Inspiration comes in many forms and we see inspirational art everywhere we go in our daily lives. For a graphic designer, the primary medium for this inspiration is of course on the internet, and it is on the blogs we visit daily that popular digital art is often featured for us to be inspired from (such as Media Militia’s ‘Get Inspired’ posts).
Several graphic design blogs also feature interview posts, where the most successful artists of our time are questioned along with their featured works. However, it is often forgotten that we can be inspired by the works of other members of the graphic design community similar to ourselves; it is not as often that we see the stories behind aspiring artists, rather than established graphic designers. It is for this reason that I will be creating a series of interview posts that will question designers of all abilities in the community; allowing you to share your tips, inspirations, your own artwork and your own journeys.
Today’s post features Anthony Hibbert, a professional designer and illustrator from England. He has kindly answered several of my questions to allow you to see the process behind his artwork.
Featured Work! – ‘Doorway to Success’
My personal favourite piece of Anthony’s work is this school-themed illustration, which was originally created as a supplement cover. I feel this piece represents Hibbert’s body of work as a whole – his collaboration of illustration, doodles, stock imagery and textures can be seen across many other works he has created. In particular, the use of grunge-like, crinkled paper textures are often used in innovative ways in Anthony’s art, and the use of stick-men characters has become almost a trademark of his work.
Click the image to be taken to the work’s Behance page and let Anthony know your own thoughts on it!
Hello Anthony! Thanks for taking the time out to answer questions for the rest of the design community, could you start off by telling us how you initially got started in the graphic design field?
I did a degree in Design & Communication. It was a pretty open course where I managed to experiment with whatever I was interested in the time. Looking back it was a bit Mickey Mouse but I got enough out of it despite almost being thrown off the course twice.
In addition to your degree, were some of your skills self-taught?
I tend to teach my self through trial and error. I used Photoshop for weeks and weeks before I really knew what I was doing. I think it’s best to make your own mistakes on the way to creating a look or style. Following tutorials can sometimes be insightful but often all they do is show you how to recreate a particular image that is already out of fashion.
Recently I’ve been looking at VideoCo-Pilot.net and greyscalegorilla.com to learn more about After-Effects and animation. As it’s such a vast field you just have to absorb as much as possible
Is there a particular area of graphic design that you feel most comfortable in? Do you plan on extending your skills to any additional fields in the future?
I’m interested in too many things: I started professionally in print but did as much digital work as possible, often learning software (like flash) during a brief. A bit scary when you’re winging it but sometimes the only way to get the job. In recent years I was a full-time digital designer working on websites, screensavers, flash games, banners etc. I’ve also spent alot of spare time on illustration based work (Editorial, educational etc). I’ve dabbled with bits of animation alot of the years and I’m spending alot of time pushing myself in After-Effects.
You have a vast portfolio showing excellent talent, but is there a piece in particular that you would claim as your favourite?
Recently I’ve been proud of a postcard set I did inspired by H.P Lovecraft and tourist photographs, titled Holidaying Horrors: HP Lovecraft Influence:
Anthony’s final products:
If you could describe ‘the purpose of art’ in one sentence, what would it be?
I’m not sure what Art is but if I can be a little creative everyday I tend to sleep better.
Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
I tend to be inspired by creative people from any and all fields. It doesn’t matter whether it’s still image, moving image or music based it’s always the idea and how it’s expressed that interests me.
I’m an avid fan of Dave Mckean, Terry Gilliam, The Beatles, Radiohead, David Lynch, Super Furry Animals, Bob Staake… The list goes on and on.
Can you take us through what you consider a ‘normal process’ when embarking on a new piece of work?
It’s different every-time. Sometimes I’ll just know in a instant what I want to do. Sometimes I just have to do something, anything until it looks finished. Sometimes the initial idea seems too easy and I’ll waste hours to justify the initial and simple response. It’s never the same and I have the back ache to show for it. If I do storyboards or sketches I usually end up following them pretty closely, at least for the composition. I’ll usually find that I’ll add details as I go that I’d not thought of previously.
Sometimes I’ll just start with a blank page with nothing in mind though this can be difficult without a well stocked library of fresh photography, drawings and textures. I try to source new stuff myself as often as possible.
Case Study! – ‘Prison’
Here we can see the process Anthony went through in order to achieve his stick-men inspired piece set in a prison cell.
Many members of the community work hard to get their works noticed, how do you promote your own works?
I have a website but haven’t really promoted it much recently. At the moment I send targeted emails to individuals, and I also have Flickr and Behance accounts that are great for receiving constructive criticism from other members of the graphic design community.
Where do you see your relationship with graphic design in 5 years time?
I’d like to have produced a short film of illustration that I’m proud of and be a little more sure of myself. And hopefully supporting myself as a freelancer (As I am currently).
You’ve already talked about music being a big inspiration to you, are there any songs in particular, or any other mediums that help get those creative juices flowing?
I listen to alot of podcasts and watch alot of movies on BBC iPlayer. Podcast wise, I don’t listen to much that’s related to Art & Design. I try to find as much good comedy as I possibly can like the following. Laughing when you have a ridiculous deadline to deal with is important!:
• The Adam & Joe Podcast
• The Ricky Gervais show
• Radio Spirit world
The VFX show is a fantastic show about visual effects. People working in the field discuss new and classic movies from a visual point of view.
I also listen to alot of original movie soundtracks – Clint Mansell (The Fountain, Moon) is fantastic. I have eclectic tastes. At the moment my songs include ‘Depth charge Ethel’ by Grinderman, ‘Father Lucifer’ by Tori Amos and ‘Ohio Heat’ by Super Furry Animals.
Ohio Heat – Super Furry Animals:
If Photoshop was a deserted island and you could only take one PS tool with you, which would it be and why?
The transform tool. I guess distorting imagery is where all the fun is in Photoshop. Retouching and colour correcting is important but you can’t beat warping texture onto a drawing of tentacle for that warm feeling of a job well done!
Finally, do you have any advice or quick tips to share with other members of the design community?
Learn as many keyboard shortcuts as you can and stay off the beer!