Today, we’d like to welcome the very imaginative artist, Esther McManus to Jung Katz.
Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
I’m a printmaker who draws comics. Most of the time I work as a risograph printer at Ditto Press, but with the rest of the time I draw and make comics, and do illustration commissions. I love the mixture of printing and drawing in my week, and feel like they both make me excited about the other.
How did you get started doing what you do?
After studying I just wanted to keep screen printing – it’s a lovely way to produce work, and a craft that I really wanted to make my vocation. I find it such a fascinating and exciting process. I moved to London and worked in studios a few days a week for a while, which was a dream come true. I have always been working in print studios ever since, but now I feel like I very much crossed over to riso-printing rather than screen printing. It happened very organically, but riso is a new love for me, for sure.
What’s your inspiration?
I feel very inspired by the materials I get to work with at Ditto – new papers and binding methods really make me want to produce something of my own. I’m inspired by the possibilities of the print processes, and that really makes me want to try new things and experiment. In terms of the content of my work, I’m inspired by the times that I spend outside – visits to the forest, time spent in the wilderness away from cities. It really heightens your senses and makes your imagination run free. If I could make one change in my life it would be to spend more time outside.
How do you keep motivated?
I make sure that I have some personal projects that really excite me to keep working on – something like a comic or book that I want to research or have some spare moments to work on. It’s exciting to have projects in the works, and so great when you finally do have some time to make them a reality. There are always new things that I want to try and explore…
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I always aim to work on projects that fascinate me and explore the things that I am interested in at the time – techniques, ways of expressing ideas, or subject matters that I am passionate about. I hope that those personal things will in some way resonate with others, but I want to produce something personal, that people might see as unique in some way.
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
To be more patient! I always want to be doing more and more, really pushing myself and working hard. I want to improve at things really quickly, to master a craft as fast as I can! It’s exciting to be working on things you’re passionate about, but I think that I have a habit of piling on the pressure which isn’t always the right way to do things. Some of the best things that have happened to me have been quite by accident – you can’t have control over everything.
What’s your dream project?
Recently I’ve been working with a forest to produce some maps for them, and that was pretty much a dream project – getting to spend a week outside, walking through the beautiful Welsh countryside, and drawing the landscape. It was idyllic.
Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
I love the work of Sophy Hollington. She’s the most incredible illustrator, who I have the pleasure of working with at Ditto. Every image she produces is breathtaking.