Ijeoma Ossi loves to accumulate knowledge. Already possessing a Law degree with background knowledge in Human Rights Law, International Law and Intellectual Property (among others), she’s also a writer and an artist. She shares how she how her interest in drawing began, where she gets her inspiration and her working process.
For Creative Girls: We love your drawings! How did you start drawing/designing?
Ijeoma Ossi: Thanks. I’ve been doodling since I was in primary school. My siblings and I would make up comics and fairy tales based on the cartoons we watched. As we grew older, I was the only one who continued sketching all the way up to secondary school. Meanwhile, my interest in Graphic Design came after I graduated from university. I’m still a beginner here, but hopefully not for long.
How many hours do you typically spend on a drawing? And how do you conceptualise?
Once I get a commission, I research separate aspects of the subject and use the references in sketching an outline. For personal projects, I pick subjects or sketch prompts that interest me, and just go with the flow. I spend between 4-9 hours on a drawing, sometimes more. Once I start drawing, it’s like nothing else exists.
We know how inspiration is critical to the well-being of an artist. How do you feed your mind and get inspiration?
I read voraciously. Horror, fantasy, romance and comedy are my favourite genres both in literature and movies because they’re a great source of inspiration for me. I’m also very interested in mythology, history and Afrocentric art. Alternative and New Age music gets me in the mood, particularly X Ambassadors, Imagine Dragons and Enya.
So, will you say you are a morning person or do you work better at night?
I am definitely a morning person. I get this burst of energy around 8am-11am and I have to squeeze every drop of creativity out of that time frame.
Do you have a daily routine? Please share with us, we would love to know how you manage your day to day.
I wake up about 6.15 am. I do chores, eat breakfast and take a shower. Then around 9am I go to class; I’m currently taking free online courses on Graphic Design, Graphic Illustration and Spanish. I take a break around 12pm to either take a nap or a snack. Around 3 pm I start reading either fiction or textbooks; I’m heading out for a Masters program this September so I’m reading a lot of books to prepare. Later in the night I make dinner for the folks and do chores. Then I watch my TV shows: Tinsel, Once Upon a Time and sometimes Telemundo.
You mentioned on Instagram that you took a break for some time before coming back. Why did you take a break? Was it easy for you, coming back to drawing?
It wasn’t a voluntary break. I stopped drawing while studying Law in the university because I thought I was being unserious. I didn’t know what I wanted or what I was going to do with my life. I started again during my NYSC year when I realized I would be doing myself a favour if I perfected a skill that came naturally. Coming back to it was like coming ashore after drifting at sea.
Do you make money from your drawings/designs? What are your money making plans?
Yes, I get commissions from time to time. My money-making plans include researching my target market and creating a marketing strategy that will promote my
personal brand through various social media platforms. I also intend to have a website showcasing my work in the near future.
What are your favourite websites that you’ll probably drown in?
BPAndO, which stands for Branding, Packaging and Opinion, run by Richard Baird. I love the simple elegance of the site, and the featured designs are so classy and gorgeous. Envato Tuts is another great site; tutorials, tutorials and more tutorials!
Favourite artists whose works you love?
Well, I’m a huge fan of artists who I feel depict black Africans as beautifully as possible. On Instagram I follow a lot of them, like Dennis Artworks, Asieybarbie, John Shagaya, Ricardo Michel and so many others.
Follow Ijeoma on Twitter.