I don’t have to go into too much detail, I think they get it on the most part. They are part of the reason I do what I do, encouraged me in my career from a really young age.
Who do you look like?
A seven year old boy.
Did your education count?
Yes, but perhaps not in the most traditional way. It was more what happened around the learning that counted.
What’s the best mistake you have ever made?
I make too many to notice.
When did you realise that this is what you were good at?
Because I sucked at most other things in comparison.
What rules do you live by?
Hard work, and good behavior.
What makes your day?
A coffee from Kaffeine and a cigarette in the morning while ticking things off an ever-growing to-do list.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An inventor, I didn’t realise it at the time that that is basically what a designer is.
What one thing would you like to be remembered by/for?
What’s your favourite combination?
Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup.
To view the article and my recent guest posts click here.
Work hard but not too hard. Take time off, go on holiday. Don't take your work home, try not to talk about it all the time, develop your hobbies and enjoy your free time.
What do you feel are the most important skills for a designer to have/develop? - julieebui
There are lots of important things you need to develop as a designer.
Know your software, and fill the gaps in your knowledge when you need to. As a designer you need to have a good grasp of the obvious softwares, and you should try and keep up to date. Lots of time spent working in Creative Suite on different projects should be good practice.
Print production and film are the two trickiest areas in my opinion. Preparing a document for print is meticulous and every printers specifications are different. Preparing a video can also have lots of problems with size, format compression etc... In order to help you it might be good to try to collate all the specifications for all the different outcomes and try saving your files and work to make sure you understand the various exports.
You should also focus on explaining and communicating your creative ideas. This will be really important when you start working with clients and you need to discuss projects. Having crits at school and with your peers will prepare you.
There are so many things that are important as a designer, professionally, understanding fees and finance, promoting yourself, I could go on for ages, but those would be my first three most important.
When your work first started to receive an influx of a lot more attention and requests for work, how did you cope with the change in pace and pressure? Did you feel much doubt or panic, or was it an easy progression you'd been waiting for? - Kairos27
Great question Kairos27. I really struggled at first, it was exciting and also quite scary. I was worried that people started to get annoyed hearing my name or seeing my work, and I know over-saturation is the negative side to lots of publicity. No one wants to be old news. After Topshop and Cadbury's I actually left London for a few months and went to NYC to escape the pressure, not from people around me, but that I was putting on myself. I knew that I couldn't keep out doing my self so it was worth taking a step back from it all and having a little break. It was perfect. When I came back to London I started my studio and haven't looked back.
Every so often when it gets too much I just take that much needed time out, and forget about what I think I should be doing, and just enjoy some freedom.
Now I just make sure that I am constantly turning out work in lots of different fields so I can keep the momentum going and keep everyone on their toes. Its great fun to make a music video one week, design a watch the next, then paint a mural, or design an album cover. That freedom and ability to switch between fields is my favorite thing about my job.
When you are drawing, for the fun of it, do you plan out what your going to draw or do you just make stuff up as you go along?
I never really plan it, just sit down in front of a blank page and go for it. I have never really been precious about my drawings, I just think of them as sketches and scraps of paper. That way they don't intimidate me, and I can't mess them up. I make mistakes all the time, but just try and work them back into the picture somehow. That's a great skill to learn as an illustrator, how to hide your mistakes, and make them into happy accidents. I sometimes work in pencil, but I use a light box to trace the pen version so I am starting on a clean sheet rather than drawing on the paper version. Just in case I need to start again, I still have my original sketch to trace from.
That every day at work is different and I am in charge of my own time.
What would you say has been the biggest milestone in your career so far?
Directing my first music video for Simian Mobile Disco meant a lot to me, most people will think it was the Cadbury's campaign, I would say that was a close second.
What would be your advice to budding designers and illustrators?
Work hard, and as much as you can. Think about yourself as an athlete and drawing and designing as your training. You want to be in peak condition to prepare yourself for the commercial and art worlds.
Asked by Rosie Connell
Both, I use Photoshop to tweak my drawings before I bring them into Illustrator. I spend most of my day in Illustrator I do all my tablet drawings and digital colouring using my Wacom Cintiq 21 UX which I use even more than my light box now! I still use Photoshop to apply interesting effects to flatter vector drawings, and for when I am integrating type with photography.
