I draw stuff for a living. I mostly draw letters, but I do some illustrative work as well, often for band merch. I also make (and sell) fonts, which generates passive income. I've worked on stuff for loads of companies and bands including Sony, HarperCollins, Bring Me The Horizon, The Amity Affliction and many, many more. I work from my home in Brisbane, mostly because I hate taking orders from other people ;)
I remember trying to draw something as a young child and failing miserably. My older brother picked up the pen and drew something great, just like that. I remember thinking "Well, guess I'm just not made for that, I'll do something else." and never drawing.
I didn't take art classes in school at all (I found I was really good at Maths and Science), and ended up completing a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology (Majoring in Web Development) at QUT instead. I worked as a developer on a few of my own start ups, but struggled to design the UIs and logos for them. Having little cash, I started trying to learn basic design principles so I could get projects off the ground.
After dedicating some hours to design practice, I realised that you didn't need talent to be great at something, you just need skill, and skill can be acquired by anyone who's willing to put in the hours to develop their skills.
While researching design stuff on YouTube, I remember stumbling across a video of someone doing some hand lettering with a Tombow Brush pen. My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe there were people who could pick up a pen and draw letters that looked great, I thought it was all just fonts on computers? I was instantly hooked, and started researching more.
Not long after finding that video, I stumbled across a documentary/movie on Sign Painters (it's called Sign Painters: The Movie) and fell in love with sign painting. I honestly had no idea that people were making signs by hand. I thought everything was printed and stuck up there on the walls. Many more research hours later, I discovered archives of images showing sign painters in action, painting endless numbers of amazing signs. There were huge sign companies that had hundreds of employees, all hired to paint signs all day long for big companies.
After that research, I knew I'd finally found something that I really loved, and decided to start putting in a couple of hours every single day to draw letters and create something. A couple of years later, and here I am doing it for a living.
I've never had an intern or done an internship, but I think the concept is great. I think experience counts for everything, and I've learnt a lot more on a job than I've ever read in a book. If I had a bigger studio space (hopefully one day), then I'd take on an intern for sure. I'm not really a fan of unpaid internships. Hard work deserves payment, regardless of skill level. It's a bit like being an apprentice, you're learning and lacking experience so you get paid less, but you definitely shouldn't be paid nothing!
I've never had an intern or done an internship, but I think the concept is great. I think experience counts for everything, and I've learnt a lot more on a job than I've ever read in a book. If I had a bigger studio space (hopefully one day), then I'd take on an intern for sure. I'm really a fan of unpaid internships. Hard work deserves payment, regardless of skill level. It's a bit like being an apprentice, you're learning and lacking experience so you get paid less, but you definitely shouldn't be paid nothing!
I've actually started creating design tutorials on YouTube recently and I love it. It feels good to give back to other people after I learnt so much from YouTube myself. Teaching is also a great way to learn. I can be asked to explain something, then when I teach it, I realise I've learnt something new myself. It's weird how it works like that.
I think one of my biggest highlights has to be working for one of my all-time favourite bands; Bring Me The Horizon. I got to produce a lyric video, comprising entirely of hand lettering, plus a massive range of merch designs. It's one of the biggest projects I've worked on, and when I went to a show at Riverstage here in Brisbane, it was completely mind-blowing to see so many people wearing shirts with my designs on them!
Oh boy, there's definitely been some tough lessons along the way. I think a few would be:
I have a few goals over the next 5 years. For one, I'm aiming for 100k YouTube subscribers within the next 12 months. I think one of my longer-term goals is to get involved with an agency. I'd love to work with an agency like Jacky Winter for example. It would be so benificial for me to have someone to help weed out the right work, rather than getting bogged down in emails from clients that often lead nowhere. Plus, a lot of agencies have all the raddest contacts with all the coolest companies!