Friday, February 3, 2012

Daniel Atkinson PIO issue 275 Jan 2010

What's this illustration for?

This illustration was for a book I completed earlier last year. The book is titled “The Red Suitcase.” It is available through Oxford University Press.  

Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?

Normally deadlines do afford me the luxury to wait for inspiration. The challenge of a new brief is usually enough to excite me and fire my imagination. If I am struggling to come up with a concept I normally do a bit of brainstorming and some word association exercises.  

How did you get your start as an illustrator?

I got my first illustration brief immediately after I graduated from a Graphic Design course I completed a few years ago. My lecturer at the time was offered a brief but was too busy to do it so he introduced me to the client and helped me secure my first professional commission. The brief was to create a logo and mascot for a storage company.  

Who or what has influenced your work?

A huge number of artist and illustrators have influenced me over the years. Some of these artists include Norman Crew, Jim Henson, Shaun Tan, Doug Chang, Tim Burton, Goya, Jeff Sotto, James Jean, Francisco Herrera, Mike Mignola, Giuseppe Archumboldo, Stephane Tartelin, Daniel Falconer and Nathan Fox.  

What's your favourite media for creating pictures?

I enjoy using many different mediums. When time allows I use a wide range of combinations, including acrylic, oils, pencil, water colour, ink and gouache. Due to time restraints I generally producing most of my commercial work digitally.  

Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?

If I am struggling to come up with a good concept for an illustration, I normally do a bit of brain storming and word association exercises. If that does not provide me with an idea I like, then I normally go to the dictionary and double check I understand the definition of the key words or phrases in the brief. This sometimes can help me clarify what needs to be communicated and then an idea flows from that. Failing all this I go into my back yard and feed my chooks and watch then scratch around for a while.  

What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?

The lack of financial security and at times the isolation.  

And the best?

Working for an interesting, wide range of clients. I really enjoy the way each commission is so different to the last in this line of work!  

What are you working on at the moment?

I am in the process of negotiating a job that may involve me creating some concept designs for a graphic novel. I also working on the layout and content of a digital magazine that is emailed to Illustrator Australia members every quarter.  

Where can we see more of your work?

You can see more of my work at

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