Interview with Drew Millward by the stable london

August 19, 2009

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.

Big Business

Big Business

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! – –


Keaton Henson Interview by the stable-london

July 21, 2009

Being interested in design, the most enjoyable part of it is coming across talent and meeting designers and talking to like-minded people. There is nothing that i love more than to talk about styles, processes, inspirational

Look! I'm a Ghost Cd Artwork

Look! I’m a Ghost Cd Artwork

sources, websites and thoughts about and from other designers. A little while ago i got the chance to ask one of my favourite local designers Keaton Henson ( a few questions. I first came across Keaton’s work via artwork for a friends band Look! I’m a Ghost. Since then I have seen his work and illustrations all over the shop! Topman, Drop Dead Clothing, the Happy Potter, Cheer up clothing and too many others to remember. His style is gritty, hand drawn and grotesque yet his illustrations and characters with their blood, slime and tattoo’s have a certain humility and vulnerable innocence to them.

So with such a great and varied client base what does this talented young Illustrator have to say.

Foals Gig Poster

Foals Gig Poster

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?

K.H – I really dont know to be honest with you. i think my handrawn style comes from the fact i dont like things to be perfect, i believe smudges and sketchy parts are the things that make a piece work. the detailed thing just comes from a need to fill space, ive always liked drawing detailed images, just to give people more to look at.

T.S.L – What was your education / art school experience like?

K.H – Fucking awful, i failed throughout school mainly due to flatly refusing to do copies of other artists work. which, despite the fact i was a petulant schoolboy, i still stand by. I dont see what you learn from copying others, I think its great that schools introduce you to artists and sources of inspiration, but to make you actually copy their work is totally ridiculous. I then continued to argue with teachers during my first year of college. and then just left before doing my a-levels. and started working straight away, and honestly think if it wasnt for that i would still be an art student terrified of the day i had to actually try and get jobs, rather than a working artist. im not a huge fan of the education system when it comes to art.


Drop Dead Clothing

T.S.L – Another year of a new breed of designers is upon us like more lambs to the slaughter, searching for jobs in hat seems to be the toughest times since the early 90’s. What advice would you give to a designer about to graduate?

K.H – I would say dont panic, and ignore everything your lecturers have taught you about your style and how to draw. You spent all the years up to university developing your style with the books you read and things you watch that it seems ridiculous for a teacher to strip it away and give you what they think will sell. i was told to stop drawing weird intestinal looking dudes throughout my entire education. which is now what i get payed solely to do. Also just make sure your stuff is offering at least one thing that no one else has, if thats the case you should have no problem finding clients.

T.S.L – How do you see design trends changing over the next few years?

K.H – I see them changing over the next week, they always do. but i reckon things are going to shift back to photography, this illustration wave were riding has to end at some point. and i think its going to move to digital photos and text work. but who knows.

T.S.L – A lot of book written by other designers say that the most important assets to have as a designer is 1) Your integrity. 2) your portfolio. How do you know when you have integrity as a designer and if your portfolio is worth the CD its burnt on?

K.H – Screw integrity, if macdonalds want you to draw them a happy cow for enough money to live on for a year i say do it. save your integrity for when your at the stage where you can exhibit solo. then put it all into that. and portfolio is the most important thing. its always good to have some big clients in there, and photos of your work on billboards, but the stuff i get the most responses to is the stuff i draw while im bored. so thats just as useful.

T.S.L – Every artist has their own way of working and their own creative process, Do you have any methods or rituals?

K.H – Well i dont do anything particularly ritualistic, i dont have a special illustration gown or anything. usually i just stick on some music, think about my format, so for instance if im doing a cd cover i will draw a square and then block it in with shapes, so i start with composition and its not an afterthought. for instance i’ll choose a section of the “canvas” and
start filling it with shapes pointing in the directions i think will work. then, for me, its just a case of replacing those shapes with ugly dudes with hairy belly and white eyes. job done.


Keaton Henson Topman Design


T.S.L – Thanks Keaton so much for your time

Next up is the amazingly talented Drew Millward, so come back and visit real soon. I am so excited to have gotten the chance to interview some of my favourite designers/illustrators that i don’t think i can control myself!