28/01/2009

Cowards on iplayer


See episodes of the comedy sketch show 'Cowards' (featuring our animations) on BBC iplayer now (UK Only)

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

26/01/2009

January Newsletter

Our latest newsletter has just left Peepshow HQ for inboxes everywhere!

If you missed it, you can see it here

25/01/2009

Red Stone Design



Luke designed Red Stone's promotional Christmas Card and gift, which was an apron.

Teesside School


Jenny worked with our friends at Wash design on illustration for the relaunch of Teesside High School's new website and prospectus range.

20/01/2009

Adrian Johnson



We are very happy to say that Illustrator extraordinaire Mr Adrian Johnson has joined us at Peepshow HQ in the east end of London. We couldn't think of a nicer chap to share a studio with.

19/01/2009

Forthcoming project

We found ourselves somewhere in deepest Acton today on a trading estate shooting the live action for a forthcoming very exciting new animation project for the BBC that will be revealed next month (or maybe the month after). Stay tuned.

13/01/2009

BBC Four / Cowards

video video

Working with Angel Eye Media we created several animated sketches for the debut TV series by 'Cowards'. Directed by Steve Bendelack (League of Gentlemen, Little Britain) and featuring the likes of Richard Madeley, Lily Allen, Martin Clunes and Jeff Goldblum.

'Cowards', BBC Four, starts Tuesday 20th January, 10pm for three weeks.

12/01/2009

Print Magazine


Andrew illustrated the cover of the current issue of Print-America's Graphic Design Magazine.

www.andrewrae.org.uk

MLK


New work by Miles to celebrate what would of been Martin Luther King's 80th Birthday. Created for an Art Department book which is released next month.

www.milesdonovan.co.uk

10/01/2009

Published 2001 - 2009

Peepshow work can be found in the following publications (click the titles for Amazon links):


'Digital Illustration' by Lawrence Zeegen, published by Rotovision


'Fully Booked-Cover Art & Design for Books', published by Die Gestalten Verlag


'Fundamentals of Illustration' by Lawrence Zeegen, published by Rotovision


'Three D - Graphics in New Dimensions' by Gerrit Terstiege, published by Birkhauser


Handmade' by Andrea Lugli, published by Gingko Press


'Hand to Eye' by Angus Hyland, published by Laurence King


Hidden Track', published by Die Gestalten Verlag


'Illustration Play', published by Gingko Press


'Illusive' by Robert Klanten & Hendrik Hellige, published by Die Gestalten Verlag


'Neo Geo - A New Edge to Abstraction', published by Die Gestalten Verlag



'Pen & Mouse-Commercial Art and Digital Illustration' by Angus Hyland, published by Laurence King



'The Picture Book: Contemporary Illustration' by Angus Hyland, published by Laurence King


'Stereographics-Graphics in New Dimension', published by Victionary



'Tactile: High Touch Visuals' by Matthias Hubner, published by Die Gestalten Verlag



'Tangible:High Touch Visuals' by Matthias Hubner, published by Die Gestalten Verlag


'Basics Illustration: Visually Thinking' by Mark Wigan, published by Thames & Hudson


'Basics Illustration: Text and Image' by Mark Wigan,published by Thames & Hudson


'Basics Illustration: Sequential Images' by Mark Wigan,published by Thames & Hudson


'Young European Designers', published by Daab


'300% Cotton' by Helen Walters, published by Laurence King


'200% Cotton' by Helen Walters, published by Laurence King


'Proud to be a Flyer' by Gingko Press


'Made and Sold' by FL@33, published by Laurence King


'What is Illustration?' by Lawrence Zeegen, published by Rotovision

08/01/2009

Samsung








Working with design and communation agency Imagination we recently completed all the Illustration work for 10 short films which will appear in the Samsung brand centre in Seoul.

05/01/2009

IdN



Peepshow animation work features in the latest issue of IdN magazine (IdN v15n6: the visual identity issue) on the bonus DVD. More info here

03/01/2009

The Sleep Room

video

We were asked by 'The Sleep Room' to create a short film to promote their new online store. The story of a bear struggling to hibernate. See it above or over at our new and improved Peepshow animation mini-site.

www.peepshow.org.uk/animation

02/01/2009

Frequently Asked Questions and Selected Interviews *UPDATED MARCH 2015*

WHY DID YOU SET UP PEEPSHOW?
Peepshow was set up as a way of facilitating self promotion, sharing clients and expenses and to make the experience of being an Illustrator more fun. Power in numbers as they say.

WHO SET UP PEEPSHOW?
Peepshow was founded in the autumn of 2000 by Graham Carter, Miles Donovan, Chris Joscelyne, Chrissie Macdonald, Andrew Rae, Lucy Vigrass and Spencer Wilson, who all graduated from the University of Brighton BA Illustration course in 1998. We were later joined by Luke Best, Marie O'Connor, Jenny Bowers, Elliot Thoburn, Orko and Pete Mellor. Chris Joscelyne, Graham Carter and Orko left the ranks in 2005, Marie O'Connor & Elliot Thoburn left in 2014.

IS PEEPSHOW AN ILLUSTRATION AGENCY?
No, we are a collective and are not currently looking to take on new members.

WILL YOU ANSWER DISSERTATION QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS?
It can be difficult to get back to individual questions and in most cases we would refer you to our frequently asked questions, most subjects are covered. Please check here first with any queries and keep popping back because this F.A.Q section is regularly updated.

CAN I APPLY FOR AN INTERNSHIP AT PEEPSHOW?
We do not offer work experience or internships at Peepshow, most of the time we are working on projects which don't allow for additional help.

CAN I SEND MY WORK IN FOR REVIEW/COMMENTS
Due to the high number of enquires we receive it is not possible to get back to individuals with feedback regarding Illustration or animation portfolios.

ARE YOU REPRESENTED BY ILLUSTRATION AGENCIES?
Jenny is represented by Art Department in New York.
Miles and Spencer are represented by Snyder New York in USA/Canada.
Spencer is represented by Synergy in the UK and Tiphaine in France.
Andrew and Chrissie are represented by Bernstein & Andriulli in the USA and UK.
Luke is represented by Heart in the UK and USA.
Lucy is represented by Outline Artists in the UK.

DO YOU ALLOW STUDENT VISITS TO PEEPSHOW HQ?
Unfortunately no, our doors are closed to visitors. Not even if you promise to bring biscuits.

WILL PEEPSHOW MAKE PRESENTATIONS AT UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES?
Sometimes, it depends how busy we are. In the past we have travelled to The Arts Institute in Bournemouth, The University of Brighton, The University of Leeds, The London College of Communication, Camberwell College of Arts, The University of the West of England, The Havering College of Further and Higher Education, Central St Martins School Of Art and Design and Kingston University London.

