What are the most and least enjoyable aspects of your job?
Being a designer or illustrator means running your own business, which also means completing all of the non-creative tasks, from invoicing, chasing payments, VAT, take returns and keeping on top of emails. I dream of devoting all of my time to creative tasks while someone else takes care of selling and sourcing my work, answering emails, doing the finances. I need a non-creative business partner!
It can be difficult to get the balance right between work and life. I have probably missed the occasional birthday party (including my own) or event due to being stuck at work, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t love my job. I thrive off working to a tight deadline; there’s a certain energy that comes with urgency. Art is about doing, and having the confidence to put your work out there with no time to procrastinate or change your mind. That’s the only option when you are on deadline.
The flip side of that is knowing when not to try and squeeze creativity out of your brain when there is none! I have walked into the studio on non-busy days, stayed 10 minutes and walked out again, knowing I’d be better off doing something else or looking for inspiration elsewhere.
What has been the most exciting project of the last twelve months?
The visual identity for the Tate Kids website I worked on at the start of the year was a great project. I worked with Kathryn Box from the Tate’s digital team and with a great developer called Rebekah Ford. The parameters of the brief were so wide, and it took a lot of thought to work out how to create artwork with such a defined subject that also had mass appeal across a wide age range. I had to strip everything down and create a plethora of assets, which turned into backgrounds, colour palettes, GIFs and animations.
What skills are essential to your job?
The success of a project is often measured by its effectiveness and ability to connect with an audience. I think you also have to take into account the creative process and the final artwork. This comes through confidence in your ability and conviction in your ideas, so sometimes it’s good to stand your ground. Being personable always helps – no one wants to work with a prima donna!