Hi, my name is Amy Rogers and I am a UX Designer at Yoti. We are working on building a digital identity platform so people can prove who they are just by being themselves. I grew up in the West Midlands and moved to London in 2016 to pursue a career in experience design.
My father – an engineer – has always encouraged me to follow scientific pursuits. He bought me my first computer when I was 4 years old. I remember him teaching me how to use it and fix it, and the importance of thinking and learning about technology and the world in general. My mother is very creative. She inspired me to not be afraid to change things, to upset the standards. She always encouraged me to draw and paint whenever I could. Both of my parents had a massive influence on the person that I am today.
I completed an internship during my final year of university that focused on conducting some usability studies on the systems I was using as a student. It was a thrill to test and improve on a system where I could see improvement as both a designer and a user. I was hooked.
I cannot pinpoint the moment I started drawing, but I have one clear memory of when I learned to really love it. I took a small sketchbook into school one morning. I had a free period so I just sat on a sofa and drew. And drew. I kept drawing, and before I realised, it was lunchtime. I had created something that I was really happy with. Since then, wherever I go, I always bring something to draw on.
My output can be quite sporadic. Sometimes I can go for a couple of weeks without doing anything, but then launch into a period where I draw mostly every day. My flat, sadly, is full of half-filled sketchbooks and partially used paint tubes. But when I start something, I become obsessed. I have spent many nights hunched over a piece, not realising how tired I am as I keep adding “just one more touch”.
When people find out that you have an ability to draw or paint, they will request you to draw things for them. It happens all the time. A friend at lunch will say, “can you draw this character for me?” Your teacher will say, “we’re having a fundraiser, can you design a poster?” Your boss will say, “can you draw something for our Instagram?” It is a blessing and a curse. Just recently, my mum asked if I could design and paint her some shoes. It was a joy to be able to do that for her because I knew that she would be so happy to wear them. My family home is full of my old drawings and craft projects, and there is a small, smug pride I feel knowing that people appreciate the things I create.
Being able to create is definitely a fantastic thing for me. It is relaxing and gives me a sense of pride in myself. At the moment, almost everything I make is for me. Part of me wants to turn it into something more than just for fun, but I feel like that would change my relationship with my art. I like that it is casual and non-committal.
As a UX Designer, I try to understand the wider process rather than just about usability and user needs. Understanding how your decisions impact everyone involved in the creation process means that you can make choices that are universally beneficial. My art skills are also useful for creating things like presentations, illustrations, and sketching wireframes.
The way I would say that I work is quite similar to my art. For both, I tend to be quite meticulous over presentation and detail. I am a perfectionist, and I worry that I will miss one little detail and have to redo everything. The main difference is that in art, I am not too worried about what other people think as I am mostly just trying to impress myself. If I show anything to anyone I constantly pick it apart in my head but it is easier to dial that voice down when I am the only one seeing it.
My favourite medium is definitely fine liners. The strong black lines are aesthetically pleasing to me. It is versatile, so you can really experiment with different styles easily. I also like that it is so accessible – if I have an idea, I can just grab a pen (there is always one nearby) and doodle away.
I enjoy acrylic paints because they are so strong and bright. They go on to loads of different mediums and surfaces and I feel like I am in control when I use them. I also enjoy watercolours but I am such a perfectionist and it irritates me when I do not get exactly the result I want!
Last year I got more into digital illustration, as I needed to use Adobe Illustrator more frequently at work. Drawing with shapes and lines rather than pen strokes has a big impact on the kinds of things you can create. I am still learning and getting comfortable with this kind of work, but I love it so far.
I like drawing nature and animals, but often in a non-realistic way. I will usually just draw whatever is in my head rather than using a reference. I also like drawing abstract objects and imaginary landscapes. There is a joy in imagining a place that does not exist and putting yourself there.
My mood definitely influences my art. If I am happy, my lines tend to be a bit more wild and carefree – if I am anxious or sad, my lines are really tight and meticulous. It is quite cool that I can really see and feel my emotions just from looking at my art.
I have also recently started bullet journaling. Bullet journaling is a way of journaling that I discovered last year and I have become quite obsessed with it. Traditional diaries are restrictive in that you get a single block for each day. With the bullet journal, you can add in whatever you want, whenever you want.
I have never been able to keep a normal journal. Initially I only used my bullet journal to attempt to organise my life but I soon realised that I was also using it as a sketchbook. Now it is a hybrid of a sketchbook and a weekly planner, which I love. Every week I get to choose what colours I want the week to be, what drawing or quote I can add in. It’s a perfect organisation and creative outlet for me.
Journaling definitely helps me in every aspect of my personal life. I always have it open on my desk and I use it as my bible. Everything I need to note goes in there. Important dates, habits, finances. If I hear a nice quote, I will write it down to look back on in the future. I recently went on a little holiday and I devoted two whole pages just to that weekend. If I am especially happy with a page, I will post a photo of it to my Instagram for others to see.
My goals with my art are to improve technically. It is a very carefree process for me, so I do not want to restrict or challenge myself with it too much. In the future I might be in a position where I really sit down and practice self-discipline in some way, but for now, I am content with what I am doing.