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Peepshow Interview with Popshot Magazine, 2011

What made you decide to become a collective rather than operate as individuals?
Peepshow was set up as a way of facilitating self promotion, collaboration, sharing clients and expenses and to make the experience of being an Illustrator more fun. Power in numbers as they say. Although our key practice entails working on our own individual commissions, we come together to work on specific commissions, namely installation and animation projects.

What are some of the biggest benefits of working as a collective?
A shared studio, website & promotion, expenses, client list and library as well as a group of trusted people to look to for advice. Also by collaborating we end up working on projects that challenge us and take us out of our comfort zone.

How does the collaborative process work? Do clients choose which members will work on a brief or is it decided by Peepshow?
It depends on the nature of the project, some clients come to us with a particular illustrator or aesthetic in mind but on other occasions they are open to our interpretation of the brief. We'll come together to discuss ideas and see who's work is best suited to the brief as well as who's interested and available, leaving a smaller team to see the project through to the end.

Why the name Peepshow?
The original website was designed to show a 'peep' of our individual illustration work using a peephole device, so the name Peepshow seemed perfect and just stuck.

How often do people confuse you with the TV show and have you ever considered suing them, baring in mind that you came first?
It's not really an issue as we're not in competition, besides we all like the show too much and it's not as if we own the word, it's been around since the 15th century. We did have a strange letter once from some fans of the TV show suggesting we make an all female version, they even sent plot & casting suggestions. Robert Webb wore a T-shirt in the last series with a design by Andrew on it that must have been bought as a bootleg from a market. It's not legal so don't buy it.

You all have very varied styles. Is this something that works in your favour or does it make the collaboration process more difficult?
Collaborating on a shared drawing rarely happens because everyone's work is so different. The most enjoyable part of collaborating is being able to leave what you know, move away from your established visual language and try something new and be a bit more surprised. I don't think we'd all still be working together if our work all looked the same. We quickly realised that the most successful way to collaborate is if everyone contributes ideas and works in a way unassociated to their personal work. A great deal of our collaborative projects in the last 5 years have seen a smaller group of people working on it, this team varies completely from project to project but the work is still credited to 'Peepshow'. We also collaborate with photographers, animators and other Illustrators, the extended peepshow family so to speak.

What's the most exciting/fulfilling/interesting project you've worked on?
I'm sure each member of Peepshow has their own personal favourites but off the top of our collective heads, 'Hi-Life' with Graham Rawle, a 4000 sq ft supermarket installation for Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany that kicked started the whole Peepshow thing and was seen by a staggering 40 million visitors. 'Pick Me Up' at Somerset House last year for the ace print workshop we ran for the duration. The 'making characters, buildings & objects from three vegetables' stall at the V&A fete in 2006, just because we didn't realise just how much a corn on the cob resembles Jimmy Saville or a purple beet resembles Eddy Grant until then. Someone spent an hour making the Sydney Opera House from three onions. Our first collaborative animation project for Diesel, the 'Sleeproom', 'CBeebies' and 'Culture Show' animations, because we learnt an awful lot along the way, and finally the windows of Saatchi & Saatchi in 2007 because its not everyday your given the front of a massive building to make look nice.

You have a phenomenally impressive client list. How have you built up such an impressive reputation?
It is the client list of 10 people over 12 years but we have been lucky enough to work with the best advertising agencies and some of the best magazines and newspapers. In all honestly it's just good old hard work, professionalism, meeting deadlines and delivering quality work, all things we take great pride in.

Last year you turned 10 years old. What are the secrets to remaining a creative collective for so long?
Giving each other space, keeping things loose, playful and fun.

One of the things that really sets you apart from other collectives is your use of animation. Was this a conscious decision to straddle both print and moving image?
Well only two of us have ever actually studied animation, we stumbled into it quite by accident when someone from an advertising agency in Amsterdam saw our individual illustration work appear side by side on our website and asked if we wanted to contribute to an animation project commissioned by Diesel. Animation is the most natural and successful way for us to collaborate. It allows everyone to have an input in the process even if you can't see their work visually in the end result.

How has the world of illustration changed since you started out back in 2000?
Deadlines seem to have sped up, and although on the whole budgets haven't necessarily decreased, they certainly haven't increased and clients expect more for their money. Ten years ago I think most of us were still having zip disks couriered around London or having artwork drum scanned instead of sending final artwork by email. The way clients find your work and employ you has changed with the vast majority of work coming in through websites and blogs instead of hardcopy folios.
Illustration is much broader and more exciting now. An illustrator can be his/her own author self publishing is easier etc but the traditional skills of illustration are getting lost, being able to communicate an idea seems to be less and less important. Style is still wrongly king.

What would you (all) be doing if you weren't part of Peepshow (or illustrators/animators etc)?
Spencer: "I'd like to think i'd be working with wood, either crafting or chainsawing"

Miles: "Accountant, Librarian, work in a record shop or TV Detective, i'm not fussy which"

Pete: "I'd run a tuck-shop"

Andrew: "I'd be little unhappier"

Jenny: "Probably something much less varied and interesting with more predictable hours, pay and holidays. I wanted to be a vet when I was little but then realised you had to be good at science"

Chrissie: "Hopefully i'd be making things in some capacity. I think my gymnast days are over"

Elliot: :"I'd probably be someone who drinks less coffee and has better posture. But, that someone would have an overwhelming sense that a big part of their life was missing"


What does the future hold for Peepshow?
We are planning a book, which was originally set to mark our tenth anniversary but is increasingly looking like it will mark the 11th or 12th. 2011 should also see our first solo show outside of the UK, more 'Heavy Pencil' live drawing and music events and hopefully lots of exciting commercial/personal illustration and animation projects.

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Peepshow Interview with Lydia Fulton for Varoom Magazine, 2008

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE NAME PEEPSHOW AND WHEN DID IT ALL START?
It started in 2000 with seven of us creating a website to showcase our individual work. The website was based on a peephole, showing a glimpse of our illustration portfolios and so the name Peepshow seemed perfect.
The website was simply a way for us to show our work together, at that time we weren’t aiming to create a collective but we slowly started working together. Our first exhibition was a collection of work shown within one space, then it continued to develop in an organic way and over time clients started to contact us. In 2004 we moved into a studio together and received our first big animation commission, as a collective.

IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE PEEPSHOW IN ONE SENTENCE?
The strength of 10 brains, twenty eyes and one hundred fingers.

