How do I develop a style?
I get asked this a lot and think illustrators, especially students spend too much time and energy on the subject of 'style' - something that feels rather corporate. While visual identity is a consideration, your ideas and the way that you communicate them are much more important. I believe that students should concentrate on making good images with content that communicates their ideas clearly, and that fulfills a brief, rather than worrying about their brand. Everyone has an inherently different way of drawing, making and thinking, and therefore already has an innate style, so concentrate on being YOU and the rest will happen naturally.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration is everywhere. For reference, I look at folk tales, films, documentaries and exhibitions. I also like to go location drawing.
What is your process?
After receiving a brief I will start by making very small, rough 'thumbnail' sketches. These will then be worked into more complex roughs in pencil or ink, with as much detail as possible (it saves more time when it comes to revisions). The completed roughs are then sent to the client and I will adapt or tweak depending on their feedback. Once roughs are signed off I begin to create final colour artwork, which is then sent again to the client for feedback. I often use the computer to amend final colour artwork, before sending all completed files to the designer.
What mediums do you use?
I use lots of different materials, but mainly inks and paints. Sometimes I use photoshop for flat colors, and occasionally coloured pencils and collage. I use a range of standard brands that anyone can find in their local art shop - Daler, Derwent, Winsor and Newton etc. I do find the obsession with the materials artists use slightly perplexing if I'm honest! Just have fun and experiment with materials and find what's best for you.
Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?
There's not one route to illustration success . What works for one person won't work for all. There are many, many books, blogs and podcasts out there offering advice for prospective illustrators so try things out, but don't be despondent if they don't work for you. Make good art, be creative and open to experimentation. Do only what feels 'right' and comfortable.
Oh...and exercise. Seriously.
Can you give me feedback on my work?
I often get very busy with commissions so I can only offer feedback if there is time in my schedule. Please email me.
The AOI also offers a very reasonable portfolio advice service, run by experts in the field. You can find more info here.
I've written a book. Can you illustrate it?
Publishing houses are expert at matching illustrators with texts so it is best to submit your text to them first. You absolutely do not need to have an illustrator to get your book published.
Can I share your work on my Blog / website / tumblr / Instgram etc?
Please get in touch with me email@example.com. If you are a company / acting on behalf of a company, or are making money from your online platform you must get in touch to discuss licensing the work first.