Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld

I first came across Tom Gauld’s work on Flickr, and once I started looking, I couldn’t stop. Tom works in the UK as a cartoonist and illustrator; counting The Guardian and the New Yorker among his clients. His comics are filled with robots, astronauts hapless personalities that combines innocence with wry wit – there’s so much eloquence in his panels, delivered in a deft swift kick.  I read an interview from 2011 where he talks about what he does, and I wanted to share some snippets of the interview that I thought was really thought-provoking.

On  his working process:

I sit and think and doodle in my sketchbook until I have a good idea. Then I’ll make rough pencil sketches on copier paper till I have things worked out visually. Then I hone these sketches on paper and in photoshop till I have a rough version of the image which I can send to anyone who needs to approve it. Then I will print out the image and use a lightbox to trace an ink version which I crosshatch then scan back into the computer where I can clean it up, tweak bits and add any colour. I love using the computer but I try to stay away from it till I’ve done most of the thinking for an idea, looked at it from all sides, because I feel that once the computer is involved things are on an inevitable path to being finished. Whereas in my sketchbook the possibilities are endless.

 

Tom Gauld

 

On illustrating a book cover versus a cartoon:

I feel more pressure doing a book cover than almost anything else, I think “This author has probably spent years writing this book: I mustn’t mess it all up with a crap cover”. So I have to try and find a way to react to the book and make something which is suitable, but is also strong and interesting in its own way.

Tom Gauld

On how Edward Gorey has influenced his work:

I like that what he makes is unclassifiable: he makes picture books for adults which aren’t comics, many are self-published but they’re beautifully produced. I love his drawing, the odd narratives, the design of the books, the compositions, the hand drawn typography: everything really. The way I crosshatch (with small “patches” of short lines rather than long ones) I learned from Gorey.

On what he thinks is next for books and print:

One thing which might happen with the rise of e-books is that the books that DO get published in paper may have to justify themselves by being better made, designed and illustrated. That would make me happy.

Read the complete interview here. Also: another in-depth interview about his comic-drawing process that’s really good.

Links: Tom Gauld’s website | Flickr

His books: You’re All Just Jealous of My Backpack [Amazon link] | Goliath [Amazon link]

My experience with starting a freelance business

Starting a freelance business Over on the Pattern Observer blog today, I talked about how I started my freelance career – having made the jump into the unchartered territory (at least for me), 7 years ago. Did you know that I also put down a mortgage for our home a month before I went solo (it was something me and Mr. T had been planning, but we never thought we’d find the perfect house – within our budget no less – so soon!) So if you’re ever nervous about making that leap, follow Michelle as she uncovers other freelancers who made the leap too!

Click here to read my interview and also, I’ve written an article where I share my thoughts on how to land your first freelance job.

Studio Visit: Maria Fernanda Arévalo

For today’s Studio Visit, I talked to Maria Fernanda Arévalo (affectionally known as Mafe to her friends), an illustrator based in Barcelona, Spain. I first found her on Instagram when she posted up her beautiful studio as well as her working process, and I can’t wait to share them with you here on the blog! (Think I’m missing out on featuring your studio/process? Well let’s remedy that – tag me on Instagram (@pikaland)!)

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

Hi Mafe! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi Amy! Thanks for your kind invitation. My Name is María Fernanda but my friends know me as Mafe. I was born in Colombia and now I live near Barcelona, in the middle of an amazing Nature park and I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. My life changed when I came to Spain. Although life in the city is exciting, I started living for the first time in the middle of nature and this was an indescribable and inspirational experience for me. I discovered the many pleasures of taking in the sounds, smells, colours and other treasures that nature gives.

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

With that change in my life came a noticeable shift in my style of creating and painting. I feel that the work is truer to me in terms of my character and my outlook on life in general. I like to see the beauty and magic of nature and the little things of life.

I enjoy walking with Panchito (a pug) and Mimi (a teckel) – my best friends! – as we go up the mountains. They are cute and funny, and they are always together.

