We recently sat down with our Fall Menu 2017 artist, Jenn Woodall, to chat about art, how she ended up in illustration, and what she gets up to outside of work.
Hi Jenn! Take us on your art journey and what made you decide to pursue illustration.
I always loved drawing, ever since I was a little kid. I knew I wanted to have a job making art, but I wasn’t really sure what kind. I went to Fashion Design school for University because I loved designing my own clothes and coming up with really eccentric concepts for fashion. But once I was there, I realized the job didn’t have enough creativity to it to keep me satisfied. I decided to re-focus and try to work in film as a costume designer. I worked in film full-time for the better part of 4 years, but I wasn’t really satisfied with that either. I had still been drawing for myself this entire time and had done a few comics as personal projects, and this was work I always found fun and really engaging. I had been trying to do illustration on the side while trying my hand at fashion / costume but it’s one of those jobs that needs a lot of focus and dedication. I had been mulling over going back to school for the past couple years, so I decided to pull the trigger and went back in the fall of 2014. I’m now starting my last year of illustration at school!
You have a very distinct art style, how did you come to develop it?
I think it’s just an amalgamation of the things that I was really into at a young age. The first thing that I became really obsessed with as a kid was Sailor Moon, so I drew that all the time. I made up my own Sailor Moon characters and drew comics about them. I also read a lot of Betty & Veronica comics and that started me on the path to reading lots of different types of comics, which has been a big influence on my work. I was also really into fashion illustration while in university, so I tried to bring some of that into my work with a focus on style.
There’s a strong reference to Sailor Moon in your art, what would you say draws you to her?
I think I’m drawn to that series because it had such a great premise and message. The team was made up of all these different girls, who were so different in personality, ambitions, attitude, etc. It really emphasized to me at a young age that there are so many types of girls and women and that there is no one way to be a girl. I was also a big cry baby as a kid so I really identified with Sailor Moon. It was also the first anime I ever watched, so I think I was just totally taken with the style, the animation, the music, just everything about it was something so different to what I’d seen.
What’s your favourite illustration project that you’ve done so far?
This one was pretty great! My favourite projects are always the ones where I get to have a lot of creative control and really get to do my thing. I also did a band poster and a t-shirt for a band called Charly Bliss this past summer, that was a very fun project.
What kind of music, podcast or entertainment do you like to put on in the background while you draw?
It depends what I’m doing. If I’m trying to generate some ideas for drawings or comics, I like listening to music best. Most of the time, I’m working away on a project that can take days or weeks so then I usually listen to podcasts or have TV on in the background. My favourite podcasts are Baby Geniuses, Sawbones and My Brother My Brother and Me. I watched the entirety of Rupaul’s Drag Race over the summer working on various projects which I am now a huge fan of. And I also watched a great Australian show called, ‘Please Like Me’ which is amazing. Right now, I’m watching ‘Shameless’ while I get ready for school. There are 7 seasons on Netflix so that’ll keep me occupied for a long while I hope.
When you’re not working, where do you head to in Toronto to relax?
I usually just go to a park near my neighbourhood with my partner or a friend. I always get an iced latte and just sit on the grass, watch dogs, read books and try to relax. I try to do this at least once a day for a little while, as I’m very prone to working straight through a day without stopping to eat.
If you could go anywhere in the world right this moment, where would you go?
I would absolutely love to go to Japan and just see as much as possible.
Here’s our fall 2017 menu cover:
& the bill cards: