Hello! I moved to Derby in 2006 to study Illustration for Animation at the Uni. The course changed its name to Visual Communication (Animation). I stayed in Derby because there a lot of more creative job opportunities than the little village I came from. I think Derby stimulates my art because it helps ground it in reality. Before moving to Derby I just drew fantasy, film, game and cartoon based work. Since coming to Derby I started making more stuff from real briefs where my art work would be used in a real context. Living in Derby has helped me earn a living through my artwork.
RD: Could you tell us what media you use and try to describe your style for us?
I guess a mix of traditional and digital. I do a lot of pencil, ink and painted work then scan it it to work on digitally. I love using my wacom tablet to digitally paint and colour scanned sketches in Photoshop. Ocassionally I use film and photography for interesting texture effects my illustrations and animations. I switch between styles a lot as a I have terrible attention span and like playing with different media. Comic books, classic children’s illustrations, video games, fantasy novels, impressionist painters, scientific illustration and Japanese popular culture are some of my style influences which you can probably tell.
RD: If you could go a year with using just one form of media, what would it be?
Ooh that would be tortuous! I love mixing media but if I had to...good old pencil and paper.
RD: Are you self taught?
I’ve had a lot of art education but taught myself a lot too. I did GCSE Art and Graphics, A level Fine Art and Product Design, a BTEC in Art & design, a BA (Hons) in Visual Communication (Animation) and I’m currently doing a Masters in Visual Communication (Animation). When it came to learning to draw, style, techniques and using different media, I taught myself. Mostly through trial and error. The animation degree taught me how to use animation software which I would have struggled to learn by myself. I taught myself Photoshop when I was 14 (I had a lot of free time then!). I think a lot of learning in art is through practice and experimentation. The handy thing about art course is they give you time and a setting to do that.
Totally different art wise...I’d like do more large scale fine art style works. Like splashing buckets of paint around a room like Jackson Pollock. Or do a sculpture and painting exhibition on monsters inspired by human body parts, like H.R. Giger, Francis Bacon and Silent Hill style stuff.
Different life wise...I’ve already been skydiving, hiking in Italy, paragliding, sphereing, done a 25k charity walkathon, got a tattoo and my tongue piercing all because I wanted to do something different and challenging. I’d like to go scuba diving...even though I’m a terrible swimmer.
RD: Ha ha, surfings aways good fun as well.
RD: How did you get into animation?
I watched a lot of cartoons and played a lot of video games as a kid. I admired the artwork in them so much I wanted to make cartoons when I grew up. I didn’t actually make an animations before going to uni so I only really go into when I started using the software. I’d still love to work in the entertainment industry but if I were to work in the entertainment industry I’d have to work as part of a studio team and I quite like being able to make animations by myself from the comfort of home.
RD: Carlsberg or Baileys Irish Cream?
Carlsberg! I prefer ciders and beers to licquors and spirits.
RD: Any words of wisdom for a wannabee artist?
Remember you’re doing it because it’s fun! Practice lots and enjoy doing it. Keep an open mind. Don’t be put off trying new things because you’re worried it won’t look good. Always be willing to improve and keep learning. Don’t take criticism too personally, art is subjective and there’ll be some people who like your work and others who don’t. As long as you’re happy with what you’re doing, that’s what matters.
RD: Wise words there Mair, thanks for your time and "all the best" from all of us here.