Questions and Answers with Jeff Rogers

Posted by Nate Williams

What advice do you have for illustrators?

Don’t take more work than you can do. If you turn out 5 mediocre pieces in a week, you may have a little swell in your bank account but no one will call you back. If you took 2 and they turned out amazing, those clients will most likely give you more work and you will seem more “prestigious” and in demand to the clients you had to turn away. And they’ll probably call you back too.

more Questions and Answers with Jeff Rogers

http://www.illustrationmundo.com/q_and_a/author_id/92

 

Interview with illustrator Eric Comstock

Posted by Nate Williams

How do you want people to feel when they see your work? 

I want people to smile. I hope they might say, “Hey I never imagined a Robot or boombox or banana would look like that”. 

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How did you get into illustration? 

I’ve always enjoyed drawing but I never felt I was good enough. Julie, my wife, and I owned our company (Cosmo Cricket) producing products in the scrapbook industry. It was 2007 and I had started to design this baby line but I wanted illustrated characters to help express the theme of the line. Because I couldn’t find illustrations that seemed to work for the collection I started drawing my own.

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How has being an art director and designer influenced your approach to illustration?

As an art director you concept a lot. I remember creative directors telling me that I needed to come up with 100 ideas to find the best one. I don’t know if I ever came close to that but I tried. As I would concept for a new ad or brochure I found myself asking, “what if” alot. “What if” is a question I ask a lot as I consider what to draw next. 

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What do you like about illustration? vs art directing? What do you like about art directing?

I love that people come to me because they like my style. I like that my illustrations will not be subjected to comments like “make the logo bigger” or “we’ll need to focus group this work”. What I have loved about both illustration and art direction is the creative process.  

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Can you tell us your experience in the art licensing industry?

We learned a lot from our first licensing experience! Our number one lesson is that you must research the companies you work with. This includes understanding their distribution channels, marketing power, customer service, etc. It will all reflect on you and your brand once you affiliate with them. These things can also dramatically affect the amount of money you make from the products. We also learned about controlling the art. If you are not happy with printing, colors, etc. you need to speak up about. Fans tend to associate products featuring art with the artist more than the manufacturer so if the color or quality is not good they will likely think you chose it to be that way.

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What is your working environment like?

I work from home on an iMac. I use a Wacom tablet and will never ever go back to using a mouse. I always have a sketchbook nearby which is where I usually begin any project. I really love jazz and listen to it a lot. It really helps me clear my head as I work. My favorites are Oscar Peterson, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Chet Baker and a lot more.

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One of the things that I really love about my work space is that I share it with my wife. Julie and I work on several projects together. We have our desk along one wall and work about 4 feet from each other.

Do you meet up with other illustrators in person? Who?

Once in awhile  Cathy Heck is very outgoing and invites us to dinner and events every now and then. We just had dinner with her and her husband Jim where she introduced us to Laura Wisburn who we had met briefly at Surtex a few years ago. We have also hung out with Malka Dubrowski, a fellow Moda Fabric designer. 

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What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?

I have learned that I have stopped worrying (almost completely but not quite:) about whether or not people like my illustrations and art. I have learned that the more you draw the more solutions you come up with to solve a creative problem.

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What illustration related projects would you love to do in the future?

I would love to do work for Blue Q sometime. I loved the design work I was seeing on PBS Kids and Nickelodeon a few years ago and would love to do some work for either company. (Iimage

haven’t what they are doing lately because my kids are getting older.)

Top 5 favorite things in life

  •  A great cup (or 2 or 3) of coffee every morning. I love coffee and my favorite brand is from a roaster here in Austin. Cuvvee Coffee beans. Mmmmm.
  • My Wacom tablet.
  • Google Map App on my iPhone. We’re new to Austin and I would never find my way around without it.
  •  KUTX. I love listening to this station especially on Sunday morning. They play 3 hours of Jazz and it is lovely.
  • Working from home with Julie.

