Every month, we highlight the work of a different artist or illustrator through the title banner of our monthly newsletter - Penorama. If you don't already receive Penorama, you can subscribe here.
The artist of the month for September was Miss Wah. Her banner is inspired by a combination of kawaii (Japanese-style cute) and street art - here's the banner Miss Wah made for us:
Here's how it appeared in our newsletter:
Cult Pens: Tell us a bit more about yourself. Miss Wah: Female, graphic designer and illustrator fast approaching my 30s. By day I am a senior graphic designer for a newspaper / glossy magazine group based in Worcestershire. By night I go by the name "Miss Wah" creating illustrations, doodles, murals, commissions and digital art. You name it, I do it.
Cult Pens: How would you describe your work? Miss Wah: My work is a mixture of all the things that make me happy, smiley happy characters with a few skulls thrown in for a hint of darkness. Lots of pink and pastel colours, all with a Japanese vibe, and huge hints of "Kawaii" (that's Japanese for "cute", don't you know ;).) I also tend to add little symbols/quotes from my favourite movies and tv shows. Most are so subtle people may not even notice they are there.
Cult Pens: What got you into drawing/illustration? Miss Wah: I imagine the same way as a lot of artists... drawing, doodling and creating random creative bits and bobs from a young age. I used to do projects for Birmingham City Football Club at the age of 12, drawing products I would like to see them stock in the club shop. These projects lead them to invite me there on match days, and lead to a lot of work experience, and fuelled my need to be in a creative environment even more. The support I received from the club played a huge part in me becoming an illustrator and designer in later life.
Cult Pens: If you weren't a illustrator, what was the back-up plan? Miss Wah: At the age of 19, alongside my full time day job, I worked as on-air co-ordinator for the "Late Show" on BBC Radio WM in Birmingham - this gave me huge amount of experience in media/production. So I think I would have gone into this as a more full time role.
Cult Pens: What are your favourite subjects/topics to draw? Miss Wah: My work is very character-driven, I have a set of a couple which I draw all the time, very pink and girly with a little evil skull thrown in for good measure, normally sporting a pink bow to bring back the cuteness.
Cult Pens: Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from? Miss Wah: I get asked a lot how I create my characters; quite honestly I have no idea, I sit down with my sketch book and just doodle, sketch and mess around, normally drawing the same character over and over, adding/taking away elements, and before I know it I'm naming a new character.
Cult Pens: What are you currently working on? Miss Wah: Lots and lots of things in the pipeline for Miss Wah... this year I was lucky enough to be sponsored by Uni POSCA, and have done a lot of events and demos already, as well as bookings into the new year. I've also been asked to take part in live painting events alongside some huge names which is a great honour in itself. I'm also working on some more large commissions and other pieces for galleries, which I'm hugely excited about.
Cult Pens: How long does it normally take to complete a project? Miss Wah: Totally varies from project to project - I like to put my all into each piece so could take a few days to a few months.
Cult Pens: What pen or pencil couldn't you live without? Miss Wah: Would have to be POSCA... I don't go anywhere without a few in my bag - most women have make-up I have POSCA - lol
Cult Pens: Do you know when a work is finished or are you constantly tweaking? Miss Wah: I'm very fussy when it comes to my artwork, which can be both good and bad - I tend to tweak a lot after I think I have finished - have to remind myself sometimes less is more - lol.
Cult Pens: What work are you most proud of? Miss Wah: I would have to say the painting on the right: this was one of my most favourite days painting so far, alongside some fantastic artists and friends: My Dog Sighs, Korp, Process and ID-IOM. We spent the day transforming a garden area of an awesome little hairdresser's in Portsmouth. It was such an honour to be asked to take part after only starting to paint in January of this year. Was so much fun and will always be proud of this piece.
Cult Pens: What tips do you have for aspiring artists/illustrators? Miss Wah: Do what you do because you love and enjoy it, never let it become a chore. That way you always enjoy your artwork.