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1. How long have you been an illustrator/designer?
I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid, but when I left my full-time job as an interactive designer last August I really started full steam ahead with digital illustration. As a kid and in college I mostly did fine art, but I think the interactive side really showed me how computers can be a great illustration tool as well.
2. What inspires your work?
Pretty girls, fashion, fabrics, typography, textures and graffiti around New York City, MUSIC, beautiful mistakes, tattoo art, and a smorgasbord of other illustrators, designers, and photographers
3. What media do you work in and why?
My work is a mix of pencil, pen, pastel, watercolour, and digital photography and PhotoShop. This sort of happened by accident though. I think I started to feel limited or frustrated with my skills on paperâ€”I could never get to a place that felt finished or polished. As soon as a started bringing them into PhotoShop and adding textures I suddenly felt like something had clicked. “Undo” and “Erase” has also forever changed the way I work. I have more freedom to play.
4. How would you describe your style of design?
Freestyle. Ha! I can sometimes scare myself out of working because I’m petrified of failing some sort of expectation for what the finished image is supposed to look like. When you freestyle and run with it, you don’t have that problem. The whole point it to not have expectations. Plus it’s way more fun. You have no other option than to be surprised with yourself.
5.Do you do any initial sketching or planning before starting on a new design project?
I usually gather a few pieces of reference art, and I have hundreds and hundred of GBs of an ever expanding texture library that I’ve snapped with my digital camera that serves as great inspiration. For the paper stage I usually just start to draw and when I sense a stopping point, it’s time to scan.
6. Which designers most inspires you?
Pomme Chan, Si Scott, Alex Trochut, Natalie Shau, Lynn Olofsdotter, Bison, Kozy ‘n Dan, Non-Format, Phill Dunne, APAK, Chris Conn Askew, Midori Yamada and pretty much anyone that goes in the Daily Inspiration category on my blog! Oh man, so many people. There is really just so much awesome and undiscovered talent out there…
7. How do you deal with the business inside of being a graphic designer?
I think I’m still learning that in terms of illustration. Because I mostly do interactive design to try and pay the bills, it feels easier to be free with he illustration work. I think it’s really difficult to try to make a business out of your passion. In some ways it kills it. That’s why it’s so important to do personal work.
8. What words of advice would you give to any aspiring graphic designers out there?
Hmm, well I think I’m still I’m starting out too, so here are a few of my golden rules which I at least try to follow.
1. Remind yourself that this is your passion.2. Prepare yourself for hard work, and make sure you are ok with the fact that especially in the beginning you will be putting in many more hours and you will be paid for.
3. Always keep working, always have personal projects in the queue, accept some non-paying too to get the ball rolling.
4. Submit to anyone and anything that will have you.
5. Make contacts, go to free lectures, read the contributors sections in magazines, stay informed, and add some design blogs to that old RSS reader!
6.Â Even when you succeed at something, don’t get cocky. For every step you take here are always going to be 10 harder ones ahead. There are bound to be many failures ahead too.
7. This is a really hard one, but try not to compare yourself to others. You can only be yourself and you can only make your own work.
8. Have fun!
9. Future stuff
Stay tuned to my blog: www.zsostudio.com/zslog for almost daily updates on my work and other artists who I dig.
I’ll also be having a new site launch in the coming weeks: www.zsostudio.com
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