Top 5 bands/singers

  • Wilco
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Elvis Costello
  • Feelies
  • Townes Van Zandt

More about ERIC COMSTOCK at: Profile / Website / Facebook

Lucy and the Anvil

Posted by Nate Williams

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The idea of a friendship between a little girl and an anvil does arouse curiosity. What inspired Lucy and the Anvil?

Many of the best ideas spring from unexpected combinations. Inception is a fine example, wherein Christopher Nolan marries the notions of dreaming and corporate espionage. Little girls and anvils are a similarly unexpected union. The trick, of course, is finding just where and when such disparate entities should unite. 

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Describe the process of working together.

We avoid any ideas we don’t love in equal measure, which shortens the list of potential projects considerably. But when we do embrace an idea, we start with one long phone call, then retreat to our respective studios and work alone. We trust each other to make the right decisions. It’s actually quite rare that we critique each other’s work.

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What were some of the creative challenges?

Only Lucy’s final design was not an immediate decision. Everything else we decided over the course of an afternoon. We readily admit that not all our projects treat us quite so kindly. 

What makes a good children’s book? 

The best children’s books are those that any child, in any era, truly cares about. That is to say, we truly care about the welfare of Peter Rabbit, the Pevensie children, and Bilbo Baggins. We all catch our breath when they’re in danger, and we smile in relief when they win out. If a child doesn’t care, the story fails. This is also true of children’s film. Just because a premise is unique doesn’t mean it merits telling.

What makes a good character?

The best characters, good or evil, are always imperfect. A great hero always has some ugly flaw or weakness, and an unforgettable villain always has a softer side, or even logical motivation. This is one of the big keys to HBO’s success with shows like Deadwood, The Wire, and Game of Thrones.

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Do you think about your audience, or do you just create something you love and hope for the best?

Our first audience is always us. Fortunately, many people do seem to share our taste. Many, which is not to say all. But in the age of the Kardashians and “Gangnam Style,” being on the fringe of common popularity is often more appealing than being at its hub.

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Will this book have a sequel? 

No, Lucy and the Anvil is, now and always, one very simple story with a definitive beginning and end. There is no sequel. But there may well be other ways to tell the story. Film certainly springs to mind.

Why did you decide to self-publish instead of pursuing an established publisher?

Most publishers possess molds, to which they steadfastly adhere. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Many of these molds produce magnificent, unforgettable books of absolutely sterling quality. And, needless to say, others produce books about rainbows and flying ponies. We just decided that Lucy and the Anvil probably doesn’t fit an existing publisher mold.

Support their Kickstarter Campaign

There are so many ways for kids to be entertained today. What makes a picture book special?

In many ways, it’s the sheer volume of today’s entertainment – and the speed at which it’s consumed – that makes a picture book worthwhile. With angry birds and autobots rushing at us from every possible direction, it’s an increasingly rare sensation to set the pace of consumption oneself. Lucy and the Anvil was designed for bedtime in particular, when that pace slows considerably.

More about BRIAN TAYLOR at: Profile / Website / RSS / Twitter / Facebook

Interview with illustrator Marta Długołęcka

Posted by Nate Williams

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Marta Długołęcka is an illustrator, originally from Warsaw, but currently living and working in London. She graduated from Kingston University in 2010 and has recently completed her MA at the Royal College of Art. Currently she really enjoys working with clients as much as popping into Kingston University as a visiting tutor teaching illustration.

How did you get into illustration?

Since I remember I’ve always been into drawing and making things so probably ever since primary school my biggest goal was to be in the art industry. Having said that, illustration as a career choice only became fully clear to me while I was doing my Art Foundation. In fact, back then my whole portfolio was actually being prepared for the fine art course and yet, at the very last minute something inside told me this wasn’t going to be the right choice for me and against all of the tutors I quickly updated my portfolio to suit illustration course and never regretted it since.

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What other types of jobs have you had?

