Featured Artist – Gary Neill

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How and when did you know that you wanted to become an illustrator?
About six months after I began working in a graphic design studio I began to realise it wasn’t for me. Around this time I used to see illustrations in the Observer Newspaper that I thought were fabulous. That’s when I decided to shift into illustration.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
Cliched answer but everywhere really. Anything and everything feeds in but I’m a big admirer of the clarity, simplicity and wit of great advertising.

What is your earliest memory of creating art? (or drawing as a child)
I didn’t make art or draw as a kid. I found art and design when I was seventeen years old and about to head off and study business at university. A lucky escape!

What type of environment do you prefer to work in? At home or in a studio? Listening to music?
Studio with music and occasionally a pub or cafe with a sketchbook.

As a working illustrator, do you still find time to create art for yourself?
Nope, I’m afraid I don’t.

When you are creating commissioned work, how do you take yourself out of the project and focus on the idea that needs to be conveyed?
That’s never been a problem for me as I trained as a graphic designer and not as an artist so I’m always thinking what am I trying to say about an article.

What type of artwork do you have hanging in your home?
The work of our children.

What accomplishment so far in your life stands out as most important?
Apart from my kids, I’m pretty chuffed that I’m still making a living from making making pictures after fifteen years.

Who was the first illustrator that you noticed and admired?
David Hughes.

Are there any other current illustrators that you feel you identify with or share a similar style?
Not really, I identify with advertising a huge amount as I feel at it’s best it is clear, concise, creative, witty, visual communication which are all values I try to have in my work.

Do you read criticism done on your work?
Only if it’s specific to a project I’m working on.

What is your favorite way to get out of a creative block?
Doodle and doodle and doodle some more. Something always collides with something else to suggest a way in to a solution.

If you had to describe your body of work in one word, what would that word be?

What magazines do you personally read?
The Guardian is excellent as is Wired and BusinessWeek.

What are your goals for your future as an illustrator?
I’m looking to start animating my work soon, nothing too elaborate but keeping the clarity and simplicity that exists in my illustration.