Inspiration

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Exploring the freedom of digital with illustrator Sayers Design

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Patrick Sayers still remembers the times in which his work were carried out on canvas, with oil, paint, brushes and such analogue tools. Looking back, Patrick hasn't touched pen and ink for the past 10 years.

His illustrations all carry a certain feel, tone and style. We're not quite sure what it is, perhaps something in his colour palettes – but one thing is for certain: Patrick's works are stunning, and some we just can't stop looking at. There's a reason his Madama Butterfly poster (further below) was shortlisted for the Annual 2020 awards.

For this Company Spotlight we are learning more about the path that led Patrick to found his own freelance business – Sayers Design.

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How did you get into the industry?

I originally studied to be a mechanical engineer. After working for a while as an engineer, I changed course and studied to be a designer and illustrator. Upon graduating I have worked for several firms before setting up my own shop. 

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I have my own company now, Sayers Design, located in Toronto. I started my company after the design firm I was employed by shut down. At the moment, ( Covid-19 issues ) I have only one client still functioning. They are a software company.

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If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I have always loved physics. The idea of being a physics professor / researcher still has appeal!

Failing that, becoming a rockstar. Unfortunately I can't sing worth a damn.

Can you explain your creative process?

In the beginning of any process you need to understand what has been created by your competitors, what ideas are prevalent in the industry, what your client "brings to the table" and how to differentiate your client from the competition. Then add in a little sweat and inspiration as you create your concepts.

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How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

When I began in the industry I used paints, oils, pastels, pen and ink to create all of my illustrations, and designs. I haven't used any of these items for the past 10 years. Everything I produce now is digital. While I miss some of the analog-feel of my old work the digital process has freed me to explore concepts that would have been difficult using the old method.

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What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

I have always been a curious person. I am always on the search for new and exciting ideas.

This is my default position. 

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

This question is similar to "who do you love more, your father or your mother?" I have had the opportunity to create some excellent work over the years, it is difficult to single out one project. Let's summarize by saying my last piece of work made me the most proud - until I do another piece of course. Then that piece will become my favourite.

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How do you recharge away from the office?

Actually, I work at my home. Exercising, conversations with friends, documentaries on science, physics and card games help me through the night. And music, lots of music!

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

In all of your work have a central idea or concept. Pretty work is just that, pretty with no substance. All good, prospective clients search for designers who can think as well as be creative. Clients who just expect you to do what you are told and not to think, are likely not worth your time.

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What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?

Standardising design costs and processes throughout the industry. When a person requires a designer there will be a minimum cost and process that must be followed - similar to lawyers. And most importantly, not anyone can be a designer or illustrator. You must pass the "bar" before you are allowed to call yourself a designer or illustrator. I sorry if this last statement seems a little fascist but there is so much terrible work out there. We can do better.

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If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

Slow down a little? Sadly the opposite will probably happen, things will continue to speed up!

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