I wouldn't worry too much about style at this time. Just make work, and keep illustrating. You may find you enjoy doing type, pattern or portraits, landscapes, line drawing, digital, work with what you enjoy. I personally am not a literal illustrator, I love working with type, abstract shapes. I often get jobs that push my boundaries, and I may need to draw people or spaces or objects, which I work into my style and adapt to fit what I enjoy doing. Style is dangerous too, it can go in and out of fashion, date quickly etc... the most important thing is that your images have a quirk beyond aesthetic, maybe its humor, naivety, wit, maybe they have layered meaning, or stories hidden in the detail, or maybe they are super simple but execute the concept perfectly. It is these things that make an illustration more than just a picture.
Ask Kate Moross a question....
I do, but not often. If any one wants to apply for an internship please send an email with your CV and portfolio of work in PDF form. I tend to mostly call people in for specific projects so it's best to know your skill base. Plus you need to be able to get to London easily!
Does all your work come through your agent? and what to you think of agency representation as to going solo with it?
When I started my career I found all the work myself. Mostly through my friends and clients recommending me, also from a few press articles I did. I didn't get an agent to get more work per say, but to manage all the work that is coming in.
As advertising jobs become bigger they get more complicated with lots of formats and things that need to be negotiated on and understood. A good agent will be able to deal with these complexities, increase your projects fee's and be a liaison between you and the client. It's a great thing to have if you can find a good one. Breed have been amazing, and I don't know what I would do without them.
I suggest to most people not to get caught up on the agency question, as you can't really apply to be with them, they normally come to you. I would say work hard, pursue work, promote yourself. Make sure you have a good website, and a PDF portfolio you can tailor to clients who want to see work in more detail. I got away with just my website for about 3 years, but I have two portfolio's now with my agency, which travel all over the world.
If you do get approached by an agent there are lots of elements that you need to get right to succeed. Here are five bits of advice.
1. Not too many, not too few.
Some agencies have hundreds of artists signed up, some have just a handful. You don't have to think hard about the advantages or disadvantages of these two scenarios. Having lots of people on the books means they will perhaps spend less time specifically on you, but having a large roster will mean that they have many more job opportunities, even if you have to share the probability of getting that job with 90 other people. Small agencies allow one to one relationships between you and your rep. They may not get the same amount of work through the door, but you have less people to share it with.
2. What are the other artists like?
Make sure they are not too similar! This is very important, a conscientious agency will not sign too many similar people so that you don't have to compete with each other. Oh and I nearly forgot, make sure the vein of work of the other artists IS similar, as in genre. If you are the only illustrator amongst all graphic designers, or photographers, It may be that the agency have less experience in you field, as all of them are different.
3. Where are they based?
Some offices are just based in one territory and this can affect the influx in foreign job opportunities. Some have offices all over the world, but this may or not effect your work influx as certain territories are looking for different things. Look for someone that understands multiple markets so you can get work coming in from every continent. Its a big world out there!
4. Is it exclusive. Will every single job that comes in have to go through your agent? Outline this straight away. Perhaps you have existing clients you work for regularly that you want to keep that way. Discuss all of these details with your agency before you sign with them.
5. Last but not least, do you like the person you are talking to. This person is your representative, they talk to your clients for you, they help you earn your living. The most important thing is to trust your gut reaction, if it feels wrong, it probably is.
Probably my campaign for Cadbury's. At the time I was coming up my Sick Of Nature flyers were what most people recognised as my work. Nowadays I'm not sure what people like as I do so many different types of work in so many formats. Some people know me for my T-shirts others for my music videos, and some just from my drawing.
If you have a quick question, please feel free to use the RED Formspring question box on the right of the blog menu. I will be able to answer these faster, and replies will be posted back to this FAQ as well as to my Formspring account.
- Tailor your questions to the person you are asking them to, research will help make your questions more intimate and provoke a better answer.
- Limit yourself to around 10, some which may require a short fire answer, and others that might ask for a little more commentary.
- Put your personality in your questions, people can tell if you care about their answer. Ask things you are interested in, don't be generic or safe, it's boring!
- Ultimately it should be a conversation, but just in a more formal format. Ask questions that are in multiple parts, but be sure to separate them into individual sections so they don't get overlooked.
- Check Spelling & Grammar! It's not the most important thing in the world, but it shows you care and that you have reread and considered what you are asking.
- Most of all, don't be lazy. Whoever you are about to interview is about to spend their time helping you out with your research. So respect their time, and tailor your questions to suit them, don't make them repeat themselves.