regular basis, but Shehzil’s artwork is amazing! Her intricate designs and her hard-work and dedication are fueled by her love for design. She leaves her signature stamp on each graphic design, and is very methodical and precise in her strokes. You can find more about her here at shehzil.com, or on behance here

For anyone interested in knowing more about art, or even thinking about a career in art, this one’s extremely helpful. Here’s more –

1. Your artwork blows my mind! The level of detailing in your designs is just incredible, and the amount of work that goes into this must be immense. Do you find that there is a difference in mindset of when you design (lose, free-flowing, etc.) and when you detail (structured, strokes, shading, palettes)? Or is an amalgamation of the two that seems to fit-in?

Wow, thanks so much! The way I go about illustrating any concept is pretty straightforward. I first start with the message I want to communicate and quickly draw rough sketches of how I imagine it. The level of detail changes per design. I’m actually trying to be less detailed about what I draw these days. Having a design that communicates a message with the fewest elements and details is actually the hardest!

2. What was it like to finally decide to take art in a professional direction? How did you finally know that art and design was your thing?

Growing up I’d always been interested in art and eventually went to art school to figure out what I wanted to do it. I’m all for self-expression but I wanted to be a problem-solver, so I chose to study design as opposed to fine arts. Having a career in design is pretty amazing. There’s so much to learn and play around with!

3. How do you deal with failure or rejection of your artwork? Was there ever a time where someone said that you’re not good enough or that you need to take your design in another direction?

Haha you have to be thick-skinned if you’re a designer since everybody and their aunt wants to give you pointers! In art school your peers and teachers constantly critique you so revisions are part of the process. Professionally, you have to pick your battles and be nice about it! Sometimes the client needs to be educated why you designed the way you did, and other times you just have to roll with the punches. You can’t really let criticism get to you; it’s a commercial piece of work at the end of the day. I’m constantly being told to change direction or scrap things I’d been working on for a long time. When I was younger, I used to get upset by it but now I actually want to hear their opinions and see what I can take from it. Sometimes they make for pretty funny stories!

4. How do you find inspiration, or that “aha!” moment, when you’ve finally gotten a vision or a creative idea to execute? Is it a totally random process, or is it a whole lot of heavy research?

Depends on the project. If I’m illustrating a concept for myself, I’ve already had that “Aha!” moment from something I’ve experienced. For instance, these days the security concerns in Pakistan are on the top of my mind so I know what I want to draw for that. Professionally, the brief changes per project so I have to do my research to understand the brand and its message and then do a lot of mind mapping and writing to figure out what the design should communicate.

5. What’s your number one advise for someone that wants to be an artist?

I think of myself as a designer, so I can give advice to someone who wants to take up design as a career. And it seems like an obvious statement to make, but my number one advice would be that if you want to get into design professionally, you better love design! It’s not about learning to Photoshop or making easy money through that cousin who wants a logo design! I’ve barely scratched the surface of it myself and I’m constantly trying to figure new things out. There’s really no concept of a 9-5 job since the more you do, the more you know! You better be obsessed with it because it’s not easy!

–> Thanks Shezil for doing this. It was awesome for her to take the time out of her busy schedule to write her thoughts down on email. Thanks again!! You can get in touch with her via her website at shehzil.com. Many thanks again!



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