Today, we are joined by Tom McCarten, he is a Graphic Designer. You can view his portfolio here.

  • How would you describe your style of work?

I definitely have a preference for a tactile/handmade look and try to blend as much of that into my work as practicable. It’s just something you can’t replicate in a computer and I like getting stuck in with my hands so I’m not always staring at a flickering monitor.

  •  What advice would you offer to creatives hoping to follow a similar route?

Work hard and even if what you are making sucks – Just keep making things you like and make it a routine and you’ll get better. My Dad once told me it takes 1000 hours to be good at something but 10000 hours to be great at it – it’s hard to perceive that and be patient when you are just starting out and are ambitious as hell. Keep going – you’ll get better and one day someone will be crazy enough to give you an opportunity.

  • What creative designers inspire your work today?

Guys like Johnny Kelly, CRCR and Julien VallĂ©e have always inspired me for their use of color and composition. There’s also really some talented Kiwi’s, Lucas Brooking, Curtis Baigent and Robert Wallace that have been blowing my mind lately.

  • What has been your favourite project to date? Why?

I recently had the opportunity to do a short I dent for a studio in Auckland called Wax eye. This was really great as I had pretty much carte blanche to make something cool. It took about seven days to finish even though it’s only ten seconds but woke up every morning hungry to get into it and it all came easily when I’m that fired up.

  • What software do you use?

I’m primarily versed in Adobe After effects for animation and I design in either Photoshop or Illustrator depending on the project. I use either Maya or Cinema 4D when I want to delve into 3D.

  • Do you have any hints for people interested in the industry, any ideas on how to get started in motion graphics?

It is initially a technical skills based industry when you start out – You have to get your head around the tools and work hard to get your speed up – once you have the skills, people are generally willing to give you chance to show them what you’ve got as long as you aren’t too demanding.

  • Are there one or two things you wish you had known when you were just starting out?

Don’t expect too much too soon. Also in your first year while you are used to living like a student get out there and offer to do some work for free for cool projects – this will get you valuable contacts and work to sell yourself on. Once you are in a salaried job often the fun projects and opportunities will be a lot scarcer and it becomes harder to promote yourself.

  • What is the single most important thing you need to do or be to excel in our industry?

People skills – you have to be able to relate to potential employers, clients, crew and staff. It’s really how you get your foot in the door and how you plot your moves. You might be the most bad ass designer on earth but no one is going to hire you if you are a jerk to work with.

  •  If you could have a dream job in the industry, what would it be?

I’ve always admired studios like Buck, Golden Wolf, 2veinte and Giant Ant – they just consistently deliver big-time and continue to surprise me. Honestly though, as long as I continue to work with cool people and do more challenging work – I’m happy.

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