Interviews with creative people

A few months ago a talented Year 12 student contacted me to ask if I'd be happy to be involved in her Media project; a book showcasing a collection of local creative people in their workspace. She recently sent me copy of her final printed book and I was really impressed with her work. Here is my contribution:

How did you get into the creative field? As a student at school I knew from a really young age that I wanted to pursue a creative career. After completing Year 12 I was accepted into the Graphic Design course at La Trobe University in Bendigo. I completed my undergraduate degree there in 2005, then went on to complete an Honours degree in design. During my Honours year I focused on the creation and design of children’s picture books. After successfully completing my first picture book I then commenced a Masters degree in design in 2007. I finished my MA at the end of 2008 and during my Masters I completed two picture books and a research thesis. While I was studying as a student I also started working as a freelance designer for a few clients. I really enjoyed this type of work and I’ve continued working for the client base I’ve established.

How would you describe your works? I do a really broad range of work, from corporate design to creative illustration work. As a creative person, its often the less creative work that brings an income... Then I get to sink my teeth into my own creative projects after hours!
At the moment I’m teaching VCE Visual Communication & Design, and I’m also a Publications & Promotions Officer at Galen College in Wangaratta. My job as a Publications Officer means that I get to use my design skills to enhance publications, branding, advertising, marketing and the corporate image of the school. I’ve really enjoyed this job so far as it has allowed me to build new skills, and each day seems to bring a new challenge.
In terms of freelance design, I complete a variety of different projects. Recently I’ve been developing style guides for a regional bank, working on wine and beer labels, and developing logos and stationery for different businesses.
Sometimes I find that that all of the corporate work I do saps my creativity, so I’ve recently been experimenting with little illustration projects where I mix traditional and contemporary processes. So basically I manipulate hand-drawn artwork with computer software. I find that its really important that I work on my own creative projects as it replenishes my creative spirit! 

When do you feel most inspired? I often feel most inspired to be creative when I’ve had my hands tied for too long on boring corporate jobs! I love visiting art galleries and seeing the work of other creative people. After seeing a cool exhibition I generally feel inspired to go and start a new project. I’m also a bit of a ‘night owl’, so I often seem to end up working on my own creative work late at night.

What artists/designers/creators do you admire? And why?
 One of my all time favorite artists is M.C. Escher. I’ve always admired his work and while he is an amazing artist, he is an equally brilliant designer. I love the detail in his monochrome etchings and the way he morphs and warps perspective. At a glance his works look realistic, but upon closer inspection they really distort reality.

What’s your favorite project you’ve done and why? One of my favorite projects would be my most recent picture book, ‘The Box Boy’. The story is about a boy who loves to collect things, especially boxes, and he turns the boxes he collects into amazing creations. To a certain degree the character in the story is a lot like me. I’ve always been a bit of a bit of a ‘collector’ (my family would probably say ‘hoarder’) and I love being creative, just like the boy in the story. While I was working on The Box Boy, I also developed a really distinctive creative style, where I mix traditional and contemporary illustration and design processes. I feel really proud of the story I wrote for the book and the illustrations that accompany it. 

How long do you usually spend on each project? In total, I spent about 9-10 months working on The Box Box while I was doing my Masters at Uni. This is a typical time-frame for a children’s picture book, they seem to take forever! When I’m working on paid, corporate design jobs, a project will generally take between 2-5 weeks. The time I spend on a project often varies according to the client I’m working for. Sometimes a client will know exactly what they want, and other times I have to develop several potential designs to give my client a choice about how the finished job will look.

What design process, if any, do you go through when creating works?
 I generally start a project by having a short meeting with a client, where I try and determine exactly what they want. After that I’ll go away and make a few rough sketches before working those roughs into finished designs on a computer. After I’ve developed some ideas I’m happy with, I email them through to my client and wait for their feedback. If its something like a logo that I’ve been working on that needs to go onto a business card, I’ll do about two more revisions before I send the job to the printers.

What are you working on right now?
 Recently, my time has been devoted to the Publications job I do at the school and freelance design work. However, after hours I’ve been working on several of my own illustration pieces. I’ve been trialing lots of different illustration techniques and have been developing my digital illustration skills. ...I feel like I’m ready to start on a new book project!