Before I came to London I worked as a stylists assistant in a few magazines in Warsaw and then while studying in the UK I used to work at various bars, restaurants and shops.

Describe your creative process? What exactly is your medium? 

Depending on a project I usually start off by making digital sketches, which allow me to draw freely and quickly experiment with colors, lighting and general mood of the image. Also if I go through the sketch process I like to plan everything as much as possible before I move onto actual making any models and sets. Having said that, sometimes I like to skip the sketching stage and simply play around with my model making and let characters and inspirations emerge from that. Also despite my great love for arts and crafts I tend to use a lot of Photoshop in my work, which naturally gives me great freedom and control in terms of refining and modifying my images. 

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What role does photography play in your work?

Photography is actually one of the key elements that contribute to the overall look of my work. I love the freedom it gives me to experiment, especially with lighting and perspective. There is something very special about making images this way and in a way it almost makes the whole process easier, as once you’ve pressed a shutter it’s all already there, waiting for you to edit it.

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Have you done animation with your work? 

I always felt very connected and inspired by animation process but I never actually properly tried it myself. However a while ago I did a collaboration with a great animator Joe Sparrow on a humorous animated short about miniature Superman. Apart from that I am currently having talks with a publisher about releasing my 1st children’s book, which hopefully will also be available as an interactive app, and so animation will definitely be part of this.

How is Warsaw different from London? What do you miss and not miss about Warsaw?

Wow, this is a hard one! Well, Warsaw is always going to be my hometown and for that reason will always have a place in my heart. It is definitely much smaller and not as diverse as London is, but living there created basis for my character and who I am. And then London is a place I chose to live in, partly by accident and partly cos I always wanted to try it. It’s so beautiful, inspiring, full of buzz and opportunities and it was where I had to learnt how to be a “proper” adult. So for me it’s hard to say what I miss or don’t miss about Warsaw because it got to the point where I miss home when I’m in London and I miss London when I’m home. But having said that, living together with my boyfriend helps us to create our own little “home”, so at the moment London is getting a whole new perspective for me.

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What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?

I love working with text and so creating book covers is something that I enjoy the most.

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How would you like your work to be used in the future?

Ideally I would like to spread as much as possible and so in turn I’d like to see my work being used everywhere from book publications, stationary, pottery to wall paper, fabrics and posters. 

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Is your work more conceptual or decorative?

As much as I think my work is pleasant to the eye I would not call it decorative per se. It’s the same with being conceptual, I often try to tell a story though my images but at the same time I don’t worry too much about showing any deep or double meanings etc.

Do you have an art rep? Why or why not?

Currently I work exclusively as a freelancer and really enjoy it but soon I might look into having a professional representation, simply because along with the work load I already have it might also help me get involved in certain types of projects that otherwise I might find harder to get.

Please describe a typical day?

I usually get up around 9am and after having my morning shower, breakfast etc. I focus mostly on the administrative part of my work so sending emails, updating my accounts etc and then around midday I start with the fun part, the image making. Then, regardless if I work on a commission or develop new portfolio pieces I take quite a few of tea brakes throughout the day and try to finish working around 7pm.

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What is your working environment like?

Although I technically share my studio with my boyfriend who is also an illustrator and animator, I mostly work on my own as he often works away from our studio. In general I like listening to the radio while I’m working as it not only helps me keep the track of time but also nicely fills in the silence without me having to repeat one album for 4h (as I tend to)

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Do you meet up with other illustrators in person? Who?

Most of my friends are involved in art in one way or another so in fact when I see them I am surrounded by quite a creative crowd, which I am truly blessed by. Also recently I started teaching at Kingston University and so having regular contact with the students is extremely refreshing to me and I love it.

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Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?

What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?

Feel the fear… and do it anyway! (as advised by Sussan Jeffers )

What was the best advice given to you as an illustrator?

If your head ever goes completely blank and you totally lack inspiration, just draw and your ideas will eventually come from that.

