Monday, December 5, 2011

Interview with Si Clark

Si Clark Interview

11.     How did you first establish contact with a client?
I started working freelance 6 years ago. It's something I went straight into and to be honest, I didn't give it much thought. If I did I might have worried too much about it. I started getting work by looking through various online job sites. I applied for as many jobs as I could and eventually got one. I can't remember what is was, one of my first projects was doing some illustration work for a dentist. He had posted an ad saying that he needed an illustrator/animator which I replied to, sending him links to my website and got the job. So it was all through email, that's pretty much how I conduct almost all of my business.

22.     How are your work habits? How do you go about dealing with your projects, deadlines, and the like?
I normally am working on a number of different projects at any given time. For example at the moment I am working on 1 music video, 2 children's book projects, 1 private illustration, 1 illustration for a fashion magazine, 1 leaflet illustration, 1 web animated cartoon, 2 album covers and small job changing some information on some leaflets. Sometimes it's a little difficult to balance everything but normally each project has very different deadlines and I just sort them into ones that are urgent and ones that are not so urgent. There is also a lot of waiting involved as clients look over various stages and give feedback. So that means you can do the first part of project A and then while you are waiting for feedback you can start projects B and C and so on.
I have a work diary which I try and write down lists for each day and can then easily prioritise which jobs to do first. I find this is a huge help to me and I can structure my day and be very productive. Sometimes it is hard working from home as you can be easily distracted but I seem to do ok.
As I work from home I normally spend the mornings sorting out chores and food shopping and then leave the rest of the afternoon and evening for work. Even though I am quite good at managing my time there have still been many occassions when I have to work all through the night to get work done but I work well under pressure so it's not too much of a problem.

33.     How helpful is your internet presence and website?
My website and internet presence is VITAL. That is one of the most important things to do if you want to become an illustrator or any kind of artist. If you don't know how to build a site or can't afford to pay someone else to do it then just use one of the many free online gallery sites like Deviant Art or GFX Artist or just start a blog. You need something so you can send interested parties to your portfolio. I spent the first few years of being freelance finding as many online galleries as I could and putting as much work on there as I was allowed. At the time it might seem almost pointless as you might not get instant responses but hopefully overtime more and more people will see your work.
Also enter as many competitions as you can, sites like Deviant Art have them all the time. Just do anything to get your work out there, that is the most important thing. It's clich├ęd but you never know who might be looking. I have had countless jobs from random people all over the world that have seen my artwork on one of the many sites it's on and have asked me to do work for them. This happens all of the time.
So you need to put a lot of time and effort in to build up your internet presence but hopefully that will pay off and lots of people will find your work. I'm not that great at it at the moment, I've been meaning to update my website for ages but have been too busy.

44.     I see that you have other skills besides Illustration under your belt. Are there any other skills you have that you feel are helpful or ideal for an illustrator to have?
If you going to be an illustrator then most likely you will be freelance and self employed so will need as much work as you can. Therefore it makes sense to learn some other skills so you can get other kinds of work when illlustration jobs dry up. There are always loads of graphic design and web design jobs out there. I don't know anything about them, my other job is as an animator. My work load is pretty evenly split between both animation and illustration.

55.     Were there any non-art related classes you took in college that you feel have helped/influenced your work?
I wasn’t really aware of any non-art classes at our art college, it wasn’t that big. I spend pretty much all of my time on my artwork so I have very little time for anything else. It’s my job and my hobby.

66.     What sorts of things inspire you and influence your work?
Ideas come from so many things. For example, I am working on a large animation project at the moment which is made up of lots of small shots which I need ideas for. I went out into London for the day and on the tube into the city looking at the buildings gave me an idea. Then later listening to a particular track gave me a new idea. I went to a couple of art exhibitions each of which gave me new ideas and then later when I am trying to get to sleep I have new ideas popping up in my mind. I try and carry a sketchbook with me wherever I go or at the very least a pencil and some paper just so I can scribble down all of the things that come into my head. It might be the colour scheme of a building that sparks off a new idea, or a tiny little area of a painting or a certain technique that inspires some new ideas. They can come from pretty much anything. 

When I have a new project (illustration or animation) normally I get the idea for it almost instantly as I am reading through the brief. On the occasions that this doesn't happen I will start drawing rough ideas until something works. Sometimes I get projects where the right idea just isn't coming into my head. When this happens it's best to re-read the brief and get all of the information in my head. then I go away and do something completely different and trust that while I am doing this my unconscious mind is working away on the problem and then eventually the idea will pop into my conscious mind.

In terms of influence, 1920s German Expressionistic cinema, in particular the film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari had a big influence on my style. Reading Dr Suess books as a kid probably influenced me too. With regards to the texture and darkness of my personal work that has mainly been influenced by personal issues and mental illness.

77.     What do you do when you run out of inspiration?
I sort of answered that question in the previous answer. I just fill my head with information and then go and do something else and hope that my unconscious mind sorts it out which is what normally happens.

