Monday, 20 March 2017

5 Minutes with... NEW ARTIST Neil Clark

Today we're very excited to be catching up with our newest PP artist, Neil Clark! From his work with Tigerprint, to his journey into illustration and his advice for aspiring illustrators, let's take five to learn a little more about Neil...

Where do you live/work?

I live in Rodley, on the edge of Leeds, somewhere between the rolling hills and the bustling city. I like the balance. When I'm illustrating greeting cards, I work in the lovely Tigerprint Studio, near Bingley. Otherwise, you'll find me beavering away at home, tucked away in my spare room/studio.

What do you like about working there?

Tigerprint has been great to me over the years. It's inspiring to work in a big studio surrounded by so many like-minded, vibrant creatives. In contrast, when I'm working for myself at home, it's quiet and peaceful. There's something comforting and magical about that alone time - moments to truly get lost and absorbed in your work - and I do get welcome distractions from my cat, Mila.

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

When you’re fully engrossed in the process - I love that moment when something you're working on suddenly sparks and you can't wait for it to all fall into place. And of course, when you see your illustrations on products, in the shops and with happy customers!

How do you work – what are your techniques?

Everything starts life in a sketchbook, or in a layout pad / on the back of an envelope. By sketching I can create a vision, not only amongst the scribbles, but also in my mind - something to aim for I guess. Then it's onto the Mac… I can't imagine life without Illustrator and Photoshop! I guess my technique is often to combine bold vector shapes with hand drawn line, mark making or texture. It depends on the brief though - one job can be very clean and graphic, and the next really inky and messy!

What is your favourite thing to draw and why?

It changes all the time. At the moment its rabbits!

If you had to choose, what would be your favourite character you have created?

I've got to say Rusty the Robot - I love that guy!

What or who are you most inspired by?

Gig posters, books, comics, people watching, travelling, music, so much music, my many  talented friends, and my super talented wife Dalia - she's always bursting with creativity which is infectious!

Do you have a favourite illustrator?

Such a hard question! At the moment I can't get enough of Chris Sasaki, Ben Newman, Jon Klassen, Robert Hunter, Malika Favre… I could go on and on.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?

I love to skateboard. It's just the best feeling. And I'm in a band. We're called The Razerbills, we wear masks, capes and fezzes and play wild instrumental surf garage!

How did you get into illustration?

I studied Illustration at Manchester Met, it was great, I loved it, but it didn’t prepare me for the working world! I spent months struggling for work, and getting rejections, before Tigerprint gave me a break and I started helping out in their studio. Since then I’ve spent years learning about commercial design, building skills, building contacts, and generally putting in the hard graft.

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?

No matter how many knock-backs, be confident in your abilities… it’ll show in your work.  Don’t stop learning new skills – it’s what keeps things exciting. 
And like that poster says… Don’t be a dick, just be nice, it’s that easy. Haha.

What were your favourite books when you were younger?

The books that jump to mind are The Jolly Postman, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and those Usborne Books of Monsters and UFO’s.

What was the last book you read? What did you think? 

It was The Bear & the Piano by David Litchfield. I got a signed copy when I visited the Seven Stories Children’s Book Centre in Newcastle. An amazing place, and an amazing book – I love it! The last adult book I read was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I just love his style. I must admit, I’m not a huge reader of novels, but his use of words is amazing. I’d recommend any of his books for some beautifully written magic realism.

What are your aspirations for the rest of 2017?

I can see it being a busy one! I want to get as many pieces of work out there in the world for people to enjoy as i can. There’s a few projects on the go already that I’m excited about.

What’s your ultimate dream?

To stay happy and creative I guess. To create characters and illustrations that travel far and wide! Getting some more children’s books under my belt would be amazing. For children to look back in years to come, with fond memories of my illustrations, would be a dream come true!

We really hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Neil! We're so excited to have him with us at PP, and if you want to see more of his amazing work, head to Neil's PP folio page here!

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