Wired Germany – ‘How Many Ipads Make A Human’
What are the first three things steps you take when a commissioner approaches you for a project?
I usually make a coffee first and foremost; steady the nerves if not the hands! I’ll then print out the copy or brief and highlight any sentences or phrases that jump out at me – Working in editorial it can often be tough taking what could be an international, large scale issue and scaling it down into what might be a 15x15cm square!
I’ll then dive straight into filling a page with thumbnail sketches. I try not to overthink the copy, or take a particular stance myself but instead whittle down the idea’s presented to their clearest form.
‘Rental Market Crisis’
You’re a printmaker as well as creating digital work, does handmade give you something that digital work doesn’t?
I think print will always have some advantages over digital work…Print definitely has an emotional weight attached; someone has invested time and labor into creating a print. It can often be a tricky and frustrating practice – There isn’t any easy ‘Undo’ button. But, although my work is mostly digital these days I’ve built up stock of handmade textures I’ve created over the years and I try to implement them where I can, just to give the viewer a nudge “Hey! There’s a human behind this!”
Who or what inspires your drawings?
I’m inspired by a lot of Mid-Century Modern artists, architects and designers but also absolutely love modern pop culture. The trashier the better. I’m not sure which is more visible in my work? Hopefully the former!
‘Kids With Puns – Culture Vulture’
You have recently started working with Norwich School of Art lecturing for them, what is it like being on the other side of a course you were once part of as a student?
Honestly, it’s very surreal every time. As much a cliché as it sounds you really don’t understand how good you’ve got it when you’re studying. Looking in on the course from the outside the amount of knowledge between the tutors and the facilities available is something to really be cherished.
It’s hugely rewarding to speak to the students. I think I’m still very much just off the starting blocks with my own career, so the great thing is that everything they’re asking me are things that are still very fresh in my memory. I remember being in my third year and being able to visualise where I was standing then, and the end goal. But everything in between was unknown. Hopefully I’m helping to bridge that gap between being a ‘Student’ and an ‘Illustrator’ for them.
Wrap – ‘Cycling’
What’s your dream project?
I have a very long bucket list of clients! But one that stands out to me is ‘The New Yorker’. I think in terms of material the quality of writing within the magazine is so rich. There’s always so much within the articles that as an illustrator you could pluck any sentence and have a ball creating an image for them. I think the tone and humor of the magazine is something that would fit with my style really well…So if you’re listening…
Another dream job that I have actually been lucky enough to take part in is working with WRAP magazine. I’m really interested in printed products and creating products in general and WRAP helped me achieve this in facilitating the design of cards and wrapping papers that are now available internationally. In working with WRAP on these products I’ve seen my work travel farther afield than I ever dreamt possible, you can buy them in places I’ve always dreamt of visiting like New York.
So now when I daydream about NYC I like to sometimes include my designs alongside those yellow cab’s and amazing street food. Gives me butterflies every time!
‘I Would Be Happier If I Ignored The News’
You live outside London; does it matter where you are to be successful in your opinion?
I think for me when I was leaving university as an illustration student I knew there wasn’t much possibility of immediate job security within illustration. Illustration tends to be much more a solitary pursuit. With this in mind, I knew I was going to have work at my career whilst also working in general and that balance is something I thought would be much harder to achieve in London. I have no doubt in my mind that living outside the capital does mean I miss out on events and socialising within a more concentrated creative circle, but the pace and quality of life I have outside of that hub has been crucial to developing my practice at a steady trajectory. It’s been a slog, but I imagine it is anywhere!
Talking with my old tutors I do believe we live in a very different world now as far as freelancing goes. There’s not many opportunities to grab a pint with an AD and I think everyone’s time is spread a little more thin. BUT, there’s definitely more work out there – Even if you don’t count the fact that a folio can be sent across the world in a matter of seconds via email there’s a wealth of indie publishers and online platforms that still need content.
I’m now at a point where I’m receiving work from all over Europe and have recently completed my first U.S commissions. If I asked clients to point out Norwich on a map I probably wouldn’t have much luck but with technology as it is we are all kind of living on the ‘Isle of the Internet’.