88.     Is there anything you wished you knew in school that you know now? What sort of advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
I think I probably would have taken more advantage of the equipment at my college. We had a couple of print making courses but I really should have used the print room in my free time and learn how to screen print as I think this would have been very useful. I highly recommend learning screen printing if you can as it means you can produce your own t-shirts and make your own prints. Obviously I can still do courses now but it's just easier when you're at college because all the equipment is there and there are no extras fees for using them.
When I was at art college I don't think it was made very clear that it is quite hard to start off being freelance. Due to there not really being many full time illustration jobs, freelancing is what you are most likely to be going into. Therefore I think it would have been helpful to have some teaching about how to set yourself up working for yourself. I would recommend getting an accountant as soon as possible unless you like filling out horrible tax returns. I can't stand it and am more than happy to pay someone to do it for me.
Also, I don't know if you use a large portfolio case at the moment but I strongly recommend that you get a much smaller case for when you go to meetings/interviews. I use an A4 size portfolio case which means I can do any printing at home which just makes life easier but having a large portfolio case is like having a neon sign on your head stating 'I have just left college'. In my experience (I can't remember if I already mentioned this) illustration agencies want you to have some experience before taking you on.
In terms of advice spend your first few years trying to do as many competitions and any free work that comes up just to build up your portfolio with professional work so you don't have college work in your portfolio. And include personal work as well as this will show you have a lot of passion and enthusiasm for illustration if you are doing it in your free time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

IHT 5: The Man Who Made The Title Sequence Into A Film Star

This article is about the graphic designer Saul Bass, whose title sequences in movies are very accomplished. He has done not only movie title sequences, but also logos for corporations, gas stations, children's toys, and postage stamps. One of his title sequences was for Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. He also went on to make title sequences for directors such as Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorcese, and Billy Wilder.

-Alfred Hitchcock
-Red Carpet
-Saul Bass

IHT 4: Restored: Fading Account From The Heart Of Africa

This article is about a recovered field diary from the 19th century. The diary belonged to David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary and explorer. In most cases, the ink is very faded or masked by newspaper ink (since at some point during his exploration, Livingstone ran out of paper, but instead used a newspaper to write on). However, by using light-emitting diodes and a very high-resolution digital camera, researchers were able to figure out what was written in Livingstone's diary and it is now being published for the first time.

-David Livingstone

IHT 3: Sleep Medication: Mother's New Little Helper

This article is about the overwhelming amount of women who have trouble falling asleep at night. These women are constantly thinking about what needs to be done in their lives to the point where it's hard for them to fall asleep. They take a variety of drugs to help them fall asleep, from Ambien to low-dose antidepressants.

-Sleeping pills

Monday, November 7, 2011

IHT Article 2: In Nepal, Gliding With A Feathered Guide

This article is about a new adventure sport that combines falconry and paragliding. Basically, the person paraglides accompanied with a trained falcon and follows them. It is exciting for both thrill-seekers and bird enthusiasts. It adds a little something extra to paragliding, and some people wouldn't even want to paraglide if the trained bird wasn't with them.

-Egyptian vultures
-Travel agents
-Bird watchers

IHT Article 1: Now Your Phone Talks Back And Humors You

This article is about Siri, a new app on the recently released iPhone 4S. Siri is a virtual personal assistant that recognizes conversational speech and responds to it. Sometimes Siri makes witty comments, and people seem to really like it so far. Apparently she gets proposed to quite often.

-iPhone 4S
-Marriage rings

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spot Metaphors

Reduced to proper size and all laid out on a nice .psd. All that's left is to mount it tonight.

From left to right
Top: The Divine - Shadows; Revolution - Animals; Greed - Sequence; Love - Hands
Bottom: Leadership - Interior; Fear - Cityscape; Aging - Still-Life; Isolation - Juxtaposition

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Holly Exley

Holly Exley is based in London and has an interesting sort of watercolor/collage style.

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray is another artist from England and just graduated from the University of Westminster. She does a lot of wildlife drawings and portraits.

Kristina Marie Hofmann

Kristina Marie Hofmann went to the Royal College of Art in England. I first found her art on the Victoria and Albert museum website. She was a runner-up in 2009 in the V&A illustration award student category. It's been near close to impossible for me to find much else on her.

She also has done an animation that was shown on BBC (link above)

Si Clark

Taken from his shop on

Simon Clark is an illustrator/ animator from England. Having graduated from Bournemouth Art College this year, he is now working freelance on a variety of projects.

