Jess Hill, a British illustrator, explores sexuality and sexual health with her pencils, brushes, and Photoshop tools under the pseudonym Grrrl Gone Wild. Join us for a short conversation with the talented artist!
Screw elaborate descriptions – we’ll just let you get mesmerized by Jess’ elaborately realistic drawings and let her speak for herself. Scroll down to enjoy!
Hi Jess, how are you doing?
Hello, I’m very good thank you!
First of all, could you tell us a bit more about yourself? Who are you, where are you based, and how did you end up being an illustrator?
I’m an newly freelance illustrator based in the UK and my illustrations are mainly sex and health related. I’ve always considered myself a creative person, so it felt quite natural to go down a creative route. However it wasn’t until I realised I could actually make a career out of illustration that I decided to study it at university.
Why did you decide to focus on exploring sexuality in your art?
It was going to university and being surrounded by people who easily spoke about sexuality that made curious and interested by it. And then realising I could show it through my art as a means to express how I felt and how others feel. Also being able to illustrate certain topics that aren’t spoken about much or are still considered a taboo subject, for example female sexual pleasure and especially masturbation.
What astonishes us the most is how precise and detailed your drawings, especially those of all the sex toys, are. Do you base them on toys you have, on photos you find online,…? Please tell us a bit more about the process!
Thank you! They are mainly photographs I find online, I sketch the outline then map out the light/dark bits and any other areas I want to draw attention too. For example any glass toys are great to draw, lots of detail and I quite enjoy seeing the process. I also paint each toy/object separately and then scan into Photoshop, as I find that the easiest way to make any changes and compose the layout.
Anyone who’s not a straight cis man still meets a lot of stigma and shaming when they express their sexuality openly. Have you ever experienced some sort of backlash because of what you do?
Luckily I haven’t come across much negativity, most of the people I know are supportive. However I did and do wonder if drawing sex related things would limit me to what people I can and can’t work with, as there are still people who find sex and topics surrounding it, hard to talk about or inappropriate.
In university some lecturers told me my idea for sex toy packaging was too nice. I wondered if that was their way of telling me, drawing sex related things would be a bad move career wise. However I tried to draw what I thought people wanted me to draw or what I thought would get me a job but it didn’t feel right, I never fully liked that I was doing until I just did what I actually wanted to do.
We’re always looking for new artists or projects on our platform – is there anyone (from your local scene) you’d like to recommend to us?
Yes I can, Melody Clarke creates lovely illustrations and currently creates a zine called the ‘The Mel Gaze’ which is such a good a name. She also in is involved in a local group called ‘Women in the arts’ based in Lincolnshire. I have yet to go but they always have events happening.
Atom or atomdesignshop on Instagram, recently started their business back up again, creating illustrations are really quite graphic and sleek looking. He currently does blog posts of various creatives and it’s really nice to see a mixture of talented people get recognised.
And finally chloesimonebaxter, she creates some really nice photography and is currently planning a anti sexual harassment campaign in Nottingham.
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