by Natalie Froome
UEA Literature first year and freelance illustrator Frank Morris tells us about his work and what it’s like to juggle freelancing and studying full time for a degree!
Tell us a bit about how you got into illustration and developed your own style?
I have always enjoyed drawing. My great aunty is an artist and we would often draw together when I was very young. My style changed when I was about eleven and discovered the black pen. My style has evolved from hundreds of hours of doodling and sketching. I have also taken inspiration from Illustrators such as Stuart Patience and James Jean.
Why did you choose to come to UEA and study Literature instead of going to art school?
Well, I have always been quite academic as well as artistic. I did an Art Foundation in London when I finished my A Levels, but in the end I didn’t feel studying art was quite for me. I have always enjoyed studying Literature and my course’s year abroad in America appealed to me at the time.
Is it difficult to manage your illustrating work alongside your university studies?
Yes it is, but it wouldn’t have to be if I was more organized. I took a gap year after my art foundation to travel South East Asia and as a result it has taken some time getting used to academic life again. Also, my illustrative style means that it takes me many hours to finish one piece so finding the time is quite difficult to be honest. This is something I would like to improve.
What advice would you give to anyone undertaking freelance work alongside a degree?
I would say doing freelance work during a degree is very beneficial for a few reasons. Firstly, you have quite a lot of free time and don’t necessarily have to get a job. Also, you can use the university as a tool to help you. I have just applied for a £500 grant from the Enterprise centre to start up my own T-Shirt line and this would not be possible if I was not doing a degree. Also, if you come from a big city like me to a smaller place like Norwich, you will find that there are many more possibilities for you as a young artist just starting out. However, it is important to be organised and make sure you do the work set for you from your degree subject as well. It is all about finding the balance.
Where can people find your work?
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/frankmorrislondon
Moosey Art Gallery – http://mooseyart.co.uk/frank-morris-prints
You can also find a few of my limited edition tote bags selling at the Dandy Horse Coffee House in Norwich on Magdalen Street.
(image courtesy of Frank Morris, at https://www.facebook.com/franksillustrations/?fref=ts)