Abby Standish 



Hey Abby! First thing's first - how'd you get started as an illustrator? What's the best thing about it in your opinion?

Since I’ve been able to hold a crayon, I’ve been irresponsibly doodling on everything I can get my hands on. I started with scribbling on babydoll and walls. When I was in junior high, I would come home from school with pen doodles all over my arms and legs from drawing on myself in class. I was once sent to the principle’s office for drawing unicorns on a bunch of people at recess. Now, I spend many of my evenings switching between dancing around my living room and making art. 

The best thing about drawing is that it keeps me sane. Everything about being able to have a thought and quickly immortalise it and make it visibly tangible is liberating. For me, art is a place where there are nearly no bounds. I try never to limit myself in life, and art is the best medium I’ve found where no-one else can impose boundaries upon me.

If you could describe your style in 3 words, what would they be? 

Observational (and sometimes contemplative)

You use quite a bit of watercolour paint in your work and seem to prefer for traditional mediums like pen/pencil as well. Is there any reason for that? 

I like mediums which allow me to work quickly. Watercolour and pen are especially good for this. Many of my ideas emerge when I’m in lectures, and I’m prone to scribbling them down and posting them on Instagram during class which is one reason why many of my drawings are in pen. 

I recently started making ceramic creatures, which is an entirely different world of art than I am used to- it takes 50 times longer which sometimes drives me mad but I think that slowing down to make art makes me a better person.

I love how your works always seem to be themed around self-love! What are other themes that you like to explore through your work? Why are they important to you? 

I aim to include a touch of positivity in all of my actions and creations. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of seeing the world as all heavy and serious so I use my art in hopes of combating that in myself and other people. 

Nonsense is also very important to me. I am an absurd person, so naturally, my art is reflective of that. It’s easy to feel pressure to fit into the status quo, and do the expected things. I like it when people consciously break out of the norm. It’s helpful in counteracting monoculturalism.

Since Biltz is all about wellness this week, do you have any awesome self-care tips?

Gosh, I have so many because I’m so big on self-care. Here is a list of tips which have been relevant in my life as of late: 

1. Remember that it doesn’t actually matter what other people think of you.
Name and stick to your own standards. Do things to impress yourself. Create a world that impresses you. Not your mom. Not your partner. Not even your dogs. Your life isn’t theirs.

2. Asking for help is cool.
There are so many people in the world who want to know what’s going on with you. In fact, it’s some people’s job to listen to you and help- CAPS provides free counselling for all UNSW students.

3. Self-care is an every day, every moment activity.
Self care can be applied to breathing, thinking, communicating with other people, studying, and everything else.

4. If you find yourself stuck in an emotional rut, make an action plan to pull yourself out.
My list usually includes doing yoga, calling my mom, and eating a big salad.

5. Rearrange your insides.
I find it helpful to periodically rethink the way I think. If I don’t take control of my thoughts, they are prone to defaulting to worrying about things which do not call for worry. When I remind myself of what I want my cognitive priorities to be, my thoughts become more beautiful.

6. Stick it to the man.
Sticking it to the man is the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental health.'

And of course, we want to be kept in the loop - what does the future hold for you? Do you have any cool projects coming up that you're looking forward to?

At the moment, I’m just drawing whenever I get the chance. I do plan on eventually selling ceramics and prints, and when that time comes, I will make it known on Insta!

And last but not least - do you have anything you want to share with the world?

Yes. You guys really shouldn’t be feeding bread to ducks. It can make them sick and can lead to a their loss of autonomy. If you absolutely must feed the ducks, you should know that peas are a healthier alternative.  

(Mayntz, Melissa. “Should You Feed Bread to Ducks? Learn the Truth!” The Spruce, TheSpruce, 24 Jan. 2019,

To listen to more of Abby's Drawing Playlist:

Vintii Aggarwal

Kevin Wang

Artist of the Week Gallery