CAN YOU TALK BRIEFLY ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND TRAINING?
We all studied illustration, most of us at Brighton University. Illustration and animation is at the core of our training and that is reflected in the work we produce.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF WORKING WITHIN A COLLECTIVE?
When one of us has a meeting we always take everyone’s work with us to show – so we help raise each other’s profile! If we are struggling we have each other for advice, we share all costs and by collaborating we end up working on projects that challenge us and take us out of our comfort zone. It is also lovely to come to a nice studio to work together! The disadvantages are contrasting opinions and balancing the amount of work. We all have our own individual commissions as well as the Peepshow work, so although we try to integrate them it can be difficult to balance both.

DO YOU THINK COMMISSIONING A COLLECTIVE IS MORE APPEALING FOR CLIENTS?
Clients can get a great deal by coming to a collective as they have numerous creatives to work for them instead of one. The final outcome is less predictable when you commission a collective as there is not one set individual style to show. However, clients trust in us that the outcome will be right.

HOW DOES A COLLABORATION AFFECT THE OWNERSHIP RIGHTS AND CREDITS?
If more than one member of Peepshow are working on a commission then it is a Peepshow credit. Sometimes projects will come in that only requires one person in which case that individual is credited. Peepshow owns the rights for all our joint work.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF COLLECTIVES IN THE ILLUSTRATION INDUSTRY?
Working within a collective allows more creative freedom than working alone, it also encourages you to create more of the work you want to do and to take more of an art direction role. The client will come to a collective with a project and not have a clear idea of what the outcome will be, whereas with a solo illustrator you don’t tend to have a say, you just have to fulfil a brief. Clients tend to put their trust in a collective like they would with a design company.

CAN YOU NAME SOME IMAGE-MAKERS, PAST OR PRESENT THAT INTEREST OR INSPIRE YOU?
As a collective we are inspired by each other. Margaret Huber was a great tutor at Brighton and then after college we spent a year assisting Graham Rawle on his Expo 2000 exhibition. It was during this time that we realised we liked working together as a group. It made us feel excited about future possibilities, so Graham is a huge inspiration for us.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT COMMISSIONS ARE FAIRLY DISTRIBUTED BETWEEN THE TEN MEMBERS?
There has never been a disagreement over who works on which project and it seems to even out really well. It is very natural as we all have different styles so the person’s style that suits that particular project does the work.
Certain individual styles fit together better within the collective – so that tends to decide who collaborates with who, but it changes for each project. No one steps on anyone else’s toes.

WHAT ARE YOUR CREATIVE AMBITIONS?
To be more involved in projects at an earlier stage, shape ideas and have more creative freedom. The Saatchi windows we worked on last year were great and we have just made our first live action music video so it would be wonderful to do more of those.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR COLLECTIVES WHO ARE STARTING OUT?
There are many collectives starting out who don’t always have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and that’s a problem. Peepshow came together very naturally, to support each other, and we worked hard for years to establish our styles and be confident with our individual identities. Those strong roots are important for a successful collective. People tend to forget about the business side of a collective. Peepshow is a company. It takes time to learn how to deal with clients and a brief – it can’t be rushed. So our advice is don’t try too hard, it has to evolve organically.

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Peepshow Interview with Michael Burns for Digit Magazine, December 2005 by Miles Donovan

CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF A CASE WHERE THE COLLABORATIVE NATURE OF THE COLLECTIVE ENABLED A PROJECT TO BE COMPLETED?
The 'Diesel Dreammaker' animation project for the Diesel Clothing company is a good example of Peepshow working collectively together. Our 60 sec animation entitled 'Our Disco is Freezing', was commissioned by Cramer Krasselt in Amsterdam. They asked 30 Illustrators, photographers and film-makers from 17 countries to create a 60 second animation or film, we were one of the lucky chosen few.
Who was it for, what delivery format was it in, how long did it take?From initial concepts, Key frames, discussions with client through to final Quicktime delivery I guess about six weeks.

CAN YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE INITIAL COMMISSIONING AND CREATIVE STAGES OF THIS PROJECT?
Can you briefly describe the initial commissioning (if any) and creative stages of this project?
It was a very open brief, which is always great, we were supplied with a photograph which we were asked to take inspiration from. We all sat down in the studio and came up with a massive list of different elements we wanted to animate, then found situations and scenarios to place these in, storyboarding the different sequences as we went along. When it came to production all eleven members of Peepshow were involved in one way or another. Chrissie worked on production and contact with the client, Luke, Andrew and Jenny on the animation, Luke Directing, everyone else artworked the various characters and scenarios.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE SOME OTHER NOTABLE ASPECTS OF THE CREATIVE/DEVELOPMENT PROCESS?
With all projects we generally assign one person to oversee the project, it means that although everyone has a say in the project there is someone in place with the final say, this helps enormously and gives the project structure. We work in quite an organic and often experimental way with ideas changing as they go along, so having a single person to oversee this process is essential.

IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS ON THIS PROJECT THAT STICKS IN YOUR MIND?
The short deadline meant everyone really pulled together, we found new ways of achieving the results we wanted collectively, and because of the tight budget we were forced into finding cheap and experimental alternatives to certain things, all the stop frame material in the animation is shot with really cheap single shot digital cameras for instance. We had recently moved into the same studio together and without this its unlikely we would of been able to work on the project, its just too difficult having everyone work from different studios, its achievable but really slows down the creative process if everyone is in a different place.

DID THE FACT THAT A COLLECTIVE PRODUCED THE WORK MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
We have eleven completely different styles of work running together throughout the animation, its unlikely a single illustrator or animator would be able to achieve this, I think it really comes across that there was a great deal of input from lots of different people in the animation. The difficult bit is finding a way to combine these different elements and finding a way to make everything gel within the same frame. It was the first time we realized this was achievable and have gone on to work on more projects in a similar vein.

HOW WAS IT RECEIVED?
It's lead to other projects and not just animation based ones, we got a lot of great press from it, it certainly raised our profile. The animations were all over the internet and given away free with magazines like Dazed and Confused.

WHY DID YOU JOIN/FORM A COLLECTIVE? HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN GOING AND HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE INVOLVED?
Peepshow was founded in 2000, by six graduates of The University Of Brighton, where we studied together between 1995-1998. It started after several of us assisted Illustrator Graham Rawle on a huge installation at Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany. The collective expanded in 2002 taking the total number involved to 11. We initially formed the collective as a way of collectively promoting ourselves, sharing clients and spliting the costs of publicity. A Web-based collective site of six illustrators, we then started exhibiting together for the first time since we were students, collaborating on projects, animation etc over time. We eventually moved into the same studio in the East of London at the start of 2004, its changed the structure of the collective, allows us to work on more projects and make decisions quickly. Before the studio, we used to meet in the pub every few weeks over a few pints, all our decisions had to be made on the spot.