Top 5 favorite things in life

love, sleep, Rome, my boyfriend’s cooking, smell of fresh air and… a bonus one: wacky humor

Top 5 bands/singers

Kings of Connivence, She and Him, Deventra Banhart, Mayer Howthorne, Friendly Fires, 

Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?

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More about Marta Długołęcka at: Profile / Website / Twitter

Interview with artist Eleanor Taylor

Posted by Nate Williams

Eleanor Taylor is 25 years old and comes from Brighton in the South of England. She grew up in a small town in Hampshire before embarking on a course in illustration at art school. After graduating she worked for a year in a supermarket and school while spending the rest of the time in her room drawing and building up her portfolio. The following two years were spent studying an MA at The Royal College of Art in London. Eleanor graduated in 2011 and moved to the coast. She has been published in Ambit and Granta and was recently nominated for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012.

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How did you get into illustration?

I was home educated until the age of sixteen. Creativity was encouraged and in my free time I was always drawing and making things. I took the minimum amount of exams to get into the local sixth form to take a two- year BTEC art course. This was one of the best times in my art education - I probably learnt more in those two years than the whole of my BA and MA combined! I went on to art school to do a BA, starting out in Fine Art Painting but realizing within the first three weeks that I had taken the wrong course I managed to switch to Illustration and haven’t looked back since.

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What other types of jobs have you had?

I have yet to live off illustration as and only source of income. In the past I have worked in a kitchen, as a cleaner in an old people’s home, a super- market assistant, carer and teaching assistant. Now I work in a small shop a few days a week. It’s not ideal but it gives me the drive to succeed and pays the bills!

There are lots of plants in your work, why is that?

As a child I spent a lot of time in the garden playing. I always liked to creep into bushes like an explorer and go as far back into the foliage as I possibly could. The suburban garden was transformed into a tropical paradise. I see myself as that same explorer when I draw. Plants contain their own symbolism and folklore and artists throughout history have always studied them. I find this reference to still life and nature really interesting because I am constantly fascinated by their strange  their worldly beauty and seductive qualities of shape and colour.

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Can you explain why you like to use lots of different mediums? (pencil,ink, collage, etc)

I am always experimenting. For a long time my work has been purely monochromatic. It felt natural to only work in shades of black and white to explore different approaches in mark making. But recently I have been introducing more colour and discovering that through digital techniques I can bring all these different mediums together.

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What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?

One which involves lots of naked ladies and plants or a botanical guide would suit me fine.

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How would you like your work to be used in the future?

I have lots of ideas - pattern design, book covers, editorial illustration, gallery shows, animation, comics, rugs, mugs and trinkets. Even if I don’t achieve all these things I think its good to keep options open and be resourceful.

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Is your work more conceptual or decorative?

This is really dependent on the project. The decorative and conceptual cannot be entirely separated – they need each other. Some pieces are more decorative and some have greater conceptual meaning but all have a little of both. If something is beautiful or strangely beguiling it will pull the viewer in and it can a powerful tool to bring a concept across.

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Do you have an art rep? Why or why not?

I don’t have an agent. I have always liked the idea of being very self- sufficient and I think it particularly important in the early days to gain experience from dealing with clients myself. However when I become more established I might look to an agency to help.

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Please describe a typical day?

I get up at 8. I am not a morning person so it takes me a while to adjust to the day. I like to read the news online and check emails then I start work around 10. I set myself small goals throughout the day – it’s always a good feeling to tick everything off a list! During the day I just like to immerse myself in drawing. When the evening comes I move on to computer-based work. Scanning, colouring in and updating my blog or website.

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What is your working environment like?

I have recently set up a space in the tiny studio flat I live in with my boyfriend. We have desks on opposite sides of the room and thankfully we work very well together. We have about three or four extension leads to support our growing collection of electrical equipment - scanner, printer, light box, desk lights, record player, computers etc. There are lots of plants in the room and plenty of light. I like to feel as close to being outside as possible.

