Let me introduce you to another fellow from the Twitter society, who recently followed myself. One of the things he has taken from Twitter, is his observation of the amount of illustrators 'declaring their love for caffeine and cute animals in their Twitter bio's'. In his current project he will 'attempt to uncover the mystery by drawing tea, kitten's and some of the random things these illustrators claim to love...' Read more about his project here: I LOVE KITTENS & TEA
This month's spotlight goes to Matthew Spencer
Matthew Spencer above (Image courtesy of Matthew)
What was it that made you become interested in illustration?
I was attracted to the way illustrators communicate things in such simple and exciting ways. Most people can look at an illustration and understand it, its more inclusive than fine art.
At what point in your illustration career did you start to define your 'style'? or do you think you don't have a certain 'style'?
In my work at the moment I am using bright backgrounds and trying not to use thick black lines around the edges of anything, but I'm not sure if that has become part of my 'style'. Its something that is constantly evolving and being redefined all the time. I don't think I will keep one certain style forever because that will become boring very quickly.
What has been the highlight of your illustration career so far?
My career has been short. I've just left university, but I've been having a great experience in these early days. I guess the moment that has excited me the most was getting my first dollars from selling work online. I've never had a 'real' job so generating some cash felt like a big achievement for me. It's really great to know that you're creating stuff that people want to have on a tshirt or iphone case and that they want your illustrations in their life. Its a small thing but it means a lot.
What is your favourite tool to work with/in?
I used to enjoy working with pastels and charcoal but at the moment I'm using Illustrator for everything and working digitally. I don't have much patience for erasing, tracing, re-drawing or scanning things so I feel a lot more comfortable using a computer than a pen. I used to draw by hand and colour with Photoshop but the results were messy and I never perfected very clean line art. So I switched to drawing using vector shapes and building up an image that way, and I love it.
Above: 'RETRO LOVE: GAMEBOY' (Image courtesy of Matthew Spencer)
Is there a certain illustrator etc that you would like to work with? Tell me all...!
I've met so many amazing illustrators recently, but one that sticks out in my mind is the French illustrator Stephane Tartelin. I've loved his work since I saw it in Computer Arts magazine a few years ago. His characters are quirky and dynamic and I really love the slim and beautiful line work. Back when I was at college, and drawing with pen a lot, my illustrations looked quite similar. It was good for me at that point in my life to see a successful illustrator that did things the way I wanted to be doing them. Seeing this guys work made me realize that I wanted to be an illustrator.
Is there an event in your life that has been inspirational to your work?
There was one big event that happened to me when I was younger that I often think I should deal with in some creative way, but I never have. Throughout my education I was always been slightly scared about being too honest and then have to explain something personal to my tutors, classmates or even my family. Maybe now that I am freelancing I will explore some more personal topics. I am generally influenced by life around me and often notice that the things I draw are quite British looking or are in some way related to areas in London that I hang out in. I also used to look at hundreds of blogs and websites for'inspiration', but all you end up doing is seeing other peoples ideas. I think its healthier to be inspired by the world around you rather than by other peoples worlds.
Above: 'HUNGRY KITTENS' (Image courtesy of Matthew Spencer)
What colour crayon would you be and why?
I would be the white crayon. I feel its the most neglected of all the crayons. Its hardly ever used and then when it is, it turns dirty grey coloured and is even more useless! (I'm not sure what that says about me...)
Last but not least, pen or pencil? and why !
I'm left handed and can't use either without making a huge smudgy mess, but I think I prefer a pencil.