We Interview: Peniel Enchill - Artist & Illustrator
If you believe that no good deed, no matter how little, goes unrewarded, then my interview with Penie is definitely a reward for me.
Last year, she posted a photo of an illustrated greeting card on Instagram which was going up for sale on her online store. I sent her a DM pointing out a typo, rather uncertain of what her reaction will be. But she was so gracious and thankful in her response!
When I emailed her about this feature, unsure of whether she was going to respond, I introduced myself and recalled the typo incident.
Penie is a one of a kind illustrator! You may not recognise her face, but no doubt you've stumbled on her art pieces at one time or the other - as they often go viral on the internet!
I had a million questions to ask her. I couldn't quite fit in all of them, but at least we talked about her brand, relationships, advice and other fun stuff in between!
Is Peniel Enchill your real name or your art name? What does it mean?
- Peniel Enchill is my real name. Peniel is a biblical name, which is actually the place where Jacob named to signify ‘the face of God’
How did you first discover you were a creative genius? and how would you describe what exactly you do? Artist? Illustrator?
- I’d like to say I’ve always known I had a unique artistic gift even since I was young. I just really never thought much of it till my mid teenage years. I would like to say I’m an artist at heart, but what I do now would make me an “illustrator”.
You've created a product line and have your illustrations on greeting cards and phone cases (PaperPenie.com). You were commissioned to draw the cover illustration for the Smart Money Woman book and also been involved in art illustrations for Andrea Iyamah swim wear brand? What's the next step for Peniel Enchill?
- There’s so much in store for Peniel Enchill. I launched Paper Penie in the last quarter of 2016 and we’re working towards making it a go to store for stationary and gifts for you, in 2017. Don’t sleep on us!
What's the vision for the Peniel Enchill Brand? Tell us one brand that inspires you!
- Kate Spade and Meghan Hess’ brand. Everyone has that mentor that knows nothing about them. Meghan is mine.
3 steps you've taken to improve yourself over time, that'll help other artists out there.
- Practice. Research. Learn.
- Practice is a step people aren’t thrilled to hear but it really is the key. I’m always so on the look out for new illustrators, new patterns, old techniques and artists I’m yet to discover. And I learn from them! I’m a strong believer in learning something from everyone, and I feel this had helped me a lot with my work.
What the one skill that is probably underrated, but you think is incredibly important in running a business?
- Organisation. In the day to day of a business especially a new SME, this is essential and something I’m still yet to master.
What comes to your mind when someone says you're over priced?
- I understand my services aren’t in everyone’s budget, but good art is never cheap.
The best compliment you've ever received from a client?
- A customer of my ‘beauty in her scars’ print mentioned how free and fearless she became after she saw that picture. After her double masceteomy she hadn’t been able to accept the image the mirror showed her, but something change after she saw that image. That made me really thankful for what God is using my gift for.
How much do you think someone could pay you in exchange for never drawing again.
- Nothing. Nothing would stop me for never drawing again. Maybe stop me from drawing for money but not quitting all together.
One celebrity you'll love to draw and present a free art work to
- Michelle and Barack Obama!
Your illustrations are so stylish and fashionable. How do you feel when people go on to actually create them into real pieces?
- I love it! It’s like seeing your baby come from an ultra sound image to life, Hahaha. A bit extreme right? But it really is nice to know someone fell in love to the extent of taking it to ‘auntie seamstress’ to make it.
As a Ghanaian, you must be aware that some people think Nigerian Jollof rice is better. Have you tried both, and what do you think of both!?
- Hahaha! Wow. I have tried both but Ghanaian jollof always tops it. It’s a no brainer. Nonetheless, both times I tried Nigerian jollof, something wasn’t right somewhere (maybe the source?), so I think I am just yet to try good Nigerian jollof.
Your one tip to unwind after a really stressful day?
- I love cooking so that always helps.
Your favourite drink?
- Water and a good Virgin Mojito. I don’t drink alcohol.
Your favourite stores to shop - 2 high street and two designers?
- H&M and Warehouse for high street. Designer - Burberry and Deola Sagoe
3 pieces you think every girl should have in her wardrobe to feel confident?
- Jeans, your perfect lip colour and a good bag.
Three things that can boost your mood immediately?
- Good Banter from my Fiancé or my Sister. Good Food. Burning of a good scented candle.
Your relationship pieces go viral. What do you think is the best dating advice you've ever received.
- Communication shouldn’t be compromised, understanding shouldn’t be undermined and God should stay the centre.
If you had to marry someone from any country in the world other than Africa, where it would be, and what one thing about men in that area do you love?
- Italy! Italian men just have that something don’t they?
Would you share a tooth brush with your partner?
KT: Hahahaha! Such certainty. I and a few others don't quite mind. See this hilarious post - Love you Boo, but Cant Share Your ToothBrush, Sorry!
Where would you want to have your dream wedding? And three things that you'll love to have on there?
- A beautiful garden. I’d love, lanterns, fireworks and lots of intimate lights.
The best advice your dad ever gave you?
- Spend more time with God, and you’ll spend less time getting what you want.
Excessive social media is leading a lot of young people astray. Any advice to curb this?
- I agree. I recently adopted this concept of social media detoxing. Once every month I have full days social media free.
- I think it's important for people to take a break sometimes to think of themselves, what they want and who they are void of the social noise.
3 things on your adventure bucket list before 30?
- Asia! I really want to visit Seoul and Thailand. I’d love to attend Coachella! And swimming with dolphins.
Describe your 2016 in one word and your hopes for 2017 in three words?
- 2016 – Insightful
- 2017 – Memorable, Gamechanger, Inspired.
What would you like to be remembered for?
- Giving. Whether it's monetary, emotionally or my skills, I want to be remembered as someone who gave.
I loved this interview so much. Sure you can tell how I had to stop myself from simply including all of her illustrations!?
I know I'm inspired by her & what she does - no amount of money will make her stop drawing! Pure passion right there. And I love how she uses her talent for social issues.
What do you think?
I'll love to hear your thoughts on this one, so leave a comment!
And in celebration of our one year blog anniversary next month, they'd be a giveaway from her store. Stay tuned and subscribe to the blog so you don't miss out. And please don't forget to share the post.
pS: Interesting how the very first person we interviewed on this series Desola Falomo, Creator of TwentySix also has Kate Spade as an inspiration. Check out the rest of the We Interview series - including Haneefah Adam, awesome visual artist (what she does with food is crazy!) and hijarbie doll creator!
ppS: That response on Jollof though. In Tayo's recap on Chale Wote Festival Ghana, she did say Ghana Jollof was good! But still, can we please arrange some awesome Nigerian Jollof for Penie?
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