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Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?

Sophia Martineck (http://www.martineck.com/e/) – Her beautifully drawn depictions of small town life are very absorbing with an incredible attention to detail.

John Broadley (http://johnbroadley.blogspot.co.uk/) - He creates interesting narratives inspired by medieval comics.

Aart-jan Venema (http://www.aartjanvenema.com/) – His painterly work is wonderfully produced and very different to a lot of the flat colour work that is out there. It makes me think of a cross between two of my favourite films – Holy Mountain and Fantastic Planet.

What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?

Never eat defrosted seafood.

Top 5 favorite things in life

  • Drawing
  • Films
  • Reading
  • Yorkshire Tea
  • Curry

Top 5 bands/singers

  • The Wickerman by Magnet and Paul Giovanni– the best musical ever made!
  • The Sound of Monsterism Island by Various Artists
  • Pete Fowler has created a wonderful place, which I like to visit when I sit and draw.
  • Valerie and her Week of Wonders composed by Lubos Fiser - ethereal, folk, procession like.
  • Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky – I listened to this non-stop whilst making a particularly labour intensive drawing. I think it somehow infiltrated through to the drawing.

Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?

More about ELEANOR TAYLOR at: Profile / Website / BLOG

Interview with illustrator José Luis Merino

Posted by Nate Williams

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José Luis Merino was born in Barcelona, Spain. 

He studied at Eina Art School in Barcelona.

In 1985 he began working as a graphic designer in several advertising agencies and design studios until 1998 when he established his present graphic design and illustration studio.

Since 2004 he has been teaching illustration in the Superior Graduate on Design at Elisava School, in the postgraduate in Creative illustration at Eina School and in the Master on Art Direction at Ramon Llull university, and BAU school, all in Barcelona.

His clients include BMW, Elle Germany, Elle Decor UK, Fast Company, Food Illustrated, Food & Wine, Forbes, Freixenet, Gourmet, GQ UK, Harper Collins, Harper’s Bazaar USA, London Sunday Telegraph, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Madame Figaro, Madame Figaro Japan, Neiman Marcus, Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy USA, Ritz-Carlton, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Taste Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, The World Financial Center, Town & Country, Travel & Leisure, W.

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His works have been selected and published in several annual competition books, such as The AOI, American Illutration, Lürzer’s Archive, Communication Arts, D&AD, Premis Junceda, Premis Laus, The Art Directors Club of Europe and SND. His illustrations have also been published in the books Illustration Now from Taschen publishers and 200 Best Illustrators from Lürzer’s Archive.

More about JOSE LUIS MERINO at: Profile / Website / Facebook / Flickr

Represented by Kate Larkworthy Artist Representation

http://www.larkworthy.com

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How did you get into illustration?

When I was 20 I started working at an advertising agency where I used to do the sketches, once they were approved, the artwork was commissioned to external illustrators. I learned a lot practicing different styles. In the 90s I began to publish in some Spanish and French newspapers and magazines. But when I really started feeling as an illustrator was after a trip to NYC where I met Kate Larkworthy and she started to represent me. I started to work for clients and countries I’d never dreamed before.

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What other types of jobs have you had?

I do graphic design as well and two years ago I started learning to do bespoke shoes. I hope to be a good shoemaker in the future.

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© Beatriz Schulze

Did you like working in advertising agencies? Why/Why Not?

I started working in advertising agencies and I liked it. It’s a good exercise, works are always different and you have to make decisions so quickly.

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What do you teach? What are the pros and cons of teaching?

I teach illustration in some High Schools, and I love it because sometimes you can learn a lot from your students, but teaching is so intense, I can’t do it many months in a year.

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As we move from print to digital how do you think illustration will evolve?

In the economic sense I’m not sure yet, but I think editorial industry needs to change its mind. In electronic devices we have to forget the tracitional paper print limitations. The idea of double page spread doesn’t make sense in digital, as well as the static illustrations. Illustration now could be something closer to animation or something interactive.

