Bringing the Quirk to Corporate Work
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.