What what is this magnificence? I spoke out loud.
These shapes and motifs, the colour palette. Swoon!
I found myself heading down the rabbit hole over to Olly Howe’s Illustration page and it only got better. I had never come across his work before and it was a very welcome addition to my visual life.
Some magnificent pieces to behold!
Welcome to What Katy Loved’s blog. I am your host, Katy Cambridge. I'm a fellow illustrator working as both as editorial (The Portrait Artist) and children's picture book illustrator. Your incredible works excite me in both areas and I'd love to ask you some nosy questions.
What is your history? How did you come to be?
I’ve been working as an illustrator for about 15 years but my career almost took a completely different route. Originally I studied Marine Sports Technology at Plymouth University but didn’t get on with the course at all, I ended up quitting at the end of the first year. I’d studied art at A-level and had always been creative so I thought I’d give Plymouth art college a go instead, I picked up a prospectus and decided to start a Graphic Design course, at that point I hadn’t even heard of Graphic Design. The rest, as they say, is history. The course itself wasn’t great but what it did give me was an introduction to Photoshop, from that moment i was completely hooked!
Now, don't give us too much, but what does your illustration process look like?
Everything starts with an idea, that idea then usually gets put down onto paper in the form of writing and/or sketches. From there I spend a lot of time sourcing/creating imagery and then finally get into Photoshop where the majority of the work is done. With some artwork I also spend time creating my own hand drawn and painted elements, these get scanned in for use in Photoshop.
In this time-lapse video, we see you using a bazillion layers of flora based motifs. Absolutely breathtaking by the way. How do you source your digital imagery?
Lots of different sources depending on the job, I usually use a combination of free stock imagery, paid stock imagery, photos i’ve taken myself and elements i’ve created using pen, paint & ink.
How do you structure your days, weeks, months?
I try not to think too far ahead and mostly work day by day. I make a to-do list each morning and just work through that. Nothing crazy going on there but having a visible list for each day works well to clear the mind and allows me to concentrate on being creative.
Any recommendations for those starting out? Are there any tools / methods that you use to keep yourself focussed?
I think it’s important that you have your own style and vision as an artist. Be original and make art that YOU are happy with. In terms of keeping focused I find that taking regular breaks and keeping active helps a lot especially when I’m working with large Photoshop files as the work can be fairly intense.
You are lucky enough to call Cornwall your home, do you find that your surroundings are something that influence your work?
Cornwall can be a tricky place to network and meet others in the field (unless it's an actual field. Guffaw) How do you find this impacts on your work?
For me, it doesn’t really. Most of the commissions I work on come from online enquiries or from existing clients & agencies that I’ve worked with for years. I lived in east London for 7 years and made a lot of contacts there.
What do people mostly like to come to you for? How do they find you? How do you promote yourself?
As I mentioned before I have a few clients that I’ve worked with for years, I’m also on the books with an illustration agency in London so between those I’m kept pretty busy. All other spare time is spent creating & promoting my own art. I use all the normal social platforms, Instagram seems to provide the greatest results in terms of marketing myself, it’s great as there’s such a direct relationship between your artwork and the user.
What are you working on right now? Can we have a sneaky look?
Where were you 2 years ago in your career?
In terms of my own artwork I was using a lot more hand painted elements, I still use these but not to the extent that I was 2 years ago.
Where do you want to be in the coming years?
I would love to move into my own studio space over the next couple of years and also release a lot more prints.
Do you spend a lot of time learning new skills?
I make a constant effort to develop new Photoshop skills. I’ve been using it as my main tool for nearly 16 years but there are always new things to learn.
A philosophy you live by - Be more eco-friendly
Favourite season - Spring because the surf is great and you get those random hot days in April.
Hobby - Surfing
Cats or dogs - Cats
Favourite 3 artists - Tom French, Gabriel Moreno & Dan Hillier
Digital or traditional - Traditional
Best place to travel - Anywhere hot that has waves.
Favourite colour palette - Neon
Tea or coffee - Coffee
Would you travel to Mars if it were possible - Only if they could speed up the flight times.
What can we expect to see from Olly Howe this year? More print releases.
Links to your website, shops and social media:
Website - www.ollyhowe.com
Shop - ollyhowe.bigcartel.com
FB - https://www.facebook.com/ollyhoweillustration/
IG - www.instagram.com/ollyhowe