WHAT ADVANTAGE DOES A DESIGN COLLECTIVE OFFER THE DESIGNER BOTH CREATIVELY AND FROM A GETTING WORK POINT OF VIEW?
A collective offers lots of different opinions and voices, a variety of working styles and the ability to work across media. We all graduated in Illustration but Peepshow currently work on animation, art direction, design and styling, media we didn't we wouldn't of even considered a few years ago, when the offer of something comes in we accept it with open arms, its great to see what you can achieve.

WHAT ISSUES/CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE WITHIN A COLLECTIVE THAT YOU DON'T AS A SOLE DESIGNER OR AS SOMEONE WORKING A NORMAL STUDIO?
The ability to compromise your ideas is probably the biggest challenge for everyone, alongside delegation of tasks.

IT MUST BE HARD TO FIND LIKE-MINDED DESIGNERS, AND ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO CAN WORK TOGETHER WELL - ANY POINTS YOU CAN MENTION ON THE MECHANICS OF THIS?
Most of us have know each other for over ten years now, since the start of our degree, over time you get to know how each other work and think. Luckily we get on, I guess we wouldn't be doing it if we didn't. The dynamic of the group is very important and if one person leaves to pursue something else it would change dramatically. I don't think you get many graduating years that actively want to work together and stay friends for such a long time, we've been very lucky.

WHAT DO YOU DO IF IT ALL GOES WRONG? ANY HORROR STORIES SO FAR?
No horror stories I'm afraid, we've had three people leave Peepshow since we formed, but its all amicable. No dirt here sorry to say.

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Peepshow Interview with Lawrence Zeegen for Computer Arts Magazine, 2009

MD: Miles Donovan
SW: Spencer Wilson

WHAT DO YOU THINK HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST DEVELOPMENTS FOR ILLUSTRATION GENERALLY SINCE 2000?

MD. Not necessarily sure they are all developments, but I certainly think Illustration has become much more multi-disciplinary in the last ten years, the doors are open to someone that studies Illustration to do all kinds of things, set design, animation, art direction, exhibitions, events, publishing. Perhaps more scope than any other subject in many ways. Obviously the introduction of technology to Illustration has had a big impact in the last ten years.

SW. Personally the biggest development i've seen is the continuing power of the computer and the increased functionality of the software, enabling me create and develop my work with the control i want and the speed that editors require. A wider observation would be the proliferation of courses, books and journals which have put illustration into the conscious of foundation students coupled with web savy graduates promoting and posting in cyberspace.

HOW HAS YOUR OWN WORKING PRACTICE EVOLVED DURING THIS TIME?

MD. Well from the year 2000 working on Expo with Graham Rawle in a freezing cold studio in Limehouse constructing a 10,000sq ft supermarket from junk to our current freezing cold studio in East London, it's been an interesting and varied ten years. My career in Illustration began ten years ago working exclusively on canvas and paper without the aid of the internet and has ended working almost exclusively on a computer with a very sore right shoulder. My processes have stayed the same throughout though, processes I learnt at college and have developed over time.

Technology has changed the industry and the nature of how work is made, delivered and researched. In 2000 I was still delivering artwork via a courier either as artwork or on CD/zip disk, sometimes very very slowly across a dial up connection at 56k. You had to plan a lot more, particularly if you needed to courier final artwork to a client abroad. Deadlines were longer. Because you can deliver artwork at the press of a button now it's speed up deadlines and changes in technology have determined how many rounds of revisions get made. Unfortunately clients know it's possible to change work because it's a digital file.

SW.Ive gone from a home office to a studio practice, from being essentially reactive to work offers to actively promoting through the collective voice of peepshow, from being single to married, to married with kids, from working on scraps of paper to using a sketchbook, from composing on images directly on the computer to creating roughs and planning, from creating clean vectors to embracing texture and hand draw elements, from vague doodles to having a focus in my personal work drawn form my sketchbook observations and thoughts, essentially i've grown into a commercial artist.

WHICH COMMISSIONS WERE BREAK-THROUGH FOR YOU DURING THIS PERIOD?

MD.For me personally signing with my agent Art Department and appearing in Angus Hyland’s ‘Pen & Mouse’ book in 2001. Starting to do a lot of editorial work in the states 2002/2003, being asked to do a portrait of Notorious B.I.G for Source Magazine, 110 portraits in two weeks for Madonna's Maverick Records which lead to a portrait of Elton John for a fleet of Canadian planes. Judging the 'DeFace the Face' competition. The two year run on The Observer Music Monthly. The 'Invisible' project I did with art collective Greyworld, huge UV portraits that can only be seen at night across Burnley in the UK. Lots really.

In terms of Peepshow, our first show at a tiny gallery in East London, 2001, moving into our first studio and our first collaborative animation for Diesel Dreams in 2004, The Saatchi windows in 2007, the first CBeebies animations and The Culture Show title Sequence for the BBC in 2008. The V&A fete in 2006 when we ran a fruit and veg stall. Travelling around the country to present our work at Universities and getting a great response wherever we went. Again lots. It’s been a good decade.

SW. In October 2005 I pitched on a Zanussi brief for BBH london, I was successful and won the work. The job went back and forth for months and in that period i had to put feet on my characters - something that i hated doing at the time. however in hindsight this has enabled me to develop my work and gain different commissions. Looking back at the pre-feet work it looks half complete. i'm at the same point now where i'm producing work without the keyline outline, warming my colour palette and and adding some textural qualities

WHAT INFLUENCES HAVE PLAYED OUT ACROSS YOUR CAREER AND BODY OF WORK?

MD.Our tutor at Brighton, Margaret Huber, who from an early stage was very supportive of letting us explore all kinds of avenues with our work, this stays with us today. Graham Rawle for giving us the opportunity to work together for the first time since college on the most amazing project.
Names that most often pop up at the studio: Kate Gibb, Geoff McFetridge, Tom Gauld, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Shynola, Paul Rand, Max Huber, m/m paris, M. Sasek. Sister Corita, Karel Martens, Will Sweeney. I could go on......

SW. I'm always looking at images through the web, friends and (rarely) books, reading papers, watching TV so i'm constantly absorbing and storing. Somewhere in my brain these leak out into my work as i draw it. the reason why i draw is the culmination of necessity, the enjoyment and making my parents proud - they gain great satisfaction from this and drive me on when work is quite or i'm in the doldrums.

NAME ONE PROJECT THAT HAS DEFINED YOU AND YOUR PORTFOLIO AND WHY?

