Julian May

We chat to Julian May, an illustrator and designer from Melbourne, who we crossed paths with last year during our Hands On! Workshops last year. After graduating a year ago from Graphic Design at RMIT Brunswick TAFE, he's now focused full time on his illustration and collaborating with Desktop, The Club of Odd Volumes and finishing Top 30 for Positive Posters, with many more exciting plans for 2014. Read on emerging illustrators!

What did you study?

I always knew I wanted to do something within the design/art world but never really knew until my final year of high school where I was told I was terrible at art and should focus on other things; so I did! I dedicated all my time to my VCD (graphic design) class and it paid off. I got a place at RMIT Brunswick TAFE and could not have been happier with the level of expertise that was drilled in to my head!

I’m a workaholic of some sorts, I love crazy deadlines and piles and piles of work to get through so RMIT and I got along swimmingly. My favourite part about where I studied would have to be hands down the teachers; they really know what they are talking about. This is my first year out and I can tell you now they have prepared me for everything that will come at me now and in the future.

How would you advise people to develop their own personal style?

I would have to say experimentation is key when it comes to finding your own personal style, you need to find what mediums or techniques you work best with but most of all its all about what comes naturally to you. My work tends to hover around simple shapes and clean lines with a main focus on colour. I’m a fan of the weird and wonderful. Majority of my work is done using the computer but when your eyes feel life they are about to fall out of your head from staring at a screen all day its good to change it up! I think my style will always stay the same but through new mediums you will see changes just like my newest found love, which is a Gocco printing machine that for the time being has been taking up most of my time and letting me experiment in a way I wouldn’t usually.

Design work by Julian May The Design Kids interviews Julian May work-2

Who are your biggest influences and where do you head for inspiration online?

There are so many amazing creative’s out there who I look up to but I would have to say my top three are:
Jean Jullien - Graphic designer and Illustrator from France
Miso (Stanislava Pinchuk)- Artist and Illustrator from Ukraine
Beci Orpin - Designer, Illustrator and all around creative from Australia
To tell the truth I am not a massive online inspiration searcher, majority of my ideas come from books, old music videos/cover art and dreams. There is the exception of the world of instagram where you can find just about anything to give yourself a creative boost.

What are your plans for your studio and brand 2014?

It’s only been six months since I started working under the name ‘The Handy Studio’ and I have already been lucky enough to do some illustrative work for Desktop Magazine and some design work for The Brisbane Town Hall/Museum. 2014 will be the year of collaborating! I will be releasing a range of screen printed fashion items early in the year and I hope to dabble in as much textile design as humanly possible. I’m also hoping that I get to apply my style to a variety of new jobs with a focus on magazine and newspaper illustration.

Design work by Julian May The Design Kids interviews Julian May work-4
Design work by Julian May The Design Kids interviews Julian May work-4

How do you think we can help bridge the gap between students and industry more in Australia?

From the words of Vanilla Ice “Stop collaborate and listen” Industry people STOP! If you have time, collaborate with a student. Internships are fine but you don’t always get real world work from it. If I was given the chance to work with a professional that I looked up to during my studies I would have been more than grateful! With this said The Design Kids: you guys are really helping out in a big way by the creation of ‘Terrible Twos’ where students and industry get to work together and collaborate on a piece that I am sure the students would never forget and take so much from that experience.

Describe a typical Julian May day.

Wake up between 9:00 and 10:00am the hardest thing is getting out of bed! Oh no the hard times of working from home! But with all seriousness it all depends on if I need to see a client that day or not. Recently I have had a steady flow of emails about collaborations, exhibitions, magazine illustrations and design work. So right now I am working on new ideas for a kids paper workshop I will be running early next year as well as some identity work for the same company. I’m also working on an illustration for a zine to raise funds for relief effort in the Philippines. The thing that is taking up most of my time is the design of my screen printed fashion items and finding the right people to help me out with this project. This is something I am extremely excited about and cannot wait to see the finished product. To sum up a typical day with me it’s a lot of paper playing, drawing, and computer time. So pretty much I am an adult kindergarten child who gets paid to have fun!

Design work by Julian May The Design Kids interviews Julian May work-6
Design work by Julian May The Design Kids interviews Julian May work-6

Where to find Julian May online.

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