Paul Reid Illustrator Interview

Paul Reid

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Can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an illustrator? What were your earliest impressions?
I don’t think there wasn’t an exact time. It was more of a progression. From enjoying creative subjects at School, working in design agencies and then becoming a freelance illustrator.

My earliest impressions were, I’d love to do this. When I realised to was happing was when paid commissions started coming in.

Who or what influenced your art when you were young?
I remember copying Garfield images from the Sunday papers. I used to watch loads of cartoons too. Thundercats and Transformers were big favourites that I’d draw characters from. Another big hIt was Jan Pieńkowski’s Haunted House Pop-up book. I loved this so much. There’s a video of it on Youtube, that brings back some memories.

Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it?
I’m pretty sure it’s no longer around, but I do remember a picture of a rabbit from when I was quite young. I’m sure there were other scribbles but that’s the first one I can think of. I wrote ‘rabbit’ underneath and had an arrow pointing to the picture – I don’t think it was that bad it needed labelling!

Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
Initially I chose Graphic Design, I worked in this field for a number of years. I found myself wanting to use illustration more and more in projects, that’s when the penny dropped and I changed careers. I wish I’d done it years earlier.

Did you study art in school?
I studied Graphic Design in Sheffield & Newcastle.

Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art?
There’s no single source. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Generally it’s just a simple desire to create something.

How would you describe the process of creating art?
Reading a brief. Re-reading the brief. Scribbling ideas. Walking away. Sketching thumbnails. Developing ideas into clients roughs. Fine tuning the chosen rough. Laying down colour blocks. Adding details and textures.

Do you have a favorite illustrator? What is it about that illustrator’s work you like?
I couldn’t pick a favourite illustrator. Currently I’m loving the work produced by; Tom Haugomat, Muti, Yukai Du, Jose Luis Agreda and Petra Eriksson.

If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
I’d still have to be creating something. I quite like the idea of working with food, but I don’t think I’d last very long in a professional kitchen

Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
I can’t remember a first set, but I do remember having art materials as gifts at Christmas and birthdays.

Do you have a favorite illustrator supply, a favorite method, or favorite location, where you like to create artwork?
After years of working in open plan offices I’m loving having my own studio space at home. That my favourite place for creating work. After reading through brief I do like to mull it all over whilst out in the woods with my dog.

If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
I like my work to have an idea behind it, but I don’t think there’s much to explain. If I’ve done my job, hopefully any viewer will understand any message quickly.

Do you think illustration has the eye of the public or could public awareness of this field be improved upon?
When mention I’m an illustrator lots of people’s eyes light up, like it’s a profession their younger self would have liked to do. I then find I have to explain what editorial illustration is quite a lot though.

Why does art matter to you? Why should it matter to the world?
On a personal level, the buzz I get when I’m happy with my work is fantastic. On larger scale I think art brings joy to so many. Whether it’s people flocking to galleries around the world or just a kid scribbling away on a scrap of paper. They doing it through choice and because they love it.

If you could look back or forward 100 years, do you think the life of an illustrator was or will be better than today?
I’m an optimist, In 100 years things will be better. I’d hate to think what the Adobe subscription charges will be.