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This month, local year 10 student Izzy joined Metal Southend for two weeks of work experience.

During Izzy’s placement, she supported the work that goes on behind Netpark Wellbeing Project, Essex Writers House, Time and Space Residencies and our marketing department. Izzy wrote our monthly newsletter (sign up here) and even took over our Instagram story for a day.

We discovered Izzy’s love and talent for anime inspired art work, and asked her to create some original digital paintings which respond to Chalkwell Hall and the Essex Writer’s house programme. Here’s how she got on!

Hi! My name’s Izzy, I’m a year 10 student who has been doing my work experience here at Metal for the past two weeks. In my second week here, I have been given the opportunity to integrate my art into my work experience to help promote Essex Writers House.

Art has been something I’ve been invested in my entire life.

I’ve always been interested in drawing people or characters from books and TV shows. In my art, I attempt to convey a sense of character, so that when you look at the drawing, you can get an idea of what they’re personality would be like: whether they’re outgoing or reserved; creative or logical; easy going or strict. It eventually reached a point in my art where instead of conveying other people’s characters in my art, I wanted to begin conveying my own, although I am still often inspired by others’ work.

Sometimes, I have elaborate ideas for characters and base my design off of those ideas, and other times I’ll start with a base concept (such as a series of character designs I’m doing based off of pride flags) and build the character around the concept, always considering aspects such as colour schemes and the general connotations of that idea.  

Though I started my art journey with coloured pencils and felt-tip pens, after taking inspiration from both anime and manga as well as many online artists, I began using alcohol-based markers and eventually that evolved into digital art. My style is frequently evolving as I often test out different colouring and shading methods, occasionally even testing out unique ways of drawing different parts (e.g. eyes and hair). When drawing, I always start off with a sketch that helps with the anatomy and essentially works as a skeleton whilst I draw. I then move onto the main line art, drawing the body shape and facial features before adding hair, clothing and accessories to the character. Then I block in the base colours of the character before moving onto shading and colouring the line art. By far the most time-consuming part is shading the hair as it uses multiple different layers and layer types.

I chose to do my work experience here at Metal due to its links with art. Helping out with both the main part of the company and the art school has been such an interesting and unique experience as I’ve done such a wide range of activities from drawing (something very much within my comfort zone) to writing a newsletter about Essex Writers House and even baking a cake for the writer’s café. It’s been such a wonderful experience here and, to be honest, part of me dreads going back to school as the work there is dull in comparison to what I’ve done here.

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