In this blog, we chat to freelance illustrator Nia Beynon. Here, Nia talks to us all about why she started illustrating, the inspiration behind her illustrations and why she promotes body positivity through her work.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Nia and I currently work as a creative art-worker for a lingerie brand. Alongside this, I work as a freelancer. My work specialises mostly in illustration and print design. The style of my work varies from digital print design to fine-line linear drawings.
I graduated from University in 2016 where I studied Fashion Promotion. Since graduating, I have used this time to build my own projects as well as collaborate with various artists and designers.
My work has been exhibited by Pink Things Mag, Women of Venus Magazine, TU Clothing (Sainsbury’s) and Topshop, as well as smaller name brands such as Haus of GFP and Jodie Johns designs.
What motivated you to start illustrating?
I’ve always had a connection to both fashion and art and have always drawn from a young age. I love the synergies and combinations that can be had when working with the two industries in tandem. I’ve sought to achieve this in my own work, particularly through fashion illustrations, print design and through my personalised tote bags.
After graduating, I refound my love for drawing after having it suppressed in my academic work. This has allowed me to ease myself and release my ideas. Creating my personal account and website allowed me a platform to share my work with others, which I have found to be valuable and is now an important part of my work.
What is the inspiration behind your illustrations?
In short, my artwork endeavours to explore the intersections of fashion and art through the lens of cultural and social issues. I try to use my own personal experience in my work as an anchor to explore body image, the self and being.
I have completed a formal study of fashion at University but nominally studied it my entire life.
I take inspiration from my surroundings. Whether that be through nature, architecture, bodies, or fashion models. Through every single piece I create, I seek to explore, emphasise and reproduce body image and to articulate the philosophy of empowering women through positivity.
I put down initial ideas for a design using the nearest materials to my body. I then tend to complete each piece digitally using Procreate – which is an independently developed illustration app for iPad.
Why do you think it’s important to promote body positivity?
I think it’s so important to promote body positivity, as I feel we need to educate and empower each other to create change and push boundaries within the industry. I feel we have reached a point in the fashion industry where things are slowly changing for the better. We are seeing different body shapes and brands are featuring a much broader range of sizes, skin tones, and genders. It’s so amazing and uplifting to see so many brands celebrating what used to be considered ‘flaws’ such as acne and cellulite. It’s really so important to highlight these elements and be representative of the way people actually look in real life, not just what we see on social media.
There’s far more of an acceptance within art to depict the female figure without it being such a huge change. Through my drawings, I hope to educate, empower women and push boundaries to depict what different female figures look like. I believe that through creativity and art you can really push out a positive message whilst creating something amazing.
What has the response to your illustrations been like?
The feedback to my work has been great and has really vindicated my decision to push into freelance work. It has reached places I never thought it would and I’m consistently reaching a wider audience. I love all the work I create, and this response has motivated me more than ever to keep pushing myself. I’ve had such great opportunities to work with wonderful people. Getting to know other creatives online from my artwork only pushes me further. It makes me feel much more empowered to produce work and share my prints with a positive message and impact underneath.
One extremely valuable lesson I’ve internalised is to completely remove myself from social media when it’s needed. The huge volume of noise is sometimes deafening and can really paralyse my creative process.
How do you get over a creative block?
One extremely valuable lesson I’ve internalised is to completely remove myself from social media when it’s needed. The huge volume of noise is sometimes deafening and can really paralyse my creative process. As well as this, my job working as a creative artworker really helps and inspires me, as I am surrounded by so many creative and talented women which I can consistently draw inspiration from. It is so helpful to have a wide pool of talent and experience to consult when I need the advice and I feel extremely grateful to have that available to me.
I absolutely love drawing and creating. However, when I can feel myself getting anxious and consumed by it, I know I need to go outside and just temporarily step away from my creative bubble. I never want to feel that way from something I love doing!
What other illustrators do you admire?
I absolutely love artist/illustrator Isabella Feliu. I love her unique style, and how she portrays women of different shapes, styles, skin colours. The backgrounds to her pieces are always so colourful, free and beautiful which is what I admire the most. When it comes to my own work, I normally complete an illustration without a background due to my style of continuous line drawing. So I’m always drawn to a full detailed colourful background!
I also love the work of Alja Horvat who mainly uses brilliant colours of pink and orange throughout. She also incorporates shapes and botanical plants within her illustrations. Her use of colour and her style of work is something that I love. Her work is so beautifully detailed, colourful and fun – I could have so many of her prints in my house!
Finally, I would also have to say illustrator Polly Nor. The work of her dark and satirical drawings of women and their demons are so refreshing and inspiring. The detail in her work is truly amazing. She explores themes of identity, female sexuality and emotional feelings which I think we can all reason with. I love how her art represents these feelings which are never often voiced in the society we live in.
Do you have any exciting projects/pieces of work in the pipeline?
There’s a range of stuff I’m really excited for, actually. I’m so grateful to be working with an ethical swimwear brand to produce my own pieces that are high-quality garments and ethically sourced.
Also, under my own brand – this summer I’m looking to release hand-painted shirts, tote bags, as well as one-off pieces of silk patterns and denim skirts. These pieces will all be up-cycled clothing pieces that I have accumulated from charity shops. I’ve already produced a small batch which looks great!
Looking further into the future, one particular avenue I’ve always envisioned myself designing in is homeware. I’ve already completed a few concept pieces using generic pieces with my own designs, so I hope this can become a realistic path for me in the future.
Finally, my digital prints are always something I create and love doing. However, I am hoping to get back into my love of painting soon to combine the two mediums.
Finally, where can people purchase your illustrations from?
You can purchase a segment of my work through niabeynon.com. However, your best bet would be to contact me via my website or Instagram page. From here, I’m available for commissions as well as individual and specialised made-to-order pieces.
Thank you so much to Nia for chatting with us! For more inspiring interviews, catch up with this post here where we talk to fashion designer Rebecca Violette. Rebecca is challenging society perceptions through design and fashion.