Monday, February 28, 2011

The Illustrator Questionnaire - Cameron Steward (two ducks disco)

Can you describe the processes you go through when working on an illustration commission from start to finish?

In the case of working for a band whether it be a poster design, CD packaging, logo, etc. I always have to listen to their music to try and figure out what I would consider their aesthetic to be. Most of the time it can be quite safe to illustrate for a band. For example; designing for a folk band the classic design elements would consist of a woodland setting, cute subtle animal silhouettes with the focus on an owl perched in a tree. I have always wanted to make a more unique connection with a band’s music through the artwork which represents them. I think it’s also important to me that I push myself creatively, as this allows me to produce a suitable and perhaps unexpected piece of art for the band.

Which illustrations do you enjoy the most, and which are most beneficial to you (if these aren't the same)?

The illustrations I enjoy the most are the poster designs I create. Here I generally have free-reign to create whatever I feel is necessary to the task in hand. I enjoy particularly creating new textures with which to work with. I’ve never used Photoshop plug-ins for brushes because they always feel too unnatural. I create textures through scanning in pieces of paper, or manipulating photographs I’ve taken to create original textures and distressed effects, which can be added to a design.

How would you compare your work to that of other modern illustrators and animators in the same league as yourself?

I hope to think that I have an original style, which can be seen within the illustration realm as being unique and creative. I also like to think that I don’t just have one style that can easily define me upon first inspection. I use a lot of similar elements through out my work, which hopefully people can see and recognise as being mine. But I do think it’s important to have more than one string to your bow, as this gives an illustrator the ability to work across a wider range of clients and create an interesting and varied portfolio.

Whose work do you admire within illustration and animation; who or what inspires you from outside your own medium of work (if anyone/thing)? -What first inspired you to follow the route you have taken?

The reason for me becoming an illustrator is my admiration of the gig poster. It was a scene I was completely unaware of before going to University in 2003. I’d really only ever seen Windows-produced gig flyers, with an abundance of clip art and rainbow gradients throughout the text. Upon arriving in Leeds and seeing the DIY music scene and the flyer art used to promote the shows, I became obsessed with design and illustration in that medium. From there I discovered and a whole other new world opened up for me, with designers and illustrators from all over posting their latest designs. I have followed so many of the designers that I first came across and watched them develop their style and create artwork for a range of clients and bands and it’s been truly inspiring to watch.

From outside of my own medium, I can’t say that I have specific persons who inspire as from trawling the Internet you can come across inspiration in all shapes and sizes. Whether it be a certain photograph you stumble across on google or a short story from a blog, there is inspiration to be found everywhere. And that’s even before I’ve left the house.

What is your favourite style of illustration?

I appreciate all sorts of illustration, especially designers who are able to keep creating something fresh and original within a certain bracket of their craft. I certainly admire wood cut printing and have started coming across it more online recently. I think that’s because I now look to that for some of my inspiration but it’s an amazing technique that is steeped in tradition yet can still be done so originally.

What advice would you give an aspiring illustrator/animator? -In hindsight, would you have done anything differently?

If someone is interested in becoming a designer/illustrator or generally working within the creative arts field, then you’ve got to really want to do it. Especially in the case of a freelance artist, in that you have to push yourself on a daily basis in order to create and work to deadlines. It’s also important to not take criticism too harshly during the early stages of a creative career. It’s these criticisms that need to be observed and taken on board and used in a way in which to develop a style so that an artist can be more comfortable within themselves and their ability.

What do you think of the current state of illustration in this country?

Illustration seems to be in a healthy state as far as I can see. It comes in all shapes and sizes and mediums and it's really going strong within the social realm. I’ve recently moved to Manchester and there seems to be a wealth of creative types here, all getting involved in print-making and exhibitions. It’s really great to be a part of such a scene and to watch it grow and hope that I can become more involved.

How relevant do you think illustration is in art compared with more traditional methods such as sculpture and painting?

I think it’s very relevant, especially with the developments that have been made in technology which have allowed the style to grow at the rate it has. I don’t think it will replace sculpture and painting but there’s no reason that it can’t be as important as.

If you could own one piece of art, what would it be?

The Golden Gate Bridge, haha!

If you could have created one piece of art, which would it be?

I don’t have a piece of art that i’ve desired so much that I wish i’d have created it. Personally my own work what i’m happiest with creating and the satisfaction that I get from completing a piece, which i’m proud of and which has impressed the client.

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