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What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?

Any project that makes me feel stimulated in any way. If the art direction and design is so good, If it’s for a publication or a client I love, if it’s a project that forces me to find any good idea…

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How would you like your work to be used in the future?

I’d love to do more magazine or newspaper covers, and more advertising.

Is your work more conceptual or decorative?

Maybe it’s half and half. It depends on the client. Some clients don’t need a conceptual work, but when I do something more conceptual I love to be decorative as well.

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Why did you choose to have an art rep?

Yes, it is the better way for me to find more interesting clients, and I’m not good calculating budgets and negotiating.

Please describe a typical day?

I start a day going to a gym, I arrive to my studio not very early, check the e-mail and Facebook and start working slowly. I’ve been always more productive in the afternoon. I usually work until late.

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What is your working environment like?

I’ve had several studios and I’m so sensitive about the environment. I need to feel as if I were at home. A lot of books, wood, warm light, good music…

Do you meet up with other illustrators in person? Who?

Barcelona is not a big city and I’m working for almost 30 years, everybody knows each other here. And I also know some of my mates in Kate Larkworthy Artist Representation.

Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?

I love 50s illustrators in general, but specially Ben Shahn, David Stone Martin, the first Warhol illustration works, Jim Flora, René Gruau, the U.P.A. cartoonists, Miroslav Sasek…

Describe your creative process?

After reading the text or listening the client I start doing quick roughs with pencil on paper looking for the idea. Sometime just knowing the subjet, the idea comes instantly, sometimes not. After I do a very precise sketch by pencil to send to the client and once it’s approved I start the illustration with black ink and brush. The rest of the proccess is digital.

What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?

The most stimulating has been to start learning to do bespoke shoes two years ago. Handicraft work again, use tools…

What was the best advice given to you as an illustrator?

Don’t start drawing if you don’t have an idea.

Top 5 favorite things in life.

Peace in all senses, music, the beach, nonstop weekend films sessions or good TV serials or books lying on the sofa, love and be loved,

Top 5 bands/singers.

Only 5? Not easy because I love music a lot, but I’ll try. Bowie, New Order, and new ones as Apparat, Hot Chip, Junior Boys, The XX… oops, I said 6.

Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?

I’ll suggest 3 friends, Arnal Ballester, Flavio Morais and Patrick Thomas.

Interview with Emiliano Ponzi

Posted by Nate Williams

Emiliano Ponzi’s bold, textured illustrations employ repetition, a judicious use of line, and strong graphic compositions to define and communicate the concept at hand. His illustrations have appeared in advertising, magazines, books, newspapers and animations. His clients include The New York Times, Le Monde, Time, The Economist, Newsweek, United Airlines, Penguin books, Saatchi&Saatchi New York, and in Italy: La Repubblica, Feltrinelli, Il Sole 24 Ore, Mondadori,Triennale Design Museum. Emiliano has received numerous honors including the coveted Young Guns Award from the the New York’s Art Directors Club, medals of honor from Society of Illustrators New York, Society of Illustrators Los Angeles and 3×3′s Magazine Pro show. He has also received awards of excellence from Print, How International Design Awards, Communication Arts Illustration Annuals, and American Illustration Annuals.

How did you get into illustration?

Well, it sounds funny now, but I became an illustrator because I didn’t get into the university (science of communication) I wanted to attend. My other talent was drawing, so I decided to attend a private Illustration university instead. This university was the only art school I knew of! It was the 90s and the internet was not so developed. One of my cousins went there and that was enough for me to take my bags and move to Milan. Sometimes life has its way of setting you on the path you’re meant to be on.

What other types of jobs have you had?

Once I was a model for a print ad of a very well known brand…of shoes, so just my feet were under the lights. 

As we move from print to digital how do you think illustration will evolve?

