I must say, I fell in love with her characters even before I knew she created them. The couple; the love, the support, the class and even though the gentleman had all the parcels and shopping bags, there was no struggle, no sign of weighing down, rather he seemed not at all bothered by the burden and glowed from the satisfaction of having his lovely ladies (woman and daughter), fabulous and close to his every gaze. That picture sold it for me!
Peniel Enchill is an English based fashion and lifestyle illustrator born and raised for the early part of her life in Ghana, she eventually moved to the UK with her family. Although popularly recognized as a freelance illustrator, owing to the fact that her illustrations in themselves are statement art (like the illustration gracing the cover of Arese Ugwu’s bestseller – “Smart Money Woman”), miss Peniel is all beauty and creativity as much as she is brains.
Graduating with a first class honors degree in Business management and economics from DeMont Fort University in Leicester, she did not just stop there, she veered in line with her rather obvious passion and in 2014, bagged yet another degree. This time, a master’s in International Fashion Retail, from the university of Manchester. Her works and services distinctively classed into Lifestyle, Romance, Portraiture, Fashion and Bridal, as well as other business services; commission details and prices, Paper Peniel et al, can be accessed on her website penielenchill.com.
With much pleasure, JW would waste no more time introducing the creative director and owner of the Peniel Enchill brand, Miss Peniel Enchill!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Peniel Enchill. I’m Ghanaian; born and partial raised in Ghana. I currently live in North England.
At what age did you first realize you loved to illustrate and was it a clear-cut discovery or did it stem from something else?
I honestly can’t pin point an age. I’ve always loved drawing. I would draw everywhere; on my books, my bags, the wall, everywhere. Interestingly, 90% of what I would draw were women/girls in pretty clothes.
‘Self discovery’, I think is a word that’s too familiar when relating to creative’s and artiste alike; did this apply to you as well and if it did, what was that defining point?
Personally I think self discovery is an ongoing process, especially for creative’s. To admit to 100% self discovery is to claim you’ve reached your peak, which is hardly the case when it comes to the creative industry. There’s always something you can do better. So yes and no; I’m still on that journey.
What inspires your art and who are your major influences?
Me. I inspire my art. My culture, my morals and my race are the main foundations of my art. Based on that, I draw inspiration from any one excelling in each facet. Especially women.
What moments or moods are you most creative and do you sometimes find it hard to find the particular inspiration for certain projects/illustrations?
This is an interesting question as I’ve just overcome a creative rot. We go through outburst of feeling uninspired as creative’s and it’s one of the most frustrating things to go through. I don’t think it’s based on my mood necessarily and I’m yet to figure out the cause for me personally. But yes, I do find it hard to find inspiration from time to time.
What class of art does your work fall under, or what would you regard your art as?
I’ve had to make this up, as it doesn’t seem to fit any mold perfectly. So I refer to it as fashion and lifestyle illustrations.
Studying Business Management, attaining a ‘professional degree’ first, before veering towards the creative – International Fashion and retail, would you say that choice played out perfectly and is more of an advantage for you now?
Definitely, I was a little disappointed when I was steered towards that route by my Parents, but it worked out for the best actually. I loved both degrees and I use knowledge from business Management almost daily!
What /who is your biggest support base?
My family! My parents, Fiancée, Siblings. They’ve seen me grown and they are constantly present! I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
When did you officially launch your brand – Peniel Enchill and what has the experience been like from the business aspect?
I officially launched it 7th October 2015. It’s been great actually. I’ve learnt so much about myself, how I work, what works with other people and practical uses of my business degree. It’s definitely challenging being an entrepreneur but on the flip side, very fulfilling.
Going through your illustrations, every single one of them has a message, though they may cut across different people differently. Is this always intentional?
80% of the time yes! I feel like I wasn’t given this gift for just my benefit. God must’ve blessed me with it for others as well. Even if it’s just to make someone laugh for that day, or feel good, then I’ve done good.
Sometimes the message I intend to put out is read differently and I’m actually taught a thing or two about my work. This is always exciting.
I think it’s applaudable that even though growing up for the most part of your life in the UK, your work still feels very close to home, in fact feels like home. The details of most illustrations seem to capture a modern African attitude, visual or lifestyle. Can you bring us into your thought process here?
My culture/heritage has never been in question because Ghana never stopped being home. My parents made sure my siblings and I visited Ghana at least once every year ever since we moved. So I always had a life back home too. I’m forever grateful to them for that, as I grew up very in touch and intrigued by all things Ghanaian and in the larger sense, African.
I also noticed that you illustrate more with female characters. Any particular reason for this?
Because I know them more. It really is that simple.
On the average, how long would it take you to finish an illustration and do you have any particular illustration/art work you are emotionally attached to?
This varies highly on my mood or state of mind. In some cases and illustration can take a couple of hours and in other cases, days. My personal favourite is my illustration of my father. I gifted it to him on the day of his PHd graduation and that surprisingly has remained my favourite. He’s my role model, which I’m sure is where the bias comes from.
Do you have any fears?
Failure. I’ve always been an over achiever. Very competitive by nature. I have huge life goals and it’s a scary thought to think they might not pan out.
Where do you envision Peniel Enchill 5years from now?
You’d have to wait and see. But in a nutshell, a pacesetter.
What is that singular and most important life lesson your journey on this path has thought you?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
This verse sums up what I’ve come to learn and what I currently live by.
What relaxes you and what do you do for fun?
I love to cook. When I’m stressed I cook or bake something I’ve never tried before. It works like a charm. I always said if I hadn’t taken this path I would have been a chef or a food blogger! (I guess my parents really had no chance with the medicine or law careers!).
Where would you consider picturesque for your creativity and to draw inspiration?
Do you mean country? City? Place?
Yes I do.
I’ve always wanted to visit Seoul! In fact it’d be a dream to travel to Asia. It’s such a culture hotspot!
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Very introverted by nature. Most people don’t see this when they meet me. But close ones know I thrive in my own company. I’m learning to be more extrovert though.
If you were given only one choice between – “cupcake splurge” and “shoe splurge”, which would you choose?
Errr Cupcake all day! That’s not even a question. I’m a self proclaimed foodie. And cupcakes are actually my guilty pleasure.
There are quite a number of amazing illustrators and artiste’s out there like yourself and you stand out, still. What would you advice young creative’s like you, who wish to succeed and be unique as well?
Find out YOU. Who are you? What have you been through? What are you the most excited to create? Only you can be you so don’t play second best with your craft. People also tend to appreciate you more when you have honest emotional ties with your work.
Peniel Enchill Galleries
Peniel Enchill’s Illustration/Art makes you pause – Think! They reflect, they project, they inspire!
P:s – More of Miss Enchill’s work can also be seen on Instagram.