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Bringing the Quirk to Corporate Work

By Charles Purdy

Michael Lomon is a motion graphics designer, comic book artist, and illustrator—he’s also clearly a time-management wizard: in addition to holding down a full-time job creating motion graphics for QVC UK, he takes on freelance commissions, develops personal projects, and co-parents two young children. Sometimes, juggling it all requires multitasking (for instance, he conducted part of our webchat interview with his infant daughter on his shoulder).

But, he says, more often than that, it requires smart decisions about how he spends his time. “I consume less to create more,” he explains. “Not by choice necessarily, but it’s one or the other.”

By day, Lomon creates motion graphics (like this one) for QVC UK. 

Lomon estimates that he’s able to set aside an hour or two, approximately four days a week, for his side creative projects—after family time, and the kids’ bedtime, and tidying up, and catching up with his wife. “We could watch a movie or something like that,” he says, “but we prefer to do our thing…. It would be easy to slack off if I weren’t motivated, but I can’t rest easy if I’m not creating work, even if it’s at a slow pace…as long as the page I’ve just done feels better than the one I did before.”

ENJOYING THE NINE-TO-FIVE

Lomon’s personal projects tend toward the realm of the fantastical—comic books featuring robots and futuristic creatures, and illustrations that are intentionally “a little messy looking”—but he knows how to work in a more corporate context and says that he enjoys his nine-to-five gig at QVC, where he’s been creating motion-graphics promos and other assets for several years. He finds the work very creatively satisfying. “Shopping television walks a line,” he says. “On one hand, it sort of knows that it’s silly. But I work with a lot of very creative people with high artistic aspirations, and we do create interesting work…. We get to do a lot of character work, environmental stuff, hand drawn work. It’s kept me interested for a good few years.”

One of Lomon’s personal passions is comics illustration. For these projects, he typically partners with a writer who helps him develop the story.  

The work he enjoys creating on his own has an organic look, with random elements and disorderly gradients, which might not always seem to suit a corporate brief.

Lomon says, “It’s always a struggle, bringing that quirk to the corporate work—but as long as the result ticks all the right boxes, you can usually find room to bring your personality into it.”

A DEEPER DIVE INTO ANIMATION

Currently based in London, Lomon grew up in Manchester, England, where he discovered animation during his studies at art school. Earlier on, he’d come to drawing through a love of comics—he cites Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series as an early influence. “That was quite a big deal for me,” he says. “Growing up, I was passionate about sport, but I wasn’t good in any way. The Sandman, and then the whole world of alternative ’80s comics—Transmetropolitan, Hellblazer…getting into those is what really got me drawing. And I have carried on ever since.”

Lomon created this motion graphics promo for a QVC DIY segment. “I enjoyed working on this one,” he says. “We don’t often get to do fully rigged 3D characters at work because of snappy turnarounds, but for this one I got to build this utility-belted character.”

By the time he was 17, he knew he’d be making a life as an artist, and a stop-motion experiment at university got him interested in animation. At first he was just using Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro for editing, but after a friend got a job doing motion graphics, he was motivated to dive deeper.

“I think my friend will understand if I say this,” Lomon says, “but motion graphics wasn’t something he was passionate about. And I thought, ‘Well, I’m sure I could do that.’ I mean…I was working in a pub at the time.”

Training himself to use animation tools led to a career in motion graphics, which he balances with illustration and comic book work in his (limited) free time. 

TIME FOR PERSONAL PROJECTS

The illustrations Lomon enjoys working on in his personal creative time are influenced by the Golden Age of Illustration. He finds inspiration in the work of illustrators like Aubrey Beardsley—he explains, “In a lot of that work, you can see a strong sense of design, but there’s also a macabre whimsy going on. That’s quite a big thing for me.”

This year, he has had quite a few private poster commissions, as well as some comics collaborations. With the comics, Lomon says he generally prefers to work with writers, in part because when he works alone “the writing ends up following the visuals.” And while he says working that way can be enjoyable, the result doesn’t always end up making sense to everyone.

Lomon recently created promo posters for an anime screening: “A friend in Nottingham was running an anime screening night,” he says, “and he and I are both fans of Satoshi Kon. It was great doing posters for his Perfect Blue and Paprika, and I was pleased with how they turned out…but I’m not used to drawing attractive people! That was a challenge. I am more comfortable drawing bulbous-nosed grotesques!”

“I think because a lot of the work stuff I do is quite solitary, it is nice to have someone to collaborate with and bounce ideas back and forth with,” he says. “I’ve been working on a comic with a friend for about five years now, and although we haven’t drawn a single panel, it’s probably my favorite project. Every few months we’ll meet in a pub and discuss these grand ideas—it’s going to be amazing. I think it’s good to have a few of those sorts of projects on the back burner at all times.”

Lomon recently became an Adobe Stock contributor, making a custom set of motion graphics templates (including this title treatment, a transition, and a lower third) available on the platform. “I had a clear view of a candle being snuffed out and the title forming from that,” he says. “I really enjoyed doing the templates and may do more…there’s something interesting in releasing work into the wild and seeing what people do with it.”

The work on comics is valuable as a place where can really indulge himself: “I tend to work on a comic over the course of a year or more, whereas motion projects at work, you’re lucky if you get a week and a half,” he says. “It scratches a not altogether different itch. With the comics you can kind of sit back and mull things over and get deeper into it, without having to tick boxes for people. But sometimes being kept in line is OK—that can lead to good results too.”

To see more of Michael Lomon’s work, check out his portfolio site.