I think the future will be very different. Drawings will stand up from paper and cross through to digital devices. According to John Maeda, we need to match synthesis and complexity. Illustrations will be more of a concentration of the senses, a clever thing in the moment that captures the eye, less didactic and more emotional. We can already see it in some of the books designed for the iPad. The static concept of illustration probably won’t be enough in 10-15 years. In Italian, the etymology of the word “ilustrazione” says this, (“azione” means action). Illustration is about showing an action and making it clear.

What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?

There are so many… I guess all the projects where the people involved know what they want, and there is a smart and positive exchange of views.

Your work is very conceptual, what do you like about conceptual illustration?

I like that first of all it’s a mind job, a mind exercise. The style, colors and shapes come after the idea. The core of this approach is that synapses have the biggest role rather that the ability to simulate a realistic face color or landscape shape. Technique is just important as style but what comes first is a solid vision, a spark that is being built by rational thought.

How do you come up with your ideas?

Every object has a name and a natural environment, and every good idea comes up for me when I’m able to break that relationship and make an object work in another environment. I mean, how far can an apple go from its tree? Could it be a face? Or maybe a bomb? These are the questions I ask myself when I start a new job.

Do you ever do work that decorative?

I guess my work is anti-decorative. My aim is to communicate a concept with the fewest elements possible. The minimum number of items in the illustration means to me that the goal is being reached.

Please tell us about your new book 10×10? What’s it about? Why the name? etc

10×10 is my first monograph. It’s a chronicle of my life and job: 10mq was the size of my first room in Milan where I started my career, the other 10 refers to the number of years it’s been since I started my career as illustrator. It contains over 60 images that I created for international clients and also original emails from art directors, friends, and other people I was lucky to be in contact with. It shows how relationships can develop, how they can be constructive, frustrating or sometimes ironic.

Nicholas Blechman from the New York Times signed the introduction to the book, and it was a great honour especially when he refers to my style as “being universal without being generic”. The volume is being published by a great Italian editor, Corraini, and it’s being sold in art museums and design bookstores around the world.

Please describe a typical day?

Alarm clock between 7 and 8am
Start working between 8 and 8:30
Lunch from 1 to 2
From 2 to 2:30 am I usually play with some apps or look at stuff on the web
From 2:30 till 8/9 pm I work
Then dinner with girlfriend plus a movie
Sometimes I have some work to finish even after dinner
Finally I jump on the bed and fall asleep with a book in my hand

What is your working environment like?

I’m actually working in 2 cities, 3 days in one and the other 2 in another, but I have to say that my 2 desks look quite similar: laptop, tablet, a bunch of empty coffee cups, books, unsigned contracts, old piles of paper, magazines, stuff that I have gathered over the years but that I should probably throw away to make a bit of room.

Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?

I do not have a list of favourites, but I guess the images that inspire me the most I encountered first during my formation at school. I also come across new work in my everyday life by looking on the web or discovering unknown illustrators in a book.

What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?

I learned 3 things in the last year. The first one is that forgetting our limits is the best way to surpass them. When I’m working on a tight deadline, I can’t waste time thinking about what I can and can’t do. This is when I produce the best work, when I am able to ignore and overcome the limits I’ve placed on myself.

The second thing I learned is that the perfect idea doesn’t exist. The concept of “perfection” itself doesn’t belong to this world, so all we can do is try our best hoping it will be enough.

The last thing is that my allergy to cat hair has probably disappeared since I’m living with my girlfriend’s cat and… so far so good.

Top 5 favorite things in life

  • the rest after work
  • going far from home to come back
  • Chinese food
  • “the catcher in the rye”
  • espresso

Top 5 bands/singers

  • the Clash
  • Edith Piaf
  • I tre allegri ragazzi morti
  • Queen
  • Beastie Boys

Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?

