Interview Freelance Illustrator Rachel George

Here today we are pleased and privelidged to share with you all an interview with emerging freelance illustrator Rachel George. Originally hailing from Bolton herself, Rachel has worked hard in recent years to develop her skills and has even had her work published in the UK, USA, Canada, Poland & Malaysia.

Who is Rachel George? How did you first get involved within the creative industries?

Rachel George is a freelance illustrator from Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Her first professional involvement with the creative industry began with Comic Books. Back in 2008 her work was published with a small comic press in Poland, the next, being on a larger scale featured her work published in a Halloween Anthology with Virus Comix in the USA.

Who were your first creative influences? Has this changed much today?

Her first creative influences came in the form of Paul Kidby – Artist responsible for the modern Discworld cover designs and illustration, introduced to his amazing fantasy work in the first year of University Rachel was quickly amazed by his comical yet incredibly “real” character and enviromental designs, this Artist still remains her main creative influence and his work is largely responsible for her perusing a career in publishing.

With work that has been published in the UK, Canada, the USA, Poland and even Malaysia. Do you have a favourite achievement to date?

There are two very different achievements in her professional career that she holds as her favourite; one being the series of children’s books originally published in Canada (Now available to the rest of the world) “Harry Purple Monkey Dishwasher“, this was Rachel’s first real leap into children’s publishing, working with the amazing author Angela Walker she helped bring visuals to a unique character and wonderful story, Harry is now on his second title (due to be published very soon!) and also has his own line of soft toys.

The second is the numerous vehicle graphics that are currently driving around the planet, Rachel has provided unique custom designs multiple Vans, Cars and now Trailers from all corners of the world. Somewhere in Malaysia there is a VW Van with Kathmandu and Buddha proudly displayed on it’s side, and in the UK there is a T4 Van featuring the Silver Surfer and a Space Octopus accompanied by it’s own matching custom trailer sporting Space Invaders and custom logos.

What advice would you offer to someone hoping to pursue a similar career?

It’s probably going to sound cliche but persistence is really the key, tailor your portfolio and remove ANYTHING that doesn’t display the kind of work you want to be commissioned for, it’s really not impossible to make a living as a freelancer but it isn’t going to be a cake walk. Keep actively promoting yourself, be it via the web or print promotions, one of the hardest things you’ll be doing is trying to make yourself known, people can’t commission you if they have no idea you exist. Find all the companies you’d love to work for and send them a promo postcard, or give them a call or an email, let them know who you are what you can do.

Do you have a defined path of working from idea > design > finished piece?

I certainly try to! I always start with a few layout sketches, then usually build shadow and lighting in grey-scale before I start to add colour, quite a lot of the image however can change any number of times before I’m finished.

What is your typical workstation or work location?

I just moved country so right now my workstation consists of a decently sized corner desk and two filing cabinets, my old home computer and my Intuos 4, my walls around my desk are plastered with design and illustration that I love, it gives a huge constant canvas of ideas.

What tools and pieces of software ahould we all be checking out and learning now to pick up some illustrative skills ?

I’ve seen that Photoshop CS6 was recently launched, I haven’t checked it out yet but it may be worth taking a look for the new additions to the software. If you’re going to be working digitally and require a tablet, don’t try to cut corners with a cheap one, I’ve only ever owned two tablets in 7 years, an intuos 2 and my current intuos 4, a few of my friends bought cheaper tablets and ended up paying more in the long run upgrading to better ones because they either broke or just couldn’t perform the way they needed.

Do you prefer more traditional methods of pen/pencil? Or do you only work digitally?

I work mostly digitally, I will sketch traditionally when on the go but all my work is generally transferred digitally so that’s where I usually start. To be honest a pencil and paper feels too foreign for me now, I don’t think that’s such a good thing though haha.

What would constitute success for you in your career? Do you have a defined career goal?

Finally breaking into publishing illustration and getting a good flow of commissions for published (or to be published) titles feels like my career has reached a “success” point, I’ve been paying the bills and rent with my illustrations for the past two years steadily so I feel this is a good place to say I “succeeded” in becoming a professional illustrator.

A career goal? I’m aiming for larger publishing houses now, ultimately I’d love to be working full time solely in fantasy fiction (by far my favourite genre to illustrate for), making a living drawing dragons and warriors and fantastic creatures for great books is a total dream.

Who are your top 5 people to follow on twitter?

The top 5 people I follow on twitter are:

@violetlemay, @Brynn_Metheney, @marcscheff, @TomPercivalsays and @MoonApe

See Rachel George on her Website, Facebook and @rachelgillo on Twitter.

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