Andrew Pawley is a SketchBook Pro artist from the United Kingdom. Check out his "Captain Yeah!" comic here. Support his work by contributing to his kickstarter and get a screen-printed t-shirt with his SketchBook Pro artwork!
I think the desire to ‘make realities’ is something intrinsic in all humans. I once heard the Australian artist Shaun Tan respond to the question “When did you start drawing?” with the question “When did you stop?”
As a father of two young kids I see the freedom of expression and joy of creation pouring from them everyday. I think it’s a real shame that some adults labour under the misconception of ‘not being able to draw’.
Obviously, there is a whole range of sources for my inspiration, however, I think the most important driving force behind my work is the acceptance of my place in the universe! “Crikey, what a pretentious fool!” you might think, maybe you’re right! However, I firmly believe in looking into the void and realising that we are just specks of dust floating in infinite darkness and this cosmic reality is actually a freedom rather than an abject nihilism.
I got my professional start through Art College. I completed a general foundation in Art & Design then specialised in a Graphic Design & Illustration for my Degree. But that was back in the 90’s and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then! I can remember that my art college was very proud of the 10 Apple Macs it had for all the students of the college! Two of them even had this thing called ‘the internet’! Joking aside, I took a pretty long route to get where I am today. I’ve been working freelance and teaching Art & Design for over fifteen years now and can safely say that I’ve only really ‘found’ my stride in the past five years really. I take on a range of commercial work and often work in a range of styles. Openness to the brief and not being confined by ‘your style’ is the key to success in all adventures in Art & Design!
The most fun work I do at the moment is with an Austin Tx based outfit called Weird Destiny Productions. These guys put on Music & Art events and we are currently working on a colouring book featuring a range of collaborating artists. We’ve worked with artists like Oliver Hibert and Crowded Teeth and musicians like New Fumes, Star Death & Whitedwarfs and Zorch. All fairly big names in the small world of freaky psychedelic music! I also work in video and motion graphics and have created some promo videos for these guys.
I've learned that style is not the be all and end all of illustration and that hard work will overcome any creative block. Working with young art students I see them often latching onto a popular style or theme and hoping that will lift them into the big time.
I’ve seen a few ‘big hitters’ just get washed up over the years as their style goes out of fashion. As designers, illustrators, artists or whatever, you should first approach each idea or brief by concentrating on manipulating the formal elements (line, colour, texture, compositions etc.) in a controlled yet experimental way that considers the context of the work. The style comes naturally from there.
As far as ‘making it’ in the industry, there is no magic solution. The best advice I can give is to make local and international connections. Try hooking up with local people who follow a similar vibe and get some collaboration going on. If you’re not getting any clients then make the work yourself. Set up pop up exhibitions, hook up with local venues for live bands and see if you can get some exposure like that. Obviously, social media plays a big part in promoting yourself and has helped me make some great international connections. However, try not to get caught up the amount of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ you have. It’s an illusion really!
Most importantly, try to remember each day how lucky you are! You’re a creative, fun loving speck of dust floating in infinite darkness free from the constraints of fate and destiny. Squeeze your pencil whilst you can!