Jonathan Woodward – 7 Design Questions Interview
1. How much time do you dedicate to learning design every day?
I don’t dedicate specific time for learning each day (with client work and a one year old daughter, there just isn’t enough time) but I think every new job is a learning experience. Whether it’s researching an industry for a new branding project or Googling reference images of a specific bird to work out the best way of representing their feathers in my collage illustration style, it’s all visual problem solving and constant learning.
2. What other designers do you have contact with on a regular basis?
As we’re Location Independent and move around so much, I don’t really know any other illustrators in everyday offline life but that’s why the internet is so great. Using social networking sites like Twitter is like having a great bunch of like minded people that share your passion for design and illustration right next door.
zero2illo the site I set up for aspiring illustrators wanting to turn pro has also allowed me to make many great connections with fellow illustrators too. Even more so since I added a forum to the site when I launched the zero2illo 12 Week Challenge project as we have a growing community of passionate, talented illustrators who are always willing to lend a hand to other community members whether it’s a critique for another members work or just a few encouraging words and a chat from time to time.
3. Who are the top 2-3 designers that you respect and why?
I think Dave McKean is probably one of the most creative people on the planet. Seeing his work at University was what made me want to be an illustrator. He just seems to be able to master any medium he turns his hand to whether that be illustration, writing, film making or music and he can pretty much draw the pants off anyone.
James Jean is another pioneer that does things his own way with a unique and beautiful illustration voice. From his covers for the Fables comics (that looked like nothing else around at the time) to his self initiated projects like his Process Recess series of sketchbooks, he’s leading the way in showing what is possible for artists wanting to make a living from their work. His design sensibility, attention to detail and sheer drive is an inspiration.
Not only is James Gurney a master of his craft, responsible for the superbly written and lavishly illustrated Dinotopia books, he is a walking encyclopedia of art history and technique. He is also extremely generous with his time sharing his vast knowledge through his blog, presenting the information in his own unique (and often laugh out loud) manner. Another great voice in contemporary illustration.
4. What’s your favorite website or design you ever made and why?
Although not necessarily my favourite ever illustration, the most important illustration I’ve made so far is probably ‘One For Sorrow, Two For Joy’ as it was the first time I tried working in the traditional collage medium I work in today. It was from this point that I began to organically find my illustration style and voice after years of trying to force it based on influences from my favourite illustrators.
5. Have you ever been published in a book or magazine? What books or magazines?
I had my first ever published work in an illustration source book called ‘The Big Book Of Contemporary Illustration’ last year (2009). It was very exciting as the opportunity came at just the right time too as my current collage style was just emerging and this was a chance to get it out there in print.
The author found my work through my participation in Penelope Dullaghan’s amazing Illustration Friday project, so it was also a good lesson on the importance of taking part in projects like this as you never know who is looking.
6. What’s your favorite color in hexadecimal? How often do you find yourself leaning towards it with design projects?
I don’t have a favourite colour as such as my collages are made from magazine clippings (usually fashion magazines) where texture is just as important as colour to me in the choices that I make when working on an illustration.
7. What’s your most recent project we can look at?
The most recent illustration that I completed is the 5th bird in a self initiated series I’m working on called ’12 English Birds’ and was ‘The Puffin’. It was also a special piece as it was the first time that I created one of my collages digitally using Photoshop as my scissors and glue.
I’ve always purposely stayed away from digital as whenever I’ve tried it in the past it made me lazy and less creative with the textures and clippings I was choosing due to it being too easy to manipulate things in Photoshop. This time however, I forced myself to use only what was available in the scanned magazine pages and literally use Photoshop solely as my scissors and glue.
The only thing I miss about this new way of working digitally though is having an original piece of work that I can physically hold in my hands, but the greater efficiency in workflow going digital makes it worth while.
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