As I have mentioned before I love finding new artists, designers, styles and Illustrators. I can spend hours trawling through the realms of Myspace and forums and come across very few that are mind-blowingly right up my street. Drew Millward is one of those people that i found on my voyage through the digital realms and wow!, I am so glad that i have found him. I new that i had to ask this guy some questions about him and his work! His style is akin to the likes of the amazing 123Klan, with its clean lines and bubble like characters yet it doesn’t end there, He owns Birdwar records with his buddy and plays drums in a band called White Fang. As it says on his myspace page he uses pens, pencils and Ink…..And Doesn’t know what a vector is. ladies and gents….I bring you Drew Millward.
T.S.L – Your style has a very organic hand-drawn feel which at times can be very detailed and intricate akin to other designers such as “The 5683” and “Dan Mumford“. Has it always been this way or is this a result of development and influence?
DM – I suppose that the intricacy and detail is a by product of working, and constantly drawing. I think I started off with a very simple style, and certainly nowhere close to what I do now. I guess it’s a matter of picking up influences, and becoming more comfortable in your own abilities to try things. Certainly that’s how it was for me anyway. I’ve always been much more drawn to things with a real handmade aesthetic, and I’ve never really wanted to stray away from that side of things, but just push my own ability.
T.S.L – What artists and/or sources do you draw your inspiration from?
D.M – It’s a tricky one to answer. I tend to draw inspiration from lots of different places. Japanese prints, Goya, Bosch, Where’s Wally?, Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak…. I could list stuff all day.
I suppose I’m interested in the craft of illustration. I’m interested in single framed narrative and the juxtaposition of themes.
That all sounds like art school balls, but it’s true.
T.S.L – What are your plans for you and your career for the future?
DM – I really have no plans. I just hope I’m not discovered as the fraud I sometimes feel like, and continue to be able to make work.
T.S.L – Some designers tend to use a lot of repetition in their work almost like a graphical toolkit or a signature, How do you feel about this when you see it in a body of work and what kind of message do you think it gives about that designer?
DM – I think it’s great. To have a style and visual reference points is a nice touch to be able to tie a body of work together. I suppose it’s another aspect of developing a style and incorporating themes into your work.
T.S.L – Sometimes when I have been working on a particularly uninteresting or uninspiring job or doing paperwork for a few days or weeks, and then have a job thrown on my desk which is needed yesterday which needs to be creative and interesting and different, I find it hard to change gear and get my “creative hat” on. What do you think is the best way to get back in to the mindset of open-minded creative thinking, even when you have a tight deadline looming?
DM – It’s really difficult. I dismissed the idea of keeping sketch books for a long time, but it really is a pretty valuable resource. Having a stock of sketches and thoughts to look back through is a pretty good way to spark off ideas when you are in a corner time-wise.
I tend to keep cuttings of stuff I’ve seen or have a folder on the computer of images I’ve collected. Like I say, inspiration can come from anywhere. Read a book, listen to music, walk away from it for a while… whatever works really.
T.S.L – Do you ever get a mental designers block?, If so how to you get over it?
DM – Yup. It just comes and goes at will. I try to keep a few plates spinning at once. If I have a few projects on the go, that is pretty helpful. Something scanned in, something at sketching stages, painting something…. If you get bored of one, you can go and do something else, while not wasting time doing nothing.
T.S.L – Every designer has their own way of working and their own creative process, can you give an insight in to your methods and rituals?
DM – Pencil->Pen->Pixel->Screen Print.
I start with a sketch that would make no sense to anyone but me. I usually trace over it a few times and add in more detail each time until I’m happy with how it looks. I’ll then ink the final image. From there I’ll scan it in, and either color each separate layer in Photoshop, or using additional layers of tracing paper…. Depending on how I want it to look. Everything is then layered and assembled in Photoshop. Separated for printing, or saved for whatever purpose it is intended.
The thing that impresses me the most about Drew Millwards’ work is that its so heavily styled and yet very accessible, it fits in with clothing, posters and flyers, as art, as CD artwork as Vinyl toys, stickers and i could even imagine some of these charming characters and beasts is animations or TV shows! who knows. His style sums up everything i aspire to be as an artist/designer. With a traditional approach of pen and ink and a discipline that is not driven by having the newest software of the latest craze, no it is from, like any illustrator/designer comes from lots of mis-spent youth and years of practice and doodling on anything that stayed put for long enough. Which is how skills are developed and a raw talent and a NEED to draw and create is is nurchered.
Should you wish to use Drews services drop him a line! He is a really great guy from what i can tell and thank him for his time, after all I am probably one of many people that bother him on a daily basis. You give me inspiration and a drive to be better…….Going on some of the stuff i am doing….Oh boy do i have a long was to go!