SW. Zanussi. simple colour palette, graphic, expressive. the majority of my work is character heavy and i enjoy bringing them to life with expressions and body language propping them with limited surroundings.

MD. I've worked in lots of different ways across the years so it's hard to think of one single project, in terms of working out processes that I still use to this day and have developed along the way I'd still say some of the work I did at college 12 years ago, when I started to break down information, and re-build it using stencils and paint.

As for Peepshow I'd say the first animation 'My Disco is Freezing' for the Diesel Dreams Project in 2004, where we put all out work together for the first time. It's pretty crude looking back at it, but it was bit of a landmark for us at the time in terms of creating a house style. It lead to lots of other collaborative work including animations for Nike and Toyota.

YOUR FUTURE IN ILLUSTRATION?

MD. The million dollar question! I think collectively we are interested in working on more long term self initiated projects whether they be publishing or animation based. Everyone seems to be more interested in getting back to making there own individual work after years of working to a brief as well. We've got ten years of Peepshow to celebrate in 2010, so a party/exhibition is called for I think.

Personally I don't really follow trends in Illustration or keep an eye on it, there is so much work around on the internet it becomes bewildering. I'm still looking at the work of artists who have long since died. Who knows where we will be in another ten years or what work I'll be making, that's what's exciting about Illustration. In terms of who commissions it I think we will see a move away from magazines and newspapers to more of an online presence, hopefully Illustration will move into new exciting areas. We’ve just had a commission in from the New York Times to create an short animation for the online version of the newspaper, essentially a moving illustration, this could well be the future and we are in a good position if that’s what is going to happen, we’ve worked on animation projects for six years now.

SW. My future... to continually develop through experience and enjoyment the future of illustration...is in the hands of the educators, the driven, political policies, technology and revivals. I'll be going out and buying up all the old print books, annuals and out of copyright reference books mouse at the ready

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT THAT YOU'D LIKE TO IMPART TO OTHERS EMBARKING ON A CAREER IN ILLUSTRATION?

MD. A simple easy to navigate website that is regularly updated, and a hardcopy folio for the advertising work (for some reason advertising companies still insist on a physical object). A regularly sent out email newsletter is a good way to remind people you are still out there.

Always, always spell check your biography, cv and captions and then check them again and again. Poor spelling is an instant no-no.

Think about tailor making promotional material to the people you are sending it to. It’s better to send ten beautifully designed objects you have thought about than sending a hundred to a list and hoping for some success. Massive PDF portfolios as email attachments are a no-no.

Keep on top of your client list, an online subscriptions list as a great way for yourself and others to changes details on a regular basis. Clients move jobs a great deal in this industry.

Stay in touch with the people you graduated with and the people you have met along the way since, a great deal of our collaborations happen with people we met years ago.

Be Polite

SW. Be humble, self critical, learn some business skills and do the washing up from time to time in the studio

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Peepshow interview with Digital Arts Magazine by Miles Donovan, 2010

THE WORD COLLECTIVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COLLECTIVE?
The strength of 10 brains, twenty eyes and one hundred fingers.

WHAT ADVANTAGES WOULD YOU SAY THERE ARE TO FORMING A COLLECTIVE LIKE YOURS OVER SETTING UP AN AGENCY?
We are mistaken for an agency quite a lot, but they are completely different things, an illustration agency is essentially a business with someone in charge, taking commission on every job, sorting out the finances and quite often managing the project. We are in an ideal position in that we do all that ourselves by managing our website, running the business side of things with all the experience and knowledge we've picked up over the last ten years. If we need help with larger scale advertising work, each of us has an agent who can handle it. Most of us have agents in the U.S.A and France. Peepshow is actually closer aligned to a design studio in reality.

HOW DO YOU FEEL THE INDUSTRY PERCEIVES COLLECTIVES?
Different collectives offer different things and are trying to achieve different things. Peepshow is a group of like minded individuals who met at college, enjoyed collaborating, and have just stuck together. We pride ourselves on the quality of work that comes out of the studio, our professionalism and hard work, I would hope this is how our clients and the industry view us.

WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN ACCEPTING NEW PEOPLE INTO THE COLLECTIVE?
There are many many Illustrators and animators whose work we admire but no one has joined Peepshow in five years, we are a closed group. A few people have left over the years and we continue to collaborate with people outside of our discipline like photographers and designers but we are currently a pretty solid group of ten. It's hard enough the ten of us trying to agree and collaborate on something without anyone else joining! We are frequently asked if people can submit work for inclusion on the site, but it's a polite 'no' each time.


WHAT BENEFITS ARE THERE FOR PEOPLE IN JOINING UP WITH A COLLECTIVE?
When one of us has a meeting we always take everyone’s work with us to show, so we help raise each other’s profile. If we are struggling we have each other for advice, we share all costs and by collaborating we end up working on projects that challenge us and take us out of our comfort zone. It is also lovely to come to a nice studio to work together! The disadvantages are contrasting opinions and balancing the amount of work. We all have our own individual commissions as well as the Peepshow work, so although we try to integrate them it can be difficult to balance both.


AT A TIME WHERE MORE AND MORE CREATIVES ARE MULTI-DISCIPLINED, COLLECTIVES SEEM TO ME TO ALLOW DESIGNERS AND ARTISTS TO CONTINUE TO SPEIALISE. WHAT IMPACT, IF ANY, IS THIS LIKELY TO HAVE ON THE INDUSTRY?
Well it hopefully makes for a more interesting industry. We are starting to see a move away from the printed page to online content. We've just finished an animation for the New York Times which is essentially a moving Illustration for their website, editorial commissioning could move in this direction and with over ten years of animation experience this sees us ideally placed. I think it will become increasingly difficult to exist solely as an Illustrator in the future as budgets are getting cut worldwide. The multi-disciplianry nature of what we've been doing for the last ten years puts us in good stead. As a group we work on installations, animation, art direction, illustration, exhibitions and self publishing. We've never been scared of a challenge since Expo 2000 in Germany when we constructed a 4,000sq ft supermarket installation with the Illustrator Graham Rawle.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE THINKING OF FORMING A COLLECTIVE?
Peepshow came together very naturally, to support each other, and we worked hard for years to establish our styles and be confident with our individual identities. Those strong roots are important for a successful collective. So our advice is don’t try too hard, it has to evolve organically.


WHAT THINGS ARE LIKELY TO MAKE A NEWLY-FORMED COLLECTIVE FAIL?
Share of work, lack of trust, egos and not listening to the needs of others. We are a group of individuals who work individually and come together when the need arrises or we feel like it would be fun. That is the most important thing to keep a collective going. That and bad financial planning.

