Jenny runs an amazing website called Jookpubstock, where she and her wife create pose packs and reference libraries for artists to use in their pieces. It is an incredible resource and we’re absolutely thrilled to sit down with her and have a chat about what goes into her process.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I’m Jen, known as JookpubStock and I make drawing reference photos for artists. I live with my wife Bee and our cats in Hamburg, Germany.
I started with photography around three years ago and still have a lot to learn. It has been an exciting journey so far and I’m so grateful that I’m now a full-time freelancer thanks to the generosity and support of the community.
What are the things you find most important or helpful in creating an artistic practice and process?
I think it is important to see your own artistic process through the eyes of a beginner from time to time, even if you are already a skilled artist.
Trying new techniques, materials and software can open your eyes to new possibilities.
I make it a habit to always reset my setup completely in my studio. It may not be efficient but since I’m still learning more about lighting and my camera, I might find a new or better way of setting up my lighting.
How did you identify that there is a need for references in the artistic community?
Before I started as a photographer, I was an artist myself and wanted to improve my skills. I used photo references by Sarah (AdorkaStock) and Kyle (NullEntityStock) for years, but sometimes I needed something very specific. So, I started taking my own references.
And that was more fun than actually using them for my drawings. I took more and more photos and thought that they might be useful to other artists.
Besides contributing a wealth of poses and resources, are you yourself an artist? If so, what kind of work do you create?
I started drawing when I was 13 years old. It was my main hobby until I started writing short stories and stage plays. That got me into acting and became my passion till I graduated. I took a voice acting class for a year then but never had the goal to make it my full-time job.
So, I tried a lot of different things, but it never was a long-lasting passion. With photography it’s different. I’m so much more invested in it and want to learn more every day. I finally found an art form that speaks to me completely.
But I never abandoned my other hobbies and some of them influence my work as a photographer, like acting and storytelling.
Your poses range from general and broad appeal to extremely niche and specific. How do you go about creating and curating your pose packs?
It’s a mix between my own interests and feedback from the community. I have a list of suggestions from artists on social media and I also write my own ideas there. For my monthly themed packs, I let my patrons on Patreon decide what theme they want to see next.
I also make sets based on fandoms I love, like Final Fantasy XIV.
What do you consider the greatest contribution to your growth as a creative?
When I started as a photographer around 3 years ago, I thought that I would only get better with a good and expensive camera. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. I spent the last month watching tutorials and online courses about photography and then started to practice what I’ve learned. The quality of my photos improved, without the need for an expensive camera. The focus on learning and practising without the pressure of creating something that was “worth uploading” was a big step.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self about your career path and lessons?
I would most likely tell myself that it’s okay to just try new things, even if there is a high chance of failure. There is always something to learn from it. That was not an easy thing to learn for a perfectionist like me. But breaking out of the mindset that I can only do and upload things if I know it will work, helped me to improve.
Tell me about the most difficult project you’ve worked on and how you managed to finish it?
Poses in motion and my mermaid packs were a big challenge. A lot of poses looked silly at first, but changing the angle helped. These photoshoots can be exhausting, but the results are worth it in the end!
Are you currently trying to learn any specific skill, and how do you go about learning it?
My focus right now is to learn more about lighting setups. It’s easy to find a neutral and well-lit setup, but it can get boring really fast. And a lot of artists want to learn more about lighting and shadows.
That’s why I watch video tutorials and take as many online courses as I can. I upload more and more practice photos with different lighting setups, and I hope that these can be useful for artists as well.
What is your dream project, and can you tell us a little more about it?
I would love to publish a book with different kinds of references in the future. Right now, I don’t really have the time to work on that project, but I hope that I can start to focus on it soon. There are other projects on my list, but these are in very early stages.
How do you monetize your artistic endeavours?
Thanks to the financial support on Patreon and Ko-Fi I was able to become a full-time freelancer. That would not have been possible otherwise.
I sell my themed packs on Ko-Fi and my patrons on Patreon also have access to them. They also get other rewards like mini packs and pose requests.
But none of this would be possible without the support of my wife and mum. Not just financially. They believe in me and that helps me to believe in myself as well.
What do you think is a good way to think about money in the creative field?
Money is important, of course, especially for freelancers. But in my opinion, it should not completely control the decisions you make as an artist. The love and passion for the craft should always be a big part of that. Creating something only because it would make you a lot of money won’t bring you joy for a long time.
I think that money is not the ultimate proof of success or failure.
It’s tough to find a good balance and some artists cannot afford to not think a lot about money. But if your love for art and expressing yourself is still the driving force, then I think you are on the right track as an artist.
Do you ever take requests from the artistic community? If so, can you tell us about the strangest request you have ever received?
I guess I would not call them “strange” but rather “specific”. There are so many artists out there with different styles and ideas. Some of the requests may not make a lot of sense to me. But I feel honoured that people are trusting me and telling me about their projects anyway.
Yes, I might end up holding two completely unrelated objects in my hands in a slightly uncomfortable pose, but there is a story behind it and I’m glad if I can help to make sure that it will be told.
What are your dreams for Jookpub and what do you hope to tackle next to get there?
I want to learn more about photography so that I can one day invest in a new camera. Right now, it would probably be a waste because I would not be able to use it properly.
I also want to interact more with the community. I had two or even three jobs at a time before I became a full-time freelancer. It was hard to keep track of all the messages and comments. Now I can finally take more time to respond to artists.
I also want to use this time to make more fine art and content for Patreon and Ko-Fi.
There is still so much to learn, and I can’t wait to share more new photos with artists around the world.
- Dante Ludolf