Conceptual, Broad, Graphic
I always wanted to have something to do with art but was unsure what that would be until I got to university. Within two months of starting my degree, I switched from fine art to graphic design/illustration, and never looked back.
I try to distil the subject matter/copy down as much as possible - perhaps into a single sentence - which I can then set about finding and combining visual metaphors for. If I can seamlessly introduce secondary or tertiary details of the subject matter without overcrowding or otherwise undermining the main concept, so much the better.
People, Nature, Politics based on sound evidence, well-written/reasoned copy, and good journalism
I don’t have a favourite topic. I love it when a commission comes along that immediately inspires a concept that is completely new, innovative, and interesting, while encapsulating the subject matter in a nutshell. That can happen with any kind of topic you can think of, but usually when the publication or author has put a new, or very personal spin on it. So maybe it’s more the way the topic is handled rather than the topic itself that makes it more or less favourable.
I don’t want to get into particulars, but generally I find it more difficult working for individuals rather than professional art editors/buyers. You’d think individuals would be easier to work for as fewer people are involved in decision-making. However, I’ve found individuals can be too involved with whatever it is (their product/brand/business) that I’m being asked to illustrate, and don’t understand that (oftentimes) the more you try to say with an illustration, the less meaningful it becomes. It’s very disheartening to have a really neat or concise concept destroyed by a bunch of disparate tweaks and additions.
I often work to very tight deadlines and simply have to work digitally these days so I can respond to last minute mods and dimension changes in a timely fashion. I enjoy working in more traditional media when sketching out ideas, or life-drawing.
Practical, unkempt, wooden, detached.
There was a big mobile game I was introduced to by my young son and become very involved with during lockdown (despite being no gamer). I regularly ranked in the top 100 players and had just started making a few gameplay/tutorial YouTube Videos. Unfortunately, the game is Russian owned, so I decided I had to uninstall and quit the game in February, once the invasion of Ukraine began. Making those videos was very creative, and I enjoyed being in complete control of the whole thing. I didn’t advertise the channel at all (as I was still learning how to make decent content), but got some good traction and feedback early on, so it’s a real shame I had to stop before I could really get going.
Paul Nash & Stanley Spencer - I feel like there’s a sense of both universal and very provincial (uniquely English) truth in their art, that coexists beautifully, and is very difficult to pin down or explain.