Andrew Lyons is an english illustrator living in France and this is his website: lyonsa.com
Hi Andrew. I think the most interesting aspect of an artist’s work is the creative process. So, first of all, I would like to know how you create a new piece and what tools you use.
I spend more time thinking about a piece of work, than actually drawing, so I’ll spend time just thinking about it while I’m doing other things. Afterwards I’ll sketch if I have a visual idea, or I’ll make lists of words. I make mind maps, linking words together, and then finally I start drawing my ideas down on paper, or directly in Photoshop, using a Wacom tablet.
Once I have a sketch, I’ll tidy it up a little, and then I use Photoshop to colour my work. People often think that I work with vectors, but It’s all done with Photoshop, using the pen tool.
What is your most creative time of day (or night)?
I think daytime for sure. I work at night sometimes when want to hit a deadline on time, but I’m generally too tired late at night to do anything too creative. At night I can follow one of my sketches, but it’s difficult to draw something new. I’d say that early morning is when I have my best ideas, just after waking up. Once or twice I’ve woken with a finished picture in my head, and just had to sketch it down immediately.
Maybe asking you which is your favorite illustration is too direct and hard to answer, so I’m going to ask you which illustration best expresses yourself and your art.
I think my favourite illustration is the ‘Mon Oncle’ illustration that I did last year. I was illustrating one of my favourite films by Jaques Tati. Its also the one that best expresses what I want to do with my illustration I think. I don’t purposefully try to stick to a ‘style’ but this piece is a kind of an ‘anchor’ for me. If I ever feel a bit lost in what I’m doing I will look again at this one and remind myself of what I like and don’t like.
What artists do you like? Tell us some big names that you appreciate or some new name you follow.
I admire artists such as Ben Nicholson, and also Hergé (maker of the TinTin comics). Also painters from history such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti (I love his colours).There are also many illustrators working now that I greatly admire, such as Joost Swarte and Ever Meulen. Also many younger ones that I follow on Twitter who are amazing illustrators, too many to mention!
I know you like TinTin and jazz. What else inspires you?
Well, I like abstract painting, and relief, or wall sculpture. Photography inspires me too, and very early Renaissance painting. But just walking around town, seeing people, looking at buildings, this kind of thing can give me ideas too.
Some website links that visual arts lovers can’t miss.
The Google Art Project (now Google Arts & Culture) is just.. amazing. There are virtual collections that you can walk around, zoom in on pieces of work. It’s just great. I spent an afternoon looking around the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence online last week, such a great idea this website!
Also for contemporary design with a retro feel there’s Grain Edit which is consistently good. I have to mention also The Mighty Pencil, It’s a collective that I’m a part of, created by Ben the Illustrator, that features a ton of talented illustrators who all have a wide variety of styles. Well worth taking a look!
The last question is one that no-one has asked you but that you would like to be asked. What is it? And thank you for your time.
No-one has asked me if I enjoy my job as an illustrator, or if it’s a good career. I have to say that I do enjoy it 99% of the time. There are always moments in any job when it can be difficult to get motivated. Also it’s difficult to get started, and there can be times when things are difficult financially, so you can find yourself wondering how you’re going to manage in the future. It’s not a secure job, which makes it difficult convincing landlords that you can pay the rent. But, I wouldn’t want to do anything else, because although it can be fairly unstable financially, I have the opportunity to work with fantastic art directors and agencies, and every job is different.
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