Sona Harrison, UX Designer on Illustration

Hi, my name is Sona Harrison and I’m a UX Designer with Tapadoo in Dublin. What inspired me to become a UX Designer was my Masters in Creative Digital Media which I did after I completed my degree in Fine Art.

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after studying Fine Art, and as I had been exposed to working with apps during my final year, I researched the Masters in Creative Digital Media. The Masters seemed like a good idea because it was current and the outcome would be the ability to take a more technical career path after college.

Outside of work I like to go to galleries and hang out with friends and travel, but the main thing I’ve taken up this year outside of work is illustration.

I decided to start an illustration course in September that ran until the end of May this year as I hadn’t really done any ‘pen and paper’ drawing since my undergrad.

It was a really casual course; there were people of all ages and a lot of designers there who wanted to get away from their screens, back to paintings and drawings and getting their hands a bit dirty!

While my background is in art and I’ve always drawn, I’ve never really done illustration; I did more photography really during my degree. I became interested in illustration mainly through my job now, through doing things like icons and small illustrations for apps digitally. I was a bit scared of going back to pen and paper, it can be easier to do it digitally because you can copy and paste and erase things.

It’s kinda scary to commit to paper, opening a fresh new notebook and being afraid to make a start in case you ruin it! Then once I started, I couldn’t really stop and now it’s something that I try to do every night, its very stress reliving and something I really like to do.

As part of the illustration course, we worked towards an end of year exhibition and we had that on in Filmbase in Templebar in Dublin recently and the theme was ‘wonder’ but you could kind of do whatever you wanted with it.

As I had gotten really into drawing interiors and people’s houses and their spaces, for my work in the exhibition I started drawing my friend’s rooms and putting in things that are personal to them and getting really detailed about it.

I like to draw in black pen on paper and they are kind of simplistic child-like drawings and I like to put in loads of detail. I’d love to do a book where someone would do the writing and then I could illustrate alongside it.

If I had the choice I would definitely spend as many weekends as possible doing art – not illustration really because the great thing about it is that you can do it anywhere!

When I was in college in Limerick for a year I did ceramics and I thought I was going to go into ceramics for my degree, but I would love to get back into ceramics and take a pottery course. I also love print making, these are things you need equipment for and need the space to do them.

I post my art on social media, I’ve been doing it for about a year. Before I started I was really nervous, like how you would get with public speaking and even though I have felt like I wanted to delete my posts straight after I posted sometimes, I feel like it’s good to push yourself to put your work out there.

As with any social media, it’s nice to get likes as a confidence booster, but it doesn’t matter what likes you get, I just think it’s a good way to push yourself to be accountable and do something every day.

You have to make a conscious effort to do stuff, so it’s nice to be accountable. I think because I had started posting my work around a year ago before I started my illustration course, it made it much easier to practice sharing my work in the run up to a full public exhibition.

I think I’m less concerned about people’s opinions now that I was in the beginning, I feel like I’ve established my own style so I don’t really mind what other people think now because my art is more personal to me.

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