‘ I was originally intending to go into biochemistry & horticulture'
Describe your work in one sentence.
Retro tinged illustration & detailed character filled landscapes .
What's the most important thing you've learnt in your line of work?
It's important to indulge your personal interests in your work & create your own unique voice, as that is what will set you apart from everyone else. Then market it extensively as you may be the best designer/illustrator in the world, but if no one sees your work, you won't get commissioned. It's very important to get out there and get seen by as many people as possible, & never be afraid to show people your work.
What attracted you to your chosen field?
It doesn't get much better than getting to be creative & draw everyday for a living.
Tell us about your best project to date.
I've had an on going relationship with Top Gear that started with commissions for Top Gear magazine in the mid 2000's. In 2008 they asked me to create an “unrealistic cartoon simulation” of the Top Gear studio for the Big Book of Top Gear 2009. From that piece it got them thinking that we could expand the style in to a whole book. So the idea of Where's Stig? was born, which is essentially a Where's Wally/Waldo? spoof involving The Stig, Top Gear's tame racing driver. You have to find him in various scenes based on & inspired by episodes from the show, like the Vietnam & Botswana specials. It was great getting in all the geeky things & stunts they've undertaken, giving the show's fans all the in jokes. It's a huge commitment working on a book of this size. With the extensive research & the amount of detail I need to draw they take a solid six to seven months work to complete. Where's Stig? has been hugely successful, selling around 350,000 copies to date & was the 4th bestselling hardback non fiction book of 2009. In September 2010 we released a sequel Where's Stig? The World Tour.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
I think my work appeals because it is versatile, lively & entertaining, as being able to put across ideas & inform an audience.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I never planned on pursuing art as a career as I was originally intending to go into biochemistry & horticulture.
If you could work on any project for any company/organisation, what would it be and who would it be for?
A few years ago I worked on a huge 2m x5m interactive installation for the Lightbox Museum & Gallery in Woking, UK & I'd love to work on further public projects at that scale & involvement as I enjoy the challenge of working at a large size. A whole building wrap would be pretty fun to do too.
What's your favourite bit of kit?
I love my Wacom Cintiq screen graphics tablet. It's much more intuitive to draw direct on the screen & greatly helps with my workflow.
What frustrates you the most about your job?
One of my least favourite things is dealing with unreasonable contracts & copyright grabs from some clients.
What pearl of wisdom can you offer to someone thinking about starting out in your industry?
Join the Association of Illustrators. If you need advice on pricing commissions, contracts, copyright, promotion, etc, it really pays to get help from the experts. They're also constantly campaigning to protect all illustrators' rights, and as the only body to represent illustrators and campaign for their rights in the UK, the AOI has successfully increased the standing of illustration as a profession.
If you could have ONE super power, what would it be?
Like Dr Manhattan from Watchmen, it would be cool to be able to split into multiple versions of me to share my workload!
What do you like about Creativepool?
Seems to be a good place to find professional creatives & job opportunities
What's your favourite song of all time?
That's probably the most difficult question you've asked! Today maybe it's Three Days by Jane's Addiction, Voodo Chile (Slight Return) by Jimi Hendrix, or Solid Air by John Martyn. Ask me tomorrow, I'll probably say something completely different.
And finally, what can a prospective customer expect from you?
Ideas, creativity, professionalism & dedication, to give the client great work that goes that little bit further. If you would like to step into the Creativepool Spotlight, email through some examples of your work