WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE WHEN YOU WERE A KID
I’d say my top three were professional footballer, vet, and fireman (following in my dad’s footsteps. He brought the fire engine to my school a few times to teach the kids about fire safety – it was like a mega show and tell for me.) I was obsessed with drawing from a young age too and always thought I’d be an artist – I got it from my granddad, he used to give me tips and I always tried to copy his drawings and paintings.
FAVOURITE MEDIUMS TO USE
I like to mix media, and my ‘Reimagined’ series of illustrations is probably the best example of this. The combination of pencil illustration with acrylic paint often works well for me – sometimes just to add colour and sometimes for a stark contrast in texture etc. which is a technique that lends itself to the creation of more surreal imagery. I’m really into working in 3D as well when I get the chance – I have created some installation work and made paper and plasticine models for various projects which is good fun and I’d like to do more of that in future. I am also a big fan of line drawing and possibly feel most comfortable with a fine line pen.
MOST MEMORABLE CREATIVE MOMENT
I don’t know if this counts but it’s relevant to my creative endeavours: The moment I made the decision to drop out of my course at UWE in Bristol after two months. It was a huge decision for me and it was difficult because it was a massive risk and there was a lot of pressure on me to stick it out when I really wasn’t happy. I came home, created a fresh portfolio of self-initiated projects over a year (which was great for my self-discipline and motivation), applied to three of the top Graphic Design courses starting the next academic year and ended up receiving offers from all of them. I now have a degree and portfolio I’m really happy with after three years at Brighton so it was a pivotal and definitely wise decision.
BEST PIECE OF CREATIVE INDUSTRY ADVICE
It’s a cliche but don’t accept the fact that people will expect you to work for free just because you’re not a renowned artist. I’m still learning this myself, and of course there are exceptions e.g. if your client is not profiting from your work and you’re happy to spend time on something purely for experience/exposure (or if it’s for a good cause). But being an illustrator isn’t just a hobby, it’s a profession and you’ve worked hard to get where you are just like everyone else.
WORST PIECE OF CREATIVE INDUSTRY ADVICE
Bad advice would be to turn down opportunities because you think they’re not big enough – it’s worth taking every opportunity to build your portfolio and client list and get your stuff seen by a wider audience just as long as you’re not being exploited, as I previously mentioned. You have to start somewhere and a piece of work for what you might see as an insignificant client could lead to the best commission you’ve ever had.
FAVOURITE PIECE OF WORK TO DATE
I did this drawing of Wallace and Gromit on their motorbike sidecar when I was about ten and everyone thought I’d traced it. I think that’s still my proudest moment!
To design the album artwork for Outkast’s long awaited comeback record (please).
WHERE YOU THINK YOU’LL BE IN 20 YEARS TIME
In Japan saving the dolphins with Ric O’Barry.
WHAT YOU THINK YOU MIGHT DO FOR THE VALENTINES PIECE?