I suggest 3 young illustrators:

Links

www.emilianoponzi.com
www.magnetreps.com

Interview with CHRIS ARRAN

Posted by Nate Williams

Chris Arran has been creating illustration for a wide variety of media for many years now. He studied illustration at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, his tutor being the legendary children’s book illustrator Tony Ross. Having left University he then moved to live and work in Munich, working exclusively in 3D for clients such as MTV, Swatch & Cosmopolitan etc. Upon his return to the UK in 2002 he decided to get back to basics and start drawing again and re-launch his career using a totally different media. Since 2008 he’s been working with paint and collage.

Please describe a typical day?

Up at 6 am and listen to the radio, start working out how I am going to split my day up, wait for my family to wake up and then it’s all hands on deck preparing breakfast and getting everyone ready. I work best in the morning so after an intensive burst of work I will pop into town with my three year old son or go to music and movement where we will both sing songs and pretend we are tree’s in the wind. Back for lunch & email check, then back at my easel or computer in my studio. Last week I did a job for Canadian Elle and worked two, 22 hour days. Its fair to say that sometimes illustration can be pretty intensive. I am also an associate lecturer in illustration at Southampton Solent University. It’s a very exiting course with a brand new studio and facilities to die for.

What is your working environment like?

I have a studio near to my home and so its rather nice because I can spend a lot of time with my wife and children and sneak back to my work at any time. The studio is a great industrial building full of stuff. People store all kinds of things there. Its run by a theatre prop maker so there’s always something interesting to look at. I share the space with a couple of really good artists.

How did you get into illustration?

After Art Foundation studies I didn’t want to do fine art or graphic design. Now there are many forms of communication media you can study but then there were maybe 4 or 5. Illustration seemed like a happy medium to me and it turned out to be a life altering decision.

You use lots of different mediums and styles in your work. Do you think it’s important for an illustrator to have “a style”?

Yes and No. Yes because it can make their portfolio more consistent and not as if they’re jumping about from style to style. 

No, because illustration comes in many forms and variety is the spice of life. Most illustrator’s website showcase a variety media they work in alongside their main portfolio.

I have a distinct style in each medium I work in  and whether it’s 3D, digital or paint there are certain techniques and uses of colour or imagery which are common throughout my portfolio.

Can you tell us why you think experimentation is so important?

Illustration never stands still and fashions change as does technology. It’s easy to get into a formulaic way of working and all of a sudden you can find that you no longer love doing what you do best or perhaps what you do goes out of fashion never to return.. Constant experimentation enables you to become more flexible with your skill base and ways of seeing and expressing yourself so that your work constantly develops and remains relevant.

What creative endeavors are you involved in outside of illustration?

I am an associate lecturer at Southampton Solent University which has a first class illustration Degree course.

What do you like about motion design?

The ability to combine real footage with illustration based motion graphics.

What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?

When the clients brief is similar to the kinds of briefs I set myself every week. Because I know I can then bring to the job the experimentation that I have been working on at that time.

Do you have an art rep? Why or why not?

“Colagene” They rep me in UK, USA, Germany, Spain & Canada. They have a fantastic group of artists of which I am very proud to be associated with. Why because they find interesting clients for me to work with from all over the world, negotiate the fee and all I have to do is create the artwork.

Who / What are some of your influences and inspirations?

Robert Rauchenburg, Peter Blake, David Hockney & Jasper Johns

What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?

When you have a 3 year old constantly asking you questions such as “Why is the sea salty”? then you learn lots of stuff rather quickly. The answer well…Its because of all the minerals that have over millions of years leached into the sea via rain fall, rivers and the mineral deposits in the sea bed that make up the Ocean floor. ( I think..)

Top 5 favorite things in life

family, creating artwork, teaching, playing football and cricket

Top 5 bands/singers

I have a collection of records from charity shops which I buy cheap (£1) and see if they are any good. My favourites are. Jonny Doreli (italian crooner), Los Paraguios  (Paraguayan harp playing crooners). Joni Mitchel (Legend) Neil Young (Legend) and Triny Lopez (Lonesome cowboy crooner).

Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?

More about CHRIS ARRAN at: Profile / Website