1. When did you realise you wanted to be an illustrator?
Pretty late actually 😉 Though I have been drawing since I was a child, I first went on to study physics and mathematics and changed path at 19 to study Advertising and graphic design in Paris. After a BA I left for London and started working at the design studio Airside, doing mainly animation direction and design projects.
In parallel to working there I slowly developed my own body of work and after 5 years I finally decided to commit to illustration and fly the nest to set up on my own. That was a decade ago and I haven’t looked back since.
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
My illustration work started getting some traction while I was full time at Airside actually. I was creating screen prints and tees for the Airside shop and some of those went around the blogs and helped me get a bit of visibility.I was 28 when I became an independent illustrator and started getting some small editorial commissions for UK and US magazine.
The same year I also had my first solo show “Hide and Seek” at the Kemistry gallery in London. My first key project was to design the cover of the Kama Sutra Deluxe edition for Penguin books. This particular piece really propelled me to another level and I started being approached by bigger and bigger clients. It all happened quite organically actually, one project at a time.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
Getting an agent was an important step for me when starting out. Social media also was a big help in getting my work seen by the right people. In a way I don’t really feel I have had to hustle.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
Apart from editorial clients, I tend to have new clients all the time actually. In the end, no matter how big the brand or how cool the project a lot of it comes down to the relationship with that client and how good you are at communicating and sometimes fighting for your ideas. People skills are a key part of becoming a successful designer and maintaining clients.
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
Sometimes but I give them a bit of a nudge. It is never been a massive issue for me.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
A typical day is pretty boring : I wake up at around 9am, I am a night owl so in truth I am pretty useless in the morning. I first enjoy my morning coffee on the terasse checking overnight emails and posting on socials.Around 10am I go to my desk and start drawing.
I used to draw for eight hours straight without having lunch or taking proper breaks but these days, emails, shop and admin are eating a pretty big chunk of the day. I try and finish around 6ish. Evening are for friends, games and movies ; )
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?
Patience is key and is something we tend to forget or undervalue these days. A solid design career is a marathon not a sprint.