The AOI Illustration Professional Self Initiated Catergory Winner 2013.
What was your key motivation in becoming an illustrator?
To put forth my language and to communicate ideas to a wider audience. I knew I had the potential within me to develop a style that would enable me to do this and in my final year at university I really began to weigh down what my voice was as an Illustrator, in particular my Free Jazz series. I have always had the drive to succeed and took any opportunity I could and I always tried to network as much as was possible.
Ingenjoren – Swedish Journal, Hear No Evil
What was your first break as an illustrator?
When I got signed to Eastwing Illustration agency. I was exhibiting at D&AD New Blood and I saw this as my first major opportunity to get my name out. I met some amazing people from the industry but also others hoping to crack into the field and swapped stories of work, process and inspiration. It was at New Blood that I met Patrick from Creative Review, who blogged about my work, which later led to them featuring my work in the iPad edition. The exposure gained from this led to other opportunities and a few months later Abby and Andrea took me on; it’s just built up from there.
New Scientist – Wonder of Conciousness
How do you maintain an ongoing stream of work?
I am always continuing with personal projects, some have come and gone and been completed quickly, whereas some are constant. Sometimes I will revisit older work to update it or maybe change the image completely. My alphabet series was meant to be something quick and simple but it has turned more complex. It has got to a stage now where you can see the development of my work within images. I’m aware of the importance of having a strong, fresh body of work and when the commissions are not coming in it is crucial to be working on other things. If you think that is a drag then maybe illustration isn’t right for you. I love what I do and image making and experimenting is in a way an outlet. It takes precedence over almost anything else in my life, except the people I love.
Personal Project – Letter for imagination
What importance do you put on your own personal body of work and how does this influence your commissioned work?
I think it is crucial to have a style of work and this is what is possibly the most important thing as an Illustrator. I think it is important to have a bridge between that in your personal and commissioned work; there isn’t much point having a totally different style in your personal work and then showing that in your portfolio, it will confuse commissioners and weakens your voice as an artist. It’s never good to be seen as a Jack of all trades.
Ted Baker – Taking the Scenic Route
When a company for a commission approaches you, what are the first three steps you take?
Usually things will come in from my agent but the three steps I would take are still the same. What is the deadline for the piece and do I have enough time in my schedule to take on the project. Secondly what is the topic/subject of the image and is the brief going to be right for me. I’d never want to take something on if I didn’t think I could do a good enough job and sometimes you have to know that a commission just isn’t right for you. The third thing I think is how much are they going to pay me and is this right considering the scale of the job we are all trying to earn a living as Illustrators and we all deserve a fair wage.
Wired Magazine – Delivering the Perfect Pitch
Talk us through your experience of entering and winning the AOI Awards 2013 with your piece ‘Oliver Sacks’.
This was my first time in entering the AOI awards, I had never really felt I had anything strong enough to enter in my previous years at university but I felt different this year. I had exhibited Lost Mariner a number of times before and it had always been well received, sparking great comments from viewers, always being a piece of conversation. To win an award was just the pinnacle of success for me at this time in my career and I want to use it as the platform for the next level of what I do. I have so much love for this; I couldn’t do anything else with my life. The support and publicity given by the AOI has been excellent and I look forward to working with the team in the future.