Illustrator, Designer, Musician, Record Collector, Surfer, Dad
WHAT INITIALLY DREW YOU TO JAZZ MUSIC AND ILLUSTRATION?
I’ve been collecting LPs and 45s for years, so the music I’ve always been into. I was introduced to jazz through a piano teacher when I was younger, but I’ve always loved old 50s and 60s music - rhythm ’n’ blues, soul, doo-wop etc. A lot of the aesthetics from that era too (album covers, print material, modernist art, and so on), which might be what drew me to illustration. My mum and sister gave me an old guitar for my 15th birthday - all I really wanted was to be able to play a couple of chords, but after a finding a tuition book I got a bit carried away! The illustration I returned to, having studied it at art college. Originally I went into animation, but eventually picked up a Mac, developing a graphic illustration style, working up hand drawn artwork to be supplied for print and web in a digital format.
DESCRIBE YOUR WORKING DAY.
I’m usually in the studio (the attic in our house) by 9am, and need to crack on with things when I’m busy. It helps to work office hours to be able to liaise with clients and my illustration agent, Folio. Things might start with a few diplomatic emails, trying to convince a client to do something a certain way, then the working process begins with a few sketches, working things up into the final illustration(s) in whatever medium. Plenty of breaks for tea and biscuits (necessary sustenance), and lunch, trying not to be distracted by the guitars and records sitting around at home, and that thing called the internet, that happens to be easily accessible from your work station. In the quieter months I like to work on self initiated projects, both art and music / recording projects (the latest of which is The Mighty Sceptres on Ubiquity Records / themightysceptres.com).
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
Procrastinating! Not really (well, a little bit), but the flexibility of being self employed means I can take time out to be with my family (our son Ernie is 2, and is soon to be joined by another sibling); or time out for music, or a sneaky surf locally if the conditions are worth it. The work can be very rewarding, and I believe in working to live, rather than the other way around. Work hard, play hard, and all that...
WHAT LESSONS HAS MAKING MUSIC TAUGHT YOU?
Gratitude. To seize opportunities, realise ambition and fully develop the ideas bouncing around in your head. About economy of movement and sound - less is more. A huge amount of work goes into making an album, from the writing, through to the recording, production, mixing and mastering; which inevitably means collaborating with other musicians, producers and engineers whose input is invaluable to the eventual product. You learn when to fight for an idea or compromise, but most importantly, how to communicate your vision and welcome the input of others, remaining humble and grateful throughout the process.
HOW DO YOU UNWIND AFTER A DAY IN THE STUDIO?
Kiddies tea / bath / bedtime, cooking with a record or the radio on, or sometimes we take it in turns in the summer months to make the most of an evening with a surf on cycle around the point.