WHY DID YOU SET UP PEEPSHOW?
Peepshow was set up as a way of facilitating self promotion, sharing clients and expenses and to make the experience of being an Illustrator more fun. Power in numbers as they say.

WHO SET UP PEEPSHOW?
Peepshow was founded in the autumn of 2000 by Graham Carter, Miles Donovan, Chris Joscelyne, Chrissie Macdonald, Andrew Rae, Lucy Vigrass and Spencer Wilson, who all graduated from the University of Brighton BA Illustration course in 1998. We were later joined by Luke Best, Marie O'Connor, Jenny Bowers, Elliot Thoburn, Orko and Pete Mellor. Chris Joscelyne, Graham Carter and Orko left the ranks in 2005.

IS PEEPSHOW AN ILLUSTRATION AGENCY?
No, we are a collective and are not currently looking to take on new members.

WILL YOU ANSWER DISSERTATION QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS?
It can be difficult to get back to individual questions and in most cases we would refer you to our frequently asked questions, most subjects are covered. Please check here first with any queries and keep popping back because this F.A.Q section is regularly updated.

CAN I APPLY FOR AN INTERNSHIP AT PEEPSHOW?
We do not offer work experience or internships at Peepshow, most of the time we are working on projects which don't allow for additional help.

CAN I SEND MY WORK IN FOR REVIEW/COMMENTS
Due to the high number of enquires we receive it is not possible to get back to individuals with feedback regarding Illustration or animation portfolios.

ARE YOU REPRESENTED BY ILLUSTRATION AGENCIES?
Miles, Jenny and Lucy are represented by Art Department in New York and Serlin Associates in London & Paris.
Spencer is represented by Synergy in London and Tiphaine in France.
Andrew is represented by Bernstein & Andriulli in New York and Tiphaine in France.
Luke is represented by Heart in London and New York.
Chrissie is represented by Rock of Eye in Australia.

DO YOU ALLOW STUDENT VISITS TO PEEPSHOW HQ?
Unfortunately no, our doors are closed to visitors. Not even if you promise to bring biscuits.

WILL PEEPSHOW MAKE PRESENTATIONS AT UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES?
Sometimes, it depends how busy we are. In the past we have travelled to The Arts Institute in Bournemouth, The University of Brighton, The University of Leeds, The London College of Communication, Camberwell College of Arts, The University of the West of England, The Havering College of Further and Higher Education, Central St Martins School Of Art and Design and Kingston University London.

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Q&A with Peepshow's animation director, Pete Mellor, 2011

So...
I graduated from the same illustration BA from Brighton as most of the rest of Peepshow, and went on to the RCA to do an MA in animation. I was often around on edges of Peepshow activities - and was even present in the pub when the name Peepshow was decided upon (over the two other options: 'Steve' and 'Big In Germany'). I was working as an animator and compositor at design company Intro prior to joining Peepshow full time.

Beside animation and moving image what other duties do you have within Peepshow (do you really run a small tuck shop behind the studio)?

No, I do not run a tuck-shop. But that's the dream. A lot of the work we do as a collective requires lots of ideas and I am always glad to be a part of that process as that is the most fun - although there is a 45 min time limit on the sensible ideas before the crazy ideas start and you end up with bears in a bin or Brian May on a Toblerone.

Can you describe a typical day in the studio alongside your peers, are there any ‘set procedures’ you all follow?

We are all freelance within a collective - so there is no guarantee of who will be there on any one day. Suffice to say the coffee goes on first and then you try to get your head down and get on with some work... until the phone starts to ring or the emails start to come in and interrupt you. Working in an industry like this you can have very stressful days where there is a lot of frustration and you can have very fun days where everyone is in good spirits and it doesn't feel like a job at all.

I read somewhere that there are only 2 ‘qualified’ animators in Peepshow, does this mean that you have complete control over art-direction on animation projects or is there a mixture from outside clients and other members?

Jenny and I both studied animation at the RCA but both Luke and Andrew are very good animators too. As far as animation direction goes I pretty much have complete control but when it comes to art-direction I will only really have some suggestions, as the rest of Peepshow are such talented image-makers. I suppose I often have an idea in my head what the job will look like but part if the joy of being in a collective is that those preconceptions can change or made better by the involvement of others. I personally think there is a lot of well animated but ugly work out there because not all good animators are good designers. I am lucky to be surrounded by brilliant illustrators and designers.

Is it difficult working as an animator in a busy studio environment with other art disciplines?

People often describe animation as a lonely business but I have never found that. It is good to be surrounded by busy people and although it can occasionally be distracting it is often good to be taken away from the computer for a moment as you will come back to a scene with fresh eyes.

What impact did the establishment of the studio have on achieving Peepshow’s success? Do you think it is possible to rely on purely digital communications for a collective to succeed?
I think if there hadn't been a studio then Peepshow would not have lasted this long - or would not be what it is now. We are quite spread out with members now living in Tokyo, Stockholm and Stroud - but as we have a strong foundation as a collective this works out fine. The studio allows us to come together to work on a Peepshow project with relative ease - although it can still be quite difficult to get more than a handful of Peepshow members in one room at the same time. I am not saying it can't work relying on digital communications but we would not have had the ideas or created the work we have without face to face discussions and debates.

The style of imagery varies throughout the Peepshow animations- how do you decide on the appropriate working style and is it a collaborative decision?
Normally the brief or the idea will immediately inform the style. So even if everyone has been involved in creating the idea or writing the script we all know who will do the best work for the job - it's a very generous room in that way - probably because no one works in a similar way so no one steps on anyone else's toes.

You have worked with a variety of clients, some larger and more established, does this affect the creative control you have with the brief?

All clients and all jobs are different. So you can have a big client who wants endless, seemingly unnecessary changes and tweaks but you can also have a big client who has done so much work that they are experienced enough to know that they have selected you for a reason and leave you alone to do what you do best. Likewise you can have a small client with no money who expects the earth. It keeps you on your toes so we rarely have a dull day.

Do you think illustrators should all have some reasonable technical knowledge with animation skills to collaborate with animators?

Most illustrators have a knowledge of storytelling and are natural communicators so those are really all the skills necessary to work with an animator. The other aspect of animation (which can be quite frustrating for an animator) is that everyone can have an opinion on the way something moves - should it be quicker, slower, lighter, heavier. It's all physics. So it can be a very inclusive medium regardless of technical know-how.

In some of the animations/moving images there is a combination of animation techniques combined with filmed material (in particular the CBeebies Tadpole), what techniques are used here?