Yao Xiao

From Yao's website:

Yao Xiao is born in Mainland China in 1990.Following her passion for art and for exploration, Yao came to the United States alone at the age of 16. She has found herself creating artworks in Chicago, Seattle, Memphis—and now, New York City. Yao is currently studying at the School of Visual Art in NYC, majoring in illustration.
Yao has won awards from the Kennedy center for Scenic Art and have been published in the U.S. and in China. Her recent publications include books for Roland Music Co. and the Tranmetropolitan Art Book. Her art is featured on Dr. Sketchy’s blog and also, Warren Ellis’s website. Other places her art has appeared in include the Licton Springs Review and Carpe Diem Review.

Wenqing Yan

Wenqing Yan is a student at UC Berkeley who has a big presence on deviantART. She is from China and has now gotten her Flash comic "Knite" published. Two things important to her in her art are environmentalism and cyber activism.

Illustrator Research

I have been doing some searching for Illustration students and recent grads, and so far I have come up with a list of people I have found.

  • Wenqing Yan
  • Yao Xiao
  • Si Clark
  • Kristina Marie Hofmann
  • Rebecca Gray
  • Holly Exley
So far, I have confirmed an interview with Si Clark. Since he is the first to respond, I have decided to interview him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visual Metaphors 10/10

This is an image I found on Shane's blog. He is making a statement about Harry Potter fanfiction (the pornographic kind), and comparing it to The Graduate.

Visual Metaphors 9/10

This is an image about smoking. It uses the cigarettes and makes them look like the Twin Towers burning. It is therefore a powerful image that shows how smoking kills so many people.

Visual Metaphors 8/10

This is an image I found on Flickr of a bunch of horror movie villains standing in line for something. The words "All aboard the remake train" therefore add to the humor and message of this piece. In other words, we are making way too many horror movie remakes (remakes in general quite honestly).

Visual Metaphors 7/10

This image is of a wedding cake, with the little bride and groom on top. The cake is cut in half. Therefore I can infer that this is a comment about marriage and divorce.

Visual Metaphors 6/10

This image is of a nuclear missile. Written on the missile is "Iran" written in Farsi. Inside the missile, a dove peeks its head out. I can infer that this image is about Iran's nuclear program. The dove is a symbol usually used for peace. I can therefore infer that while Iran has a nuclear program going on, and although it seems threatening, the dove shows peace. I can see this as either Iran is making empty threats, or while some of Iran is threatening war, the other part of Iran just wants peace.

Visual Metaphors 5/10

This is an image I remember seeing in middle school when a woman came to our school to talk to us about abstinence. "Safe sex" is clearly depicted here as two safes having sex.

Visual Metaphors 4/10

This image is of a cigarette. The cigarette is unraveling, but the end of the cigarette is shaped like a bandaid. Based on this, I can tell that smoking is going to lead to health risks. Therefore, smoking is a way of hurting yourself.

Visual Metaphors 3/10

This image spells out RISK. Instead of an I, a breaking rope stands in its place. The phrase that comes to mind is "hanging by a thread," which is exactly what is happening here. It doesn't just place a word in front of us, it shows what that word means.

Visual Metaphors 2/10

This is an image of a cherry blossom tree. The petals are shaped like nuclear symbols. When I see the cherry blossom tree, I think of Japan, and seeing the nuclear symbol makes me think of the atomic bomb. It therefore makes me think of the bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Visual Metaphors 1/10

This visual metaphor is about airlines tacking fees onto everything. This uses the image of a child riding one of those kiddie rides that you would find outside of the supermarket. The coin slot has more coin slots attached to it, showing that attached to one fee is another, then another, then another. It makes people not want to fly anymore due to costs, and that makes this kid not want to ride the ride anymore. It makes him sad.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Completed Tesselation Pieces

 E-readers contributing to the death of books.
Freedom for Iran (at this point, their "freedom" is limited).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Totally freaked out and forgot that the tesselations were due THURSDAY instead of today. WELL. At least I can try to make them look better. (feels like an idiot, having stayed up so late to work on them last night and having to force herself out of bed this morning to come to class).


These took way longer than I would have hoped. Can you tell which one I worked hardest on? :X

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I wasn't sure if we had to start working on the tesselations as they relate to our topic, so I just did general practice of the techniques. Sorry if I misunderstood.

Monday, September 5, 2011

15 Silhouettes.

15 out of 40 silhouettes. These 15 silhouettes have different objects/scenes drawn in the silhouettes.

 Jellyfish >> Guy with piercings and dreads
Fedora >> Guy reading a book 
 Lamp >> Vacuum cleaner
 Bomb >> Pomegranate
 Banana >> Eagle
 Bleeding heart >> Monkey in a tree with bananas
 Bird of paradise >> Fairy
 Hummingbird >> Ballerina
 Swan >> Guy laying in a hammock
 Key >> Samurai with sword
 Rook chess piece >> Lighthouse
 King chess piece >> 
The pope appearing to the crowd (they do this in Vatican City all the time).
Knight chess piece >> Snake and snake charmer 
Bishop chess piece >> Circus seal balancing a ball on his nose (not a fan of this one) 
High-heeled boot >> Pirate (one of my personal favorites)