Interview: Behind Canvas

As a new year begins, so does a new blog series! I have aspired to include an ‘interview’ section on my site for a while now, chatting to people, brands, insta personalities and artists I am motivated by or admire. 

For my first go it is only right that I interview Stephanie from Behind Canvas.

A few years ago, whilst studying for my interior design diploma I discovered Behind Canvas, an online sketching academy run by Stephanie in which she teaches techniques on drawing landscapes, interiors, and architecture. For my diploma these skills were invaluable and incredibly useful so I enrolled in as many of her online workshops as I could such as ‘Sketching Textures’, ‘Sketching in One-Point and Two-Point Perspectives’ & ‘Sketching Curtains and Textiles’. 

Behind Canvas also has entertaining and unusual sketching courses like ‘Sketching Floorplans of the Sex & the City Apartment’, ‘Sketching Scale and Shadows of the Apartment in Friends’ and ‘Axonometric Drawing of the Office in The Devil Wears Prada’. Why not practise your drawing techniques whilst also indulging in 90s television and movie nostalgia!

Over the past couple years, I have enjoyed watching Stephanie’s travels, sketches, and complicated journey as an entrepreneur and more recently she has been sharing her sketching skills teaching and tutoring. I really wanted to catch up with Behind Canvas and find out more about her inspiration, steal some creativity tips and discover what is next:

When did you first discover your love and talent for art and sketching? 

During my A-Level studies I always loved sketching and combining my drawing skills with using textiles. I studied creative subjects, and it was inevitable for me to avoid sketching. I love to communicate my ideas through this medium, however I wouldn’t say that I was a natural at it. I had to put in a lot of time and practice to get to this point where I truly like my work. Continuously filling my sketchbook pages with drawings is what got me to develop my so-called talent.

What are your top 3 countries/ places or galleries for artistic inspiration? 

London and Paris are probably my top two choices. In Paris – it’s everywhere. The streets, balconies, iron constructions, metro entrances, museums, street fashion, gardens, etc. London is very similar in that way, especially Kensington & Chelsea area. I also appreciate street art. In terms of museums, it’s got to be the V&A. My first ever post on Instagram was a photo I took at the Alexander McQueen exhibition which was curated by Victoria & Albert museum back in 2014 I believe. The best exhibition I’ve ever been to. Legendary. If I had to choose the third place – it’s probably going to be yet to be discovered Morocco. I’ve not visited this country yet but would love to one day. I even created a course inspired by Morocco based on elevation drawing which is available at my academy. I think it’s the bright colors and sounds that gets me excited about Marrakech.  

How do you get and nourish your creativity?

Travelling is probably the main one, but that doesn’t happen on a daily basis of course. Journaling (I have both a productivity planner and a gratitude journal) and everyday routines such as making aromatic coffee or tea in my favourite cup and serving food in a nice way so that it looks like art. I know it might sound strange but I really put effort into a lot of things I do on a daily basis. I also love reading magazines, although I don’t tend to buy them, rather I love to stumble across them in a cafe, salon or some other public place. Solo trips to various events/galleries or just wandering around department stores like Selfridges. Wandering around the streets of London and browsing fashion & art books in bookstores. I also love to search for beautiful images of interiors on Pinterest and sketch from them. Also, buying new art supplies every now and then inspired me to keep creating new sketches. I also like listening to podcasts about small businesses and how they navigate through their successes and failures, for example How I Built This on Apple Podcasts.

What brands or Instagram accounts motivate you?

Honestly, not many… As cheesy as it sounds but I am very inspired by my students who are actively sharing their work and sketches on Instagram including you Jalan. I don’t tend to consume on Instagram and not a very active user myself, but some of the accounts I enjoy liking are @septemberwildflowers @theworldfromawindow, @halfpennylondon @nikki_makeup & @euphemia.stokefiled. It’s a random choice and some are not interior related. I really like Instagram accounts that look like a beautiful gallery of work and memories. I like seeing a calm and relaxed approach to Instagram where there are 1-2 stories shared a day and maybe a post once a week or something. I tend to scroll down accounts that post everyday because they make me anxious. However, I do need to get back on track and hunt for inspiring accounts out there!

What does 2023 hold for Behind Canvas? 

I have a set plan and am going to really focus on selling my courses as a bundle to interior design firms in the UK & mostly internationally rather than trying to target individual clients. I want to tap into unexplored markets. I had some success in 2022 but due to other freelance work I had to set this plan aside. I am a one-person team and unfortunately do not have the capacity to invest into marketing, expansion and hiring. I would love it if a professional SMM or marketing manager gets in touch with me one day and promises to solve all my lead generation and client conversion issues haha. It’s exhausting managing your social media channels on your own as I don’t have the time and much interest in creating content all the time. I have very strong BD skills when it comes to writing email pitches, so wish me luck! Running a business is all about constantly implementing new ideas, always being proactive and consistent with every strategy. Just like with sketching. I really hope that BehindCanvas can grow organically even further in 2023.

If like me, you have been inspired by Stephanie’s work you can check out her online academy below, and Stephanie has kindly offered a 10% discount with code JALANINTERIOR