Today, we are joined by Tom Miatke . He is an Illustrator  You can view his portfolio here.

  • Firstly, I’d like to thank you for the interview. We’d like to understand how your interest for illustration started shaping up. Tell us a bit more about what made you go this route?

No, thank you very much for the interview! Very much appreciated! My interest in illustration has been around ever since I was a little kid. But it was while I was at University where it started to develop into what it is now. I don’t consider myself an illustrator by trade, not by any stretch of the imagination. I consider myself firstly a graphic designer but with a very keen interest in illustration and I believe both can, and do, influence each other. So it was very much in my graphic design studies that I really started to take a special interest in illustration.
Anyone who knows me on a personal level, knows how much I love movies and television shows. It was very fortunate for me then, as I was studying graphic design at university, that the boom in alternative/collectable movie posters came about and I was hooked. Here was both of my loves converging together and it made it a path I wanted to try my hand at. Combining my growing knowledge of graphic design and illustration with my love of movies and posters was a no-brainer for me and I set about taking the first baby steps into this world. However, as of late my tastes have changed slightly and my love for great illustration and design is taking precedence. It should not matter whether the graphic is for a movie poster, a gig poster or a children’s book, I will like an illustration if it is emotive, expressive and well composed. This is what made me go this route, I want to put my stamp on this illustrious field somehow.

  • What does your creative process look like?

My process is kind of messy to be honest, and often changes from project to project. Usually once I’ve been given a brief the creative juices will begin to flow. I feel it’s important at this point to delve into research. Whether it is for a movie poster or a logo, research is one of the most important aspects of the process and will usually make or break a piece in my personal opinion. Next up are thumbnail sketches. Whilst in the past I wasn’t a big sketcher, I have grown fond of it because it helps me to see if those wild ideas in my head are at all possible. My sketches never look good as such and are very simple, usually just basic shapes and slight definition in order to get something down on paper and thus push the project forward. Once I have jotted down some ideas I begin to shortlist them and refine mystrongest ideas. Usually at this point I have a pretty certain idea of where I want to head with the project. However in some cases I have had to abandon ideas because they were simply not strong enough to proceed with. Once I have settled on an idea I then begin the arduous (but immensely fun) process of seeing the graphic, illustration, logo or whatever it is come to realisation. After this it is an endless cycle of refining and adjusting, making sure things are appearing as I want them to and making sure I am happy with how it will be finished. Then, repeat for the next project!

  • Do you have any recommendations in terms of good books, programs you use, or media choices you’re willing to share with us?

I am not a massive book reader to be honest, however there are at least two books I can highly recommend but they are skewed heavily towards those who love movies and illustration. I can highly recommend the two books by Movie Poster artist Drew Struzan. His books are mind blowing to look at and read. His Ouevre is his collection of work with no real text but it is simply awesome to look through the gi-normous body of work on display and marvel at it. I find myself continually flicking through those pages and being amazed at his sense of composition and detail, whilst evoking the perfect mood for the movie he is illustrating. His other book outlines certain projects he was involved with including preliminary sketches and the ‘behind-the-scenes’ life of some of his most notable works. Very interesting stuff and I can highly recommend picking up a copy. I have just ordered the book ‘The Art of John Alvin’ which I imagine will be equally as good.

  • Could you describe how a productive day would look like from your point of view? Which are the most important hours for you?

This is one area I will admit I can struggle in, productivity. Ideally a productive day would be the classic 9-5 allotted time of work and having the evening to do what I pleased however any artist or freelancer will know that this isn’t the case (well most that I know of anyway). I seem to work best in the morning before lunch and after tea at night, it can be quite annoying but I seem to be able to focus more in the evening rather than in the afternoon, something I am trying to change.

  • What is your stance on today’s ever growing opportunities enabling artists to take on remote design work?

I personally think its amazing. Case in point, I live in a small rural town, about 4 hours away from the closest major city, yet because of the increase in the reach of the internet and each individual’s presence on the net, it has become possible to reach clients in other areas, sometimes other countries without having to be there in person. I think its a fantastic progression and hopefully one I am able to take advantage of more in the future.

  • What would you prefer: a steady, well paying job in a local agency, or the freedom and often stressful life of a freelancer? Why?

Its the age-old question asked of a designer/artist and one I still haven’t fully answered for myself. I would love to do freelance full time, the stress is fine as I seem to work much better under stress. However, as we all know, freelance work can also be unreliable and unstable. A steady job can be very appealing especially if one has a family to support because of the steady pay check. Ultimately my goal is to be totally freelance one day, but it has to be approached with a very smart and assured mindset, something I would love to say I have but something that I know is still being developed.

  • How would you describe “the ideal project”? Did you have any recent opportunities to come close to this?

The ideal project would be to work with with some big name studios or companies on movies in some capacity. I would love to work with Mondo (www.mondotees.com) one day as I love what they do, also a big forerunner in the alternative poster scene at the moment. I would also love to work on doing gig posters for bands. Its an avenue I want to head into if I can but the scene is flooded with brilliant artists already and I believe it could be hard to get into. I haven’t had any close opportunities as of yet, but hopefully something will pop up in the near future!