Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sholto Walker

I emailed Sholto Walker as I am quite interested in his work and practice and he send me some great answers to my questions :)

This is a small clip that he send along with his email, I think it's really cute and sweet, very simple but an effective character!

Hi Becca,
Here are my answers to your questions.
Best of luck for the future.

Sometimes, i find myself sitting there staring at a piece of paper, or just not wanting to do anything, due to lazyness, being tired, or just plain cant be botherd, is there anything that you do to give yourself a boost and get on with things? Or is there anything that you do differently to get yourself going on your 'off' days?
I've wonderd a lot about this myself because I often have to struggle to get in the right frame of mind to do some work. I think a lot of artists find they are quite resistant to 'work', but know when they are actually engaged in a decent project, they become very focussed. It's getting into that space of engagement that's often the challenge. As an illustrator, I am frequently working to deadlines, usually for clients who themselves are under a lot of pressure. They expect deadlines to be met. It is my desire not to let people (and myself as a professional) down that is often the final motivator that gets me working. That said, when I'm not up against a deadline and the commission is not that inspiring, I'll often just walk away and find something else to do with my time. I've found over the years that just sitting staring and worrying over not feeling motivated just makes it worse.

When not having a project to work on, or in your spare time, when you feel the need to be creative, how do you come up with random projects for yourself? As when I'm in a creative mood, I end up sitting for hours wondering what to do.
I usually do one of two things. Either I sit with a sheet of paper in front of me and just start drawing things as they come into my head, or I refer to some ideas I've had and start developing those to see if they are worth pursuing. It's important to value your own ideas and when you have them and you don't trust yourself to remember them, to note them down. This is why keeping a sketchbook is useful. I find some of my best ideas never come when I'm in my studio.

Is there any type of music, or songs, or films you ever put on in the background while you do your work to help you get inspired?
To be honest, the way I work is kind of fraught. I'm either on a happy high as I work, or as irritable as hell - and this can change from minute to minute! My experience is that if I have music on at the same time, it's very distracting because it's either driving me mad with it's annoying rythmn or lyrics or whatever, or just heightening any sense of achievement I might be experiencing. If I listen to anything and because I'm over 35, I listen to Radio 4.

What are your inspirations? and is there anyone you inspire to be like?
Because my degree was in painting, much of my inspiration has and continues to come from painters like John Bellany and Stanley Spencer, but illustrators such as Robert Crumb, Ronald Searle and John Burningham also influence me. If I'm really honest though, my influences come from an enormous range of sources, from Francis Bacon to "Finding Nemo". I don't aspire to be anyone but myself.

Is there any routine to the way you work? For example, drawings onto illustrator, etc.
Yes. I think a routine or (better word) 'method' is very important for all artists because it makes what can often be the chore of getting an idea into a finished visual form far more rewarding. I always begin with a pencil drawing on the same sort of paper with the same sort of dip pen. This gets out of the way a lot of the decision-making which can be so stultifying at the early stages of a piece of work. It also helps make your finished work recognizable as your own because you become very skilled with your chosen methods and materials. For me and my sort of work, the initial drawing is everything - the idea, the composition, the line quality. In that order. I think it's important to make the point that I reached this working method after years of working in all kinds of ways with many kinds of materials (watercolour, pencils, acrylic, conte). Don't feel too tempted to drop everything in favour of one thing when you're starting out though. You need to experiment and learn. You need to do the time.
I'm not a great believer in the idea that digital technology has really advanced the art of illustration. It seems mostly to have speeded up the job and cheapened the production of printed illustrated material for publishers. Therefore, although I routinely use Photoshop and Illustrator to finish and colour my drawings, I wouldn't say they were crucial to the outcome of my work.

Is there any advice you could give to a student trying to make it in the illustration business?
Be yourself and value you own ideas (even if no one else seems to!). There are an awful lot of people trying to be illustrators. Many of them are very skilled, but only a few of them are really themselves and can transmit that consistently through their work. Finally (and boringly), BE RELIABLE. Most clients are looking for a job that is well presented and delivered on time. Perceived genius comes a very poor second.

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