In the original CBeebies films we used a combination of moving artwork in After Effects and also some stop-frame animation and some photographed elements. A lot of the artwork comes through Photoshop so can be imported easily (with some tweaks) to make it animation ready, and other elements were printed out, cut out and photographed to match the camera angles from the shoot. As it is all coming from the same hands all the elements work well together and don't feel too collaged.

Can there be difficulties in working when three parties are involved, for example with the Toyota animation – Peepshow, Toyota and BluBlancRouge where involved?

Most projects will have a set-up like Toyota - a client, an agency and us. For example the CBeebies films: CBeebies was the client, Red Bee Media was the agency and we were the production company. It is a little simpler when there are fewer parties involved - such as The Culture Show or DDB - where we were working directly for the client - it simply means there are clearer lines of communication.

How does a collaborative animation process work (like the Kantar Montage, Van Marcke/ Unicef, or Artificial Noise) from ideas generation (and storyboarding) through to completion?

It's quite a simple process really - once we have the brief we will sit down with whoever feels interested in the project (or is available to work on the project) and start to generate some ideas. At this stage the art-direction naturally starts to happen too - as people think visually. Lots of ideas are formed, rejected, re-worked and some decisions are made. The most important decision is what direction the look of the film will take as this allows me to tailor the storyboarding process to fit with the style. Once the treatment and storyboard have been approved the artwork creation begins while an animatic is timed out to make sure all the ideas will fit into the screen time. Then the process starts for real. At all these stages the look and feel is refined, ideas are tweaked and changed and the animation takes shape - with everyone involved throwing in their feedback.

Differences in decisions and delegations must have occurred, how do you overcome these?

To be honest it rarely happens. Once a project starts to go down a particular route it is quite clear who will be involved and who won't. The only difference of opinion arises at the ideas stage - as you can become wedded to an idea that the group doesn't feel works.

I particularly thought the music worked well in Kantar Montage and Unicef, how does that get selected?

We often have a certain musical style in mind when the job starts to come together - so we brief our good friend Simon Keep / Holkham to do what he does best. He almost always gets the music right for our animations. And sometimes we make the music ourselves - Andrew is a very talented multi-intrumentalist and enjoys getting the opportunity to make music for the animations - he did the music for Chesapeake, Secret Santa and for the 2010 animated Christmas Card.

Collaborating with Luke Best and Andrew Rae, who I see as illustrators who have different working styles, do you generally find you need to adapt different animating methods to styles?

Absolutely. And that is what keeps the job interesting. Although it has been observed that all the characters I animate - whether created by Andrew, Luke, Spencer or myself - move a bit like me. So I suppose that bit's always the same.

What noticeable difference is there between animations produced in the collective and individually?

Generally speaking the work I might do individually is not as pretty. So I try to involve someone from Peepshow even if it's not a job for the Collective proper.

Are fees for projects still being divided, with 15% returning back into the collective for promotions and similar costs?

Not any more. Since then we have set up as a limited company so the benefits from that allow for money to be spent on promotion and investment.

Has working together for 11 years been all smooth sailing?

I think it has been very important that Peepshow were friends with mutual respect and admiration for one another before Peepshow existed. That way even if you have a dispute (which is rare) about something at work you can't hold on to it for long as you will be having a beer together at the end of the week. And it must have been pretty smooth sailing as 2 members are married and 2 others have a baby!

Can the Peepshow Collective continue to grow, in an industry which is seeing a huge increase in collectives and collaborations?

As Peepshow matures we would like to take on bigger projects - but there are only so many of us and that won't change - so we are quite happy with the gradual and organic way that the Collective has worked so far. Continuing to do good work that we enjoy is still the main reason for keeping it going. Although there is a growing need to do something more enduring though - a book, a group film, a TV show, a graphic novel - something less throw away than purely commercial or editorial work. That's because we are all getting older.

Animation itself is naturally a multi-disciplinary practice, one quite unique in the Peepshow collective, what role has animation had within the collective and is there potential to develop and with the impact that technology continues to have on the industry, will Peepshow place more emphasis on animation and moving image?

Animation has definitely been an enjoyable part of what Peepshow does. I think it is one of the few avenues that allows the illustrators to break out of what they do on a day-to-day basis and try something a bit different or bend what they do to work in collaboration with one another. And apart from group shows and installations it is one of the best ways for different members of Peepshow to work together and hopefully create something surprising and different. That desire to do something different will keep things moving forward.

Can Peepshow still be described as ‘the strength of 10 brains, twenty eyes and one hundred fingers’?

While it is definitely harder to get all 10 brains, 20 eyes and 100 fingers all working at the same time the working method and reason for doing this have not changed. And until every possible combination of Peepshow artists working on a project has been exhausted there is still the opportunity to be surprised by what we produce.

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Q&A with Marie O'Connor

I first saw your work in the book' Hand to Eye, Contemporary Illustration'.
The book seems to show how experimental illustration now is, and how there has also been a move to a more hand-crafted style. Your work seems to have this style too, and I wondered what is it about this style that you like?

At college I actually studied textile design, so I have always been a ‘maker’ (more so than an ‘image-maker’ back then) and I was always aware of tactility. I like the fact that what I produce looks evidently hand-made. It’s not too slick, it’s not trying too hard to be anything it isn’t. You can see how it’s fixed, that it’s an object. I think while I do things physically and find the ideas can grow and I also have greater control this way.

To achieve more hand-crafted images, what methods or techniques do you like to use in your work?
Some approaches to making work : look, collect, think, read, photograph, draw, cut, paste, build, photograph, draw, print, cut, collage, look, dismantle, move, stick, stitch (not always in that order).
It is very much about putting things together in a temporary way, moving things around and assembling in a way that while being considered is hopefully not contrived. Placement and composition is very important to me. I like my images to be a little awkward, and find that this happens when I don't think too much about what I'm doing.
I like the 'things' to take over, and give me clues to what they want to do, how they feel, or how they want to be seen in relation to each other.

What inspires you to create new images?
I tend to work on self-initiated projects, which I might then take to a magazine or other suitable outlet although I do get commissions too, from ad jobs to textile prints.
I will have an idea in my head, perhaps inspired by random thoughts or of a permanent fixation, but usually (although not always) without a final outcome in mind. A vague idea, found materials and bits + bobs go into creating a sensibility, and that determines my approach stylistically, which, in turn, can re-inform the concept of the story/artwork/print and influence the final outcome.
My inspiration often comes from mistakes or the nature of 'making do', or things which are out of place, out of context - bad diy, craft techniques, home-made, chairs/mattresses on the street, roof gardens, people who wear rolled up plastic bags as hats on a rainy day, arte povera, broken spectacles with tape etc etc....so I suppose what I‘m really interested in is making the most of limitations or playing with how things are supposed to function whether it’s an image, an instruction, an object etc.

