5 & 3/4 QUESTIONS
1. Describe yourself and your work.
I am an illustrator, typographer, and artist. I produce commercial work for editorial and advertising using the moniker “Made Up.” I draw everything by hand and then work digitally, usually in Adobe Illustrator, though I also produce handmade, tactile work under the name “Blind Spot.” My digital work is geometric, fluid, interconnected, graphic, surreal, and much more, though not necessarily at the same time.
2. How did you get started?
I was a graphic designer for a few years after graduating from the Liverpool School of Art and Design. I was perhaps a little bit frustrated in my job and dreamed of the tantalizing freedoms of working as a freelance illustrator. I’d already started working on my own style and was desperate to pursue this seriously. Then the company I worked for sort of made everyone redundant, so I thought, “Now’s my chance.” That was six years ago, and it gets more exciting with each year. Hard work, but worth it.
3. What piece of work best represents you and why?
That’s hard to answer, as the sort of work you’re referring to changes over time in relation to the ebb and flow of your style. So right now, I really like the latest work I’m doing, such as this “O” I created. It’s part of a series I’m designing for screenprints using just undulating lines.
4. What are you currently interested in?
In addition to the line series, I’m really into drawing: loose, abstract sketches that explore some of the ideas I work with digitally. I like the interplay between digital and traditional—it works both ways for me, though the final piece always ends up being digital. So much creativity happens at the sketch stage; it’s fun to create work that never leaves that realm and exists just as raw ideas.
5. Which three things have you learned that young creatives should know?
I always say this, but the best thing you can do to both improve your work and enjoy it more is to spend more time sketching. I meet so many designers who haven’t used a pencil in years. I can’t work without one.
Personal work—do it more! And that doesn’t mean creating fanboy illos for sports brands. Though obviously do that if that’s your passion. The best ideas won’t necessarily magically come to you when you’ve got a brief and a deadline, so the more creatively supple and lean your brain is, the better.
Collaborate with other creative people: musicians, artists, filmmakers, animators. It’s good to be reminded of the world outside your own corner of the industry you work in.