CREATIVE SPACE #22 of 2020 (uploaded December 16th 2020)
CREATIVE SPACE is a series spotlighting local (Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 and ran to 2019 on Antiguanice.com. Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. It continues to expand across other media platforms – the December 16th 2020 CREATIVE SPACE is also the series’ first video edition (which can be viewed on AntiguanWriter on YouTube). CREATIVE SPACE is created, owned, and written by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean author, journalist, producer, and freelance writer, editor, and trainer.
Here’s a link to the issue as it appeared on December 16th 2020 in the Daily Observer: CS Sonalli Andrews DO
Below is the extended online edition (not a duplicate of the edition with publishing partner Observer Media) with extras.
If you would like to be featured or to sponsor (i.e. advertise with) a future installment of the jhohadli.wordpress.com online edition of CREATIVE SPACE and/or CREATIVE SPACE on YouTube, BOOSTing your BRAND while boosting Antigua-Barbuda Art and Culture, contact Joanne.
CREATIVE SPACE: Graphic Design and the Art of Storytelling
Sonalli Andrews hates drawing still lifes. He enjoys bringing creative concepts and characters to life. Some of his favourite projects that he has worked on include Antigua and Barbuda’s first published graphic novel, Tameka Jarvis George’s August, for adults, and Samantha Dian Samuel’s Journey to Discovery: Carl’s Summer Adventure, a children’s book about differences and bullying related to sexuality. Both books were narratively modern and technically challenging for the artist. Re Angel, Sonalli said, “That was a learning experience for me because at the time I think I was also going through what you call an imposter syndrome where I didn’t think I was good enough but Tameka was so excited to work with me and she just believed in me to the point that she said (if I’m not doing it) she’s not doing it and she was waiting on me to start working on this thing for her.” So he did. “The process entailed me having to do a bit of character design and connect myself with each character including the protagonist and the antagonist. …I had to connect myself to the environments and props as well. So I had to look up different poses for the anatomy that would really communicate the gestures during a conversation or dialogue panel. It was a lot of work because I had to do a few drafts first and then I would have to get the drafts approved and from the approval I would then do the final render of that one and send them off page by page.”
His path to this point began at Clare Hall Secondary school after he won an art competition in third form (listed through my error as first form in the print edition) and a scholarship to ABIIT (the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology) in fifth. “I had an idea that I was going to be an artist… but I didn’t know that it was going to be graphic design or that it was called graphic design.” But once his eyes opened in his first Adobe Photoshop class, they stayed open. When he found himself without a 9 to 5 in his early 20s, he started scouting for opportunities online and entered his first graphic design competition, beating out 500 “top tier professionals” globally for the opportunity to work with an Australian brand.
Sonalli has been working in the global marketplace (the US to India) ever since, but he continues to evolve. “It’s these last few years I’m recognizing that my passion and all the talent that really resides in me is more on the illustrative end.”
Sonalli is known for rendering super hero versions of the historic Team Antigua Island Girls.
And he sees himself someday creating his own comic book because one thing Sonalli does not believe in is limiting himself. Among his tips (which also include practicing, networking, and thinking expansively) for finding one’s path, in fact, is “pay attention to what really stimulates you and if it makes you excited, find more of it.”
He is, also, helping others find their creative and professional mojo. “If I was to specify what path I’m on and what matters to me the most I think it would be inspiring people…I have a reservoir of information that I could then pass on.” And he has been, both through his summer camps for kids and formal classes, currently in progress is his design and logo boot camp, for adults. “Because COVID has impacted the world in such a way that a lot of businesses got crippled but at the same time a lot of new businesses are emerging so the demand for graphic design, specifically the logo item, is being asked for a lot and I personally can’t do all the logos in the world, even though I enjoy it…I have the knowledge to impart so that more persons can gain from that pool of money that’s available both online and offline.”
As for the camps, which, like everything else, was on hold this year, it’s all about good artistic fun. No bowls of fruit – a still life staple – in sight. “I was teaching illustrations, or teaching the basics of anatomy, drawing hands, lighting, storytelling, creating character tropes, expressions…(also) using basic shapes and combinations.”
Sonalli’s twenty 20, in this his 30th year, has involved education and experimentation, becoming more thorough and thoughtful in his approach to his art. But, in a way, he always has been. We discussed the image he created for TEDx Antigua and Barbuda a few years ago. “The medium used is digital art versus traditional art…I was using a stylus, where I was drawing on the screen, so there’s the type of technology that was used and then there’s also the execution style; so it does look illustrated and hand rendered but it has a very polished feel to it …that was me sending a message globally…even though we’re Caribbean, we’re also capable of producing superior quality of work.”
August was previously reviewed in this site’s Blogger on Books series which you can read here.
I used an image he created – a wolf drawing he did, the warrior’s love, (the video cover above) as he practiced digital hyperrealism and storytelling and to express something of himself – in a recent writing prompt which I shared with him.
Excerpt: “The moon sang to him and his blood felt like it had been set on fire. And so he ran and he howled and he frolicked feeling more alive than he ever had. He was on a beach far from home having finally exhausted himself when he heard an answering howl. Her fur was…” #wolflovefic
Click the video if you want to hear it.
For another interview with the artist, this time on the business side of things, check out this interview he did as part of the National Public Library’s Career and Entrepreneurship: Tips and Tricks series.
All images used in the article, this post, and the video are by and used with permission of Sonalli Andrews (please respect his copyright and/or the copyright of his clients)
All Rights Reserved. Sharing or excerpting with link and credit is okay. But for re-publication of CREATIVE SPACE or any other content on this site contact Joanne – also use this link to contact Joanne for appearances (reading, speaking, discussions), workshops/courses, writing, editing, or other offered service.