Gucci, Solange and tigers, meet illustrator Manjitt Thapp

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[M]anjit Thapp, 22, is a young illustration artist based in the UK who has just recently graduated from Camberwell College of Art. Through her colourful mixed media illustrations that take reference from Asian culture and focus mainly on female characters, Manjit has the gained the attention of thousands on Instagram. We caught up with Manjit to quiz her on her creative process and ask her what advice she would give to other young aspiring artists.

When did you first take an interest in illustration?

I’ve enjoyed art for as long as I can remember, but only started taking drawing more seriously when I started secondary school. My best friend was always drawing and she was so good it made me want to get better!

Where does your creative process begin? What media do you use?

I start off usually with a very simple or vague idea. It could be from some lyrics in a song or some colours I’ve seen in a photo. I’ll draw with pencil first and finish the work digitally. I enjoy combining traditional and digital media because I love mixing the two mediums together.

How would you define your illustration style?

All of my personal illustrations revolve around these female characters. I love having a narrative element in my work and like to leave a lot of the meaning open to interpretation but will include certain symbolic icons that act as clues.

Your work includes many influences from Asian culture. What inspires this?

Being indian I’ve grown to have a love for colours, textures and patterns because that’s what I’ve always been surrounded by and I think that all flows into my artwork subconsciously.

What's your favourite thing to illustrate. Do you have a favourite project?

Girls! My favourite project is a comic I made at university in my second year about Seasonal Affective Disorder. I felt that with that project I suddenly realised the sort of direction I wanted to go in style wise and that I really enjoyed narrative illustration and wanted to do more of it.

The Internet and social media have changed the tone and type of art that people see. Would you say this has influenced the way you produce your work?

I’m extremely grateful for the platforms but I’m not sure if it’s influenced the way I produce my work. I still try to make work that I like rather than what I think will get the most likes.

I noticed you illustrate high fashion collections. What would be your dream collaboration?

Gucci would be a dream also Chloe, Miu Miu and Prada. All the embroidered pieces in the last Dior show were so beautiful I’d love to do something like that!

Where do you hope your illustration will take you? Do you have an interest in pursuing other art forms?

I’m looking forward to doing more commission work and collaborative work this year. I’d love to do a solo show at some point as well and I’d love to try ceramics!

What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?

I’ve posted my art work online since I was around fourteen and it’s been such a motivation. Instagram has really helped spread my artwork all around the world and acts as a portfolio. So I always say post your work online! Also don’t worry too much about finding your own style, it’s not a definitive thing and will always be changing!

What are your plans for 2017? Do you have any projects coming out?

I have a few exciting projects in the works! I’m currently working on a book project that I’m so excited about, it involves drawing a lot of inspiring women!