Illustrator Zac Fay tells us about doodling, cartoon watching and some solid hip-hop is all part of the creative process. Zac gives us some great creative inspo resources and how trying different styles & approaches to reaching the same goal, helps with creating a strong signature style.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? Since I can remember, I’ve been drawing, doodling and creating weird things. My parents really encouraged my creativity and ideas which really helped. The moment came on my first trip to Melbourne when I was 15 (I’m originally from Dunedin, New Zealand). Seeing the massive amounts of street art and vibrant colours was like nothing I’d seen and I loved it. While I was there I bought ‘Hand Job: A Catalog of Type’ by Mike Perry. After the trip, and hawking through the book cover to cover, I knew this was the world I wanted to surround myself in, so I haven’t stopped!
What does a typical working day include for you right now? I try my best to wake up early – even though I’m a major night freak, the intention is there! I make coffee as soon as I’m up, followed by a cartoon watching session (essential part of my creative process!). I’ll check out social media and make sure any enquiries and emails are answered. I’m always playing music and searching for new things to listen to – mostly hip hop (also an essential part of my creative process!). I’ll doodle for a while to get some ideas going for my personal work, then I’ll focus on any client work I have that day. When it’s not raining I’ll go for a skate around the city as an excuse to leave the house.
What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why? 1.Red Lemon Club is a great source for more of the logistical side of illustration, and I find Alex Mathers’ no bullshit approach to writing and covering topics is what a lot of us are looking for when we’re trying to get a better understanding of approaching clients, marketing ourselves, and creating a more successful freelance career on a whole.
2.Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Mark Perry is what pulled me into the creative universe, and so it holds a great deal of value to me. I always find myself going back to it when the inspiration isn’t there. The book is full of some amazing designers, illustrators, and typographers, and if you haven’t picked this one up yet, then I suggest you do it right now!
3.It’s Nice That is a great source of creative inspiration that I check out daily. The site offers up-to-date news in the creative world, podcasts, videos and interviews with some of my favourite creatives.
How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others? I guess my own style has developed from a lot of trial and error, coffee, and sleepless nights. When I started working with more colour (which was scary to start with!), I began to see my work develop in a new mood I hadn’t seen before. I think it is important to work in different mediums, trying different styles and taking different approaches to reaching the same goal. I think a strong signature style comes from trying a lot of things out – exploring and pushing new techniques and ideas. Taking time to stand back and analyse your own work, noting what you do and don’t like about a piece and working forward from there. Nagging your friends and followers for feedback and advice helps too!
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way? 1. Be confident in yourself and your work.
2. Not everyone is going to like your work, learn to take critique and being told no.
3. Know what you like. I think this is essential to pushing and developing your own personal style.
4. If you work hard, everything else will fall into place.
5. Get your work out into the world, you never know what could happen!
6. Leave the house/studio once in a while.
Whats the big goal in the next five years? Being represented is definitely my next big goal, along with an internship with a creative agency that would help me gain some new skills. The ultimate dream is to be able to work full time as a freelance or employed illustrator, meeting and working with more amazing people. In the end, as long as I stick to doing what I love, hopefully I’ll grow in both knowledge and experience within the creative world.