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

I’m active and curious. I often feel the need to make new things, and I love to explore techniques, colours and different medias.

What are you working on right now?

I’m very happy now because I’m working on two exciting projects: The first one is a personal project – I’m writing a book about emotions and dreams and the second one is my creative work, actually I explore mixed media and paint to express my love of nature.  Both projects are special to me. My life is going through a lot of changes right now, and this is the first time that I’m writing about life and dreams. It´s a fulfilling experience.

I’m exploring and experimenting the possibilities of mixed media. I see the environment, its colours and its forms. I’m exploring with gouache and mixed media, and this is very exciting for me. I love working with paper, crayolas, gouache, pencil colors, markers – all of which makes it a very hands-on experience. In both projects I feel free and happy.

I love your studio! Can you tell us a little bit more about your spatial arrangement?

Once in a while, I like to renovate my studio. I think this is a inspirational way to create, having pictures, objects, and things where you can find surround yourself with inspiration. Last year, my studio looked like a child’s room. I enjoyed this decoration because it was inspirational for the happy mail project and other illustration projects that I was involved with. This year, I made some changes in my studio because I needed more space and I added a big table so that I could paint and draw in different formats. I sold part of my furniture to create this new space! I enjoy changes, because it always brings good things into my life.

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

What are your favourite tools?

I think that everything I come across is a great tool to create with! I work with seasons, and sometimes I enjoy working only with Adobe Illustrator and my Wacom tablet.  Sometimes the craft girl in me comes out and I enjoy exploring with stamps, washi tapes and various cute tools. But for now, I’m using more traditional medias like pencil colours, brushes, gouache, crayolas, markers, acrilic, paper, pastels, and ecolines. After that, I use a camera to take pictures of my work and then work on it further with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. I also use the camera on my mobile phone a lot to take a snapshot of any inspiration that I encounter.

 

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

What or who inspires you and your work?

The best inspiration, I think, comes from the observation of nature. I like to contemplate by looking at the amazing landscape near my home. The river, the pound, the leaves… the sky, the colours of the sunset.

The great masters of painting always are inspirational. I enjoy seeing the paints of Matisse, Klimt, Miro, Monet they do amazing wonders for my heart and soul!

The internet too is an amazing tool to discover lovely people with great ideas! I find a lot of inspiration on Pinterest.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you work? What’s your process?

My process begins when i walk around the mountains. I open my eyes and take in everything around me… I see colours and forms; I close my eyes and feel my emotions. I then take some pictures with my mobile phone. After compiling a number of images I select one or more to do up a quick sketch. These sketches are about quick observation of shapes and colours; but before I begin, I like to think about the title for each art work.

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

When I arrive home, I take my sketch book and I begin to select the colours that I want to incorporate for my new project. When I have the colours all picked out, I then start to think about which tools I could use. After the colour selection, I clean my table and prepare my tools and materials. I like to prepare everything so that I don´t disturb my creative process.

When I do all the above, I feel that this is my moment, and for me it´s very special. I like to work while listening to music, sometimes classic, and sometimes I get in some bossanova or jazz.

I like to let the art flow, each line, each drop, each colour. I work in gouache and mix media, so I enjoy the process of working directly on the surface. It`’s my moment, my space, and my time. When I finish each artwork I usually spend my time appreciating it. Each work has plenty of colours and is intuitive to me.

The next day I take pictures of it, and then make additional amendments through Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator if needed. And when it’s done, I upload this image on to Society6 where it gets to be on various different items!

Studio Visit: Mafe Fernanda

Thank you so much Mafe!

(Images courtesy of Mafe & also from her Instagram account)

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Do you have a project that you’re working on right now that you’d like to share? Or what if you’d like to finally reveal your secret studio in all its glorious messiness once and for all (hey, it’s a place where you create – let’s keep it real!)? I’d love to share your process (nothing’s too messy for us!) with our readers, so do contact us if you’d like to be featured! Also, if you’re on Instagram, tag me (@pikaland) in your photos so that I can scoot on over to take a look!