THIS IS ME... Interview By Kanken


How do you explain what you do to your parents?
I don’t have to go into too much detail, I think they get it on the most part. They are part of the reason I do what I do, encouraged me in my career from a really young age.

Who do you look like?

A seven year old boy.

Did your education count?
Yes, but perhaps not in the most traditional way. It was more what happened around the learning that counted.

What’s the best mistake you have ever made?
I make too many to notice.

When did you realise that this is what you were good at?
Because I sucked at most other things in comparison.

What rules do you live by?
Hard work, and good behavior.

What makes your day?
A coffee from Kaffeine and a cigarette in the morning while ticking things off an ever-growing to-do list.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An inventor, I didn’t realise it at the time that that is basically what a designer is.

What one thing would you like to be remembered by/for?

What’s your favourite combination?
Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup.

To view the article and my recent guest posts click here.

Recent Interview with Think-Work-Play


Graphic designers such as you, are busy people. do you have any tips on stress? - julieebui

Work hard but not too hard. Take time off, go on holiday. Don't take your work home, try not to talk about it all the time, develop your hobbies and enjoy your free time.

What do you feel are the most important skills for a designer to have/develop? - julieebui

There are lots of important things you need to develop as a designer.

Know your software, and fill the gaps in your knowledge when you need to. As a designer you need to have a good grasp of the obvious softwares, and you should try and keep up to date. Lots of time spent working in Creative Suite on different projects should be good practice.

Print production and film are the two trickiest areas in my opinion. Preparing a document for print is meticulous and every printers specifications are different. Preparing a video can also have lots of problems with size, format compression etc... In order to help you it might be good to try to collate all the specifications for all the different outcomes and try saving your files and work to make sure you understand the various exports.

You should also focus on explaining and communicating your creative ideas. This will be really important when you start working with clients and you need to discuss projects. Having crits at school and with your peers will prepare you.

There are so many things that are important as a designer, professionally, understanding fees and finance, promoting yourself, I could go on for ages, but those would be my first three most important.

When your work first started to receive an influx of a lot more attention and requests for work, how did you cope with the change in pace and pressure? Did you feel much doubt or panic, or was it an easy progression you'd been waiting for? - Kairos27

Great question Kairos27. I really struggled at first, it was exciting and also quite scary. I was worried that people started to get annoyed hearing my name or seeing my work, and I know over-saturation is the negative side to lots of publicity. No one wants to be old news. After Topshop and Cadbury's I actually left London for a few months and went to NYC to escape the pressure, not from people around me, but that I was putting on myself. I knew that I couldn't keep out doing my self so it was worth taking a step back from it all and having a little break. It was perfect. When I came back to London I started my studio and haven't looked back.

Every so often when it gets too much I just take that much needed time out, and forget about what I think I should be doing, and just enjoy some freedom.

Now I just make sure that I am constantly turning out work in lots of different fields so I can keep the momentum going and keep everyone on their toes. Its great fun to make a music video one week, design a watch the next, then paint a mural, or design an album cover. That freedom and ability to switch between fields is my favorite thing about my job.

When you are drawing, for the fun of it, do you plan out what your going to draw or do you just make stuff up as you go along?

I never really plan it, just sit down in front of a blank page and go for it. I have never really been precious about my drawings, I just think of them as sketches and scraps of paper. That way they don't intimidate me, and I can't mess them up. I make mistakes all the time, but just try and work them back into the picture somehow. That's a great skill to learn as an illustrator, how to hide your mistakes, and make them into happy accidents. I sometimes work in pencil, but I use a light box to trace the pen version so I am starting on a clean sheet rather than drawing on the paper version. Just in case I need to start again, I still have my original sketch to trace from.


What is your favourite thing about being an Illustrator/designer?
That every day at work is different and I am in charge of my own time.

What would you say has been the biggest milestone in your career so far?
Directing my first music video for Simian Mobile Disco meant a lot to me, most people will think it was the Cadbury's campaign, I would say that was a close second.

What would be your advice to budding designers and illustrators?

Work hard, and as much as you can. Think about yourself as an athlete and drawing and designing as your training. You want to be in peak condition to prepare yourself for the commercial and art worlds.

Asked by Rosie Connell



How did you come about to working with Simian Mobile Disco? 2010
I met SMD's manager Ollie in probably 2006 or 7. Ollie mentioned that the band were looking for some ideas for merchandise and T-shirt designs, after chatting about a few ideas we scheduled a time to meet the band. I went to see them at a show at Astoria (god its strange to think that place is closed now) it was apparent straight away that the band and I were definitely suited, they had amazing ideas, paralleled by a relaxed attitude and a confidence in me. Together we created the Attack Decay Sustain Release T-shirt series. At the start of 2009 I was approaching the year with a list of goals, one of which was to work along side a band for a full album campaign as an artistic director. That very same month, Ollie called me, and asked me to be just that. Working on the entire campaign for Temporary Pleasure was amazing, as well as the band they have an amazing record label, Wichita who awesomely created a lot of vinyl for the release and were happy with some of my more unorthodox packaging suggestions. Working on the SMD videos was definitely the highlight of the project, Synthesise (Co-Directed by Alex Sushon) is one of my best pieces of work even though it is lo-fi and we made it for virtually nothing. With three of the video's from that album under my belt, I have since gone on to be signed as a Director to Pulse, this is really exciting and I hope to make more left of centre music videos in 2011.

What is it that makes working with SMD interesting?
Jas and James are a dream client. They know what they want, and they know what they don't want. Within those parameters they have flexibility and interesting ideas. They think beyond "something that looks cool" and really focus on the concept and semiotic of the artwork. More than anything they appreciate the importance of design, and it's role in music, and alongside the rest of the team and all of the collaborators (and across all formats there were many!) they supported us and helped us create a really solid body of work.



Both, I use Photoshop to tweak my drawings before I bring them into Illustrator. I spend most of my day in Illustrator I do all my tablet drawings and digital colouring using my Wacom Cintiq 21 UX which I use even more than my light box now! I still use Photoshop to apply interesting effects to flatter vector drawings, and for when I am integrating type with photography.

Ask Kate Moross a question....



How important is finding your own style? I thought it was good to have your own set way about illustrating because people can then recognise your work- but a tutor of mine last year said it wasn't.

That's a great question... Finding your own style is something that takes time and practice. It is something that develops over years. It is important to experiment with different techniques and methods. However, you will naturally illustrate in a certain way, it is hard to change how you draw, but it is easy to imitate styles you have seen before.

I wouldn't worry too much about style at this time. Just make work, and keep illustrating. You may find you enjoy doing type, pattern or portraits, landscapes, line drawing, digital, work with what you enjoy. I personally am not a literal illustrator, I love working with type, abstract shapes. I often get jobs that push my boundaries, and I may need to draw people or spaces or objects, which I work into my style and adapt to fit what I enjoy doing. Style is dangerous too, it can go in and out of fashion, date quickly etc... the most important thing is that your images have a quirk beyond aesthetic, maybe its humor, naivety, wit, maybe they have layered meaning, or stories hidden in the detail, or maybe they are super simple but execute the concept perfectly. It is these things that make an illustration more than just a picture.

Ask Kate Moross a question....