I also look at a lot of stimulus, try to read and try to research and learn as much as I can. Things to get my eyes, brain and hands excited. It might sound a bit strange, but there’s nothing like a library to get me going. Fashion, architecture and theatre are always big influences. I also like it when my desk is a bit of a mess. I get to see things that I wouldn’t necessarily put together occupy some kind of space; they can be quite random, and materially very different, but look quite exciting next to each other. Things that step on each others’ toes a bit. That’s nice.

How did you start out as an illustrator?
After graduating I moved to London in 2000 to do the rounds with my folio.
I was taking it around various places – textile agencies, fashion labels, graphic design companies etc – to get some feedback and to see if there was any way we might work together in some capacity. I knew exactly who I was approaching and why they might be interested in seeing what I was doing at the time. That’s really important – do your research, know your market.
As a result of this I became studio assistant to the fashion label ‘i.e.uniform’, and was represented by art management Creative Union. I began to get commissions for illustration work and worked on some exciting projects. It was an enormous learning curve for me but I was very lucky to have very kind and supportive people around me who helped enormously. After a number of successful seasons I decided to leave i.e.uniform and became entirely freelance. And here I am.


I am an illustration student at the moment, do you have any advice for someone studying at the moment to work in the industry?
Well, I came to illustration by accident really so I may not have a typical story to tell or advice to give. I think that it’s good to be aware of other illustration/design/visual arts/what’s going on around you, so you know what others are doing or have done. Not to suggest that you do the same or be self consciously ‘different’ but just to have that bit of knowledge. Also, this applies to agencies, design firms etc because if you want to work for people or get commissions, you want to know their background/what they do/who they represent etc.
Also it has to be said that you should make the most of being at college because you really can devote time to your work, your visual language + your ideas. Oh, and have a bit of fun as well.

Do you have any projects you are currently working on or recently finished that you particularly enjoyed?
I think the project that I am most pleased with is a recent collaboration with fashion label Evisu. Although it wasn’t illustration-based, it shows the range of things I work on. I designed a new shoe shape in my final year at college, and when I moved to London kept it under wraps for a while until I could get someone to invest in it, financially or practically. I worked with Evisu on it, who manufactured and launched it in oki-ni last year and should be going international fairly soon. It’s also just won a Design Distinction Award in International Design Magazine’s Annual Design Review 2005. Hooray etc.
It was satisfying for me because it was something that I had invented and it was made real. The idea behind it is completely integral to most of what I do so it will always be an important project for me.

What are your hopes and wishes for the future of illustration?
I hope I can continue to develop my own ideas in a more 3D way, build stuff, make stuff to look at/wear/use. Generally, I think that illustration is growing evermore varied and it’s always exciting to see what people can create under that title, especially the lovely members of the illustrious Peepshow collective. What a talented bunch they are. I’m their biggest fan.



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Q&A with Andrew Rae

Do you ever find it hard to combat the urge to create the image at the risk of steering away from the brief slightly? How easy do you find it to stay on brief?
It depends on the job. The rule tends to be that the more you’re being paid the less control you have. Sometimes it’s very difficult to stay on brief if you don’t see eye to eye with the client.

How long do you usually get given to complete a brief?
It varies a huge amount. For an editorial job you normally get a couple of days…. They have a habit of calling last thing on a Friday and wanting to see something early on Monday which can be taxing at times but you get used to evaluating how much you can achieve in the time. The longest I’ve taken on a job was nearly two months working on one image which was a poster for MTV (you can see it on my site) there was so much work involved that it was pretty solid working the whole time and I didn’t take anything else on….
Publishing work such as Book jackets give you loads of time probably more than a month… but generally Illustration work has a very quick turn around….

How long do you usually spend researching your brief before you actually begin drawing and doing layouts?
I can’t really pin it down like that, I don’t really separate research and drawing and layout as it’s all part of an ongoing process.
If I need to send a rough and I haven’t immediately had an idea then I tend to start looking for imagery and ideas to help spark ideas, But once I have the ideas it’s an ongoing process of finding imagery, drawing, finding new imagery and revising and composing.
I have a large selection of books that I always go back to and in the studio we tend to all share our books. For instance the other day I needed a picture of Yousouf Ishmaelo “The Terrible Turk” so when I asked “Does anyone have any pictures of turn of the century Turkish wrestlers” I didn’t expect a positive response but as it happened Miles who I share a studio with had a book on the History of Wrestling with a picture of that very Wrester in it, who’d have thought it!

I often find it hard to plan my work because the urge to get creative and begin drawing is so strong. How long do you spend planning your work?
I often find it’s best to follow this urge and let the work and process help define the way the image comes out.
I think the idea that you can sit down and come up with a fully formed idea then go away and produce a finished piece is a fallacy. It’s not possible to work that way. When I start I’m never sure in my head how it’s going to come out and if I was I then the process would be a lot more boring…. I don’t know how Lichtenstein didn’t go nuts doing those paintings I can’t see where the fun is in that….
I’ve tried to create processes that add a bit of chance in what I’m doing and I don’t always draw with a finished image in mind. The beauty of working on a computer is the amount of freedom it gives you to make changes along the way so I’d be a fool not to make the most of this fact…..

How rough is the initial work of the idea that you would show the client before beginning a detailed drawing?
Very… I find the rougher it is the more freedom and space it gives me to make changes as I produce the work.

How many meetings would you normally have with a client, or is the client emailed the stages of work and never usually met in person?
Advertising people like to meet you as much as possible but always at their place conveniently for them. for other jobs particularly editorial you may never meet them, although we do try to have barbecues at the studio and exhibitions and the such like which are a good way to meet people face to face. I do prefer to meet clients in person if only cause it’s nice to put a face to a name but many jobs.

I have been told that illustrators only get commissioned if they have one strong style, and they will usually be asked to draw in that same style. Do you feel frustrate that you are always asked to work in the same style?
No I have a way of working that I’m happy with which is essentially the quality of line and the way of drawing but it also gives me enough freedom to alter composition, colour, texture, lighting, hand drawn text, and the content of the image, and it can be used in so many different contexts, editorial, advertising, animation, web, publishing, prints etc. so there’s enough there to keep me interested.

Are you constantly working or are there sudden lapses in work? If so have you had to get another part-time job or another means of working to fall back on?
Constantly working, as a freelancer if there’s no working coming in then you need to make the work coming in and I have many personal projects always sitting in the background waiting for attention.