Thursday, 9 December 2010

James Fenwick Interview

Hi all, I'm pleased to say I've got another interview to post. This time it's with a great chap and illustrator named James Fenwick, who works out of Hull, UK. Big thanks to James for this interview, so here it is with some of his work...

1. I have trouble sometimes getting started on a piece of work, how do you approach a new image and how do you avoid hitting a wall?

-I always start with writing, just writing words and things that are related to the subject. I whittle down to just a few of them which work together and start scribbling out a load of thumbnails. Then I'll do some slightly bigger rough sketches just to make sure i can get everything in, once the composition and content is settled I'll then start a more ellaborate sketch.
It's surprising how often I get halfway through a project and suddenly have a new idea which fits better and start from scratch. Or how I'll finish inking a final sketch and realise it was never going to work out so I've wasted a day or so doing something that's going to get binned.

2. Is it difficult to know when an image is "finished" or do you just know?

-I can usually tell when an image is finished, but that's only when I've over-worked the hell out of it in Photoshop a few times and it has so many stupid little graphic bits it just looks awful. So I tend to take a few steps back and go with an earlier stage which in most cases works out.

3. Quite a few of your images have music as a theme and have a real energy to them. Is music something that is important to you and inspires you?

-I'm more into music than I am art, so I think I maybe try to mix the two which is where some of the energy of my drawing comes from. Like most artists, designers and illustrators I listen to music when I work so my heads usually bobbing whilst I'm working which probably keeps me pushing on with things (as well as so so much caffeine). It's not just a specific genre either, I listen to pretty much everything and anything.
Content-wise I think a big chunk of my work is based on/around music because it's something that's always around me no matter what I'm doing so maybe it's become part of my subconscious thinking process. I don't know, that sounded deep. I heard a quote somewhere that said "Good music makes you feel cool no matter what you're doing," don't think there's a better way to put it really.

4.Do you find yourself easily motivated, or do things like a strict deadline help?

-I'm one of the least motivated illustrators I know, but at the end of the day I'm only human and I get distracted by things really easily! I'm trying different methods of working like organising my time in different ways but I always end up working best in the early hours of the morning, no idea why. Deadlines are a massive kick when you need it though, when a project starts coming to a close everything focuses in and that's when I really knuckle down.

5. You can obviously draw really well, how much of it has come naturally to you and how much can yo say has come from your education?

-I've always drawn so I think my actual motor skills and hand-to-eye co-ordination are a natural thing, but I think I've become a lot more conscious of the content and quality of my line work during my time in uni which is something my tutors really pushed. Now I'm bothered about line thickness, what pens/nibs I use and even what paper I use which is something I wouldn't have even thought of a few years ago. So professionalism over talent is a big factor there I suppose.
I reference a lot more than I did before uni as well, so say if I'm drawing a rabbit riding a moped or something I'll get like 10 photos of rabbits and 10 photos of mopeds just to make sure everything's correct, then I'll draw it freehand which I think is where my own observational style comes into things.

6. What things have had a profound effect on you in terms of inspiration?

-Music was already talked about. That's the biggy. Films, books, other pieces of artwork, conversations with people and just general taking notice of what's happening in the world around you.

7.Finally, if you could interview one artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

-There's this guy called Ray Jones who's work I'm really into...he seems like quite a cool guy to interview. And he plays drums in a band I think.

A massive thank you to James for doing this interview, it's much appreciated and very helpful!

You can check out James' awesome work here:

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