Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tummyache ... Warragul, Australia

Artist: Julie Knoblock
Business: Julie Knoblock / Tummyache
Web sites:,,
Location: Warragul, Victoria, Australia

What do you create?
Illustration for clients, personal artwork for myself and my shop. I do stray from the path occasionally and create other crafty items, but always return to the humble 2-D format.

Where and when do you do your creative work?
Most of the time I work during the day in my studio which consists of a small room and what is supposed to be a dining room. My computer desk is in the small room, and I do all my painting and drawing in the dining room. I like to be in the middle of the house working and not tucked away into a corner. It's nice to work whilst my partner Jim is watching telly and we are still in ear shot of one another.

Do you have another "day job"?
I kind of have two jobs though the boundaries are quite blurred. I work as an illustrator, but also run my shop tummyache and create my own artwork, plus sell some handmade products including things such as bags and purses. It did take me a while to do art as a full time career. I've had boring and odd jobs in the past; working in a bingo centre and picking mushrooms can both be seen in my resume.

Where and what did you study?
I left school early and did a folio enhancement course which helped me to get into an illustration course where I acquired a diploma in art and illustration.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. The silly things in life can really inspire me. Something someone says, a road sign, a comedian, a song. I could see a texture on a wall, cracked bits of paint on a door frame. Things just stand out sometimes. Menial things. Then of course I am hugely inspired by other artists, and they also inspire me to stay motivated. I see stuff other people are creating and it just drives me to do my own work. It creates an urge.

What motivates you?

Like in the previous question other artists. This can also include musical artists. Just seeing people create something fantastic and thinking about how hard they must have worked makes me want to do the same.

When did you start doing this?
When I was old enough to hold a pencil! I started illustration around the years 1999-2000. I opened my online shop in August 2006.

Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
Oh yeah. Everyone said I'd be an artist when I was young. I remember being in my room for three days (or maybe that's just how I remember it) drawing a tree and every leaf on it meticulously with my 72 Derwents that were my pride and joy. Sometimes I'd get annoyed that people would only see this quality in me. I remember an exercise we did in high school were everyone in the class had to write something nice about you anonymously. I got 28 pieces of paper that said "You are a good drawer." Ho-hum!

When and why did you decide to start your own business?
Even though I love people, I hate serving them. I dislike the work environment and prefer to work on my own. It had always been the plan. Now that I'm getting into my own artwork and shop a lot more I'm moving even further away again from people's orders, which is exciting me.

How did you choose the name for your business?
I work under my own name for illustration, and Tummyache for my shop. My stuff I see as as kind of cute but weird, strange... so I needed a name that was cute, but also a bit "wrong," hence "Tummyache."

What do you love most about creating your work?
I love the feedback I get from people. I love when I do an artwork and I'm happy with how it turns out. I get excited that people like my work. The artists I love I hold in such high regard; so when people write stuff to me and say the same things about me as I would my arty idols, for a moment it puts me in a fantasy that I'm on the same level as them. Until my self-critical nature kicks in again!

What's the most fascinating place you've been?
I went to China last year. I'd have to say that was pretty fascinating. So grungy and complicated. Very inspiring.

A book you love:
I always remember Stones From The River by Ursula Hegi. I'm not a huge book reader (short attention span) but I do love to read non-fictional books about anything from world issues to gardening and art. And magazines.

What is the most interesting thing about you?
I was painfully shy as a kid and teenager. I had a terrible time trying to fit in at high school. I'm not so bad now, though certain people can make me revert to my old ways.

What achievement are you most proud of?
The achievement I am most proud of is finally settling into what I feel is a personal style with my art. I struggled for years and constantly felt unhappy with my work. I've been through many style changes (which my website will probably show – I really need to update it). I am really comfortable with where I am at now, and this allows me to enjoy what I do. For me it's not about how much stuff I sell, or how much money I make, but how content I am.

What advice would you give women starting their own business?
Don't be afraid to ask others that are where you want to be questions that you may have. A friend of mine did come across a nasty artist once when asking for advice, but I think that was the exception. I've asked advice from many people and everyone I've asked has been really friendly and helpful.

What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Periods of non-inspiration. These are getting fewer and further between though. Most of the time images or ideas pop into my head during the day or through dreams I have, but I do go through stages where nothing new is coming to me, nothing is exciting me. I find this can usually be remedied by getting out the sketch book and to start doodling. I'm also a lazy person by nature and find it hard to discipline myself. I try very hard not to get sucked in by cheesy daytime television!

What do you love to do in your free time?
I love to see friends and family, to hang out with my partner Jim and my two dogs. Because I work in isolation most of the time I like to just be around people whenever I get the chance. Lately I have got back into playing my guitar again. Sometimes nothing beats sitting in the backyard rugged up in front of a fire with a cup of jasmine tea, my dogs and Jim.

What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on some illustrations for some women's rights leaflets. Also some educational publishing stuff, and always new artwork that could possibly make it into my shop in the form of art or originals. I always have a huge list of stuff to do.

What do you hope to achieve next?
I am working on veering away from illustration and to continue being my own art director and to just be an "artist" and not an "illustrator." I'd love to do a painting that I'm 100% happy with!

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