From the Editors

Q and A with our illustrator Guy Shield

by Emily Laidlaw , July 31, 2014Leave a comment

Cover KYD issue 10

We’re constantly receiving praise for our striking cover designs but we simply cannot take all the credit — our brilliant illustrator Guy Shield has been impressing us since he joined KYD in 2011. For those eager to break into the illustration industry, Guy offers some wise tips about working as a freelance artist.

 

Could you tell us a bit about your illustration career and how you became a professional freelancer?

I grew up with a love of drawing. I think it was just something that was ingrained in me as a child, and fuelled later by a fascination with comic books. So throughout my adolescence, when I’d think about what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’, my natural inclination was to draw comic books. Problem was, there was no real Australian Industry I could learn/work with and more truthfully, I was too embarrassed to tell my parents this. So instead, I opted for a more socially-accepted field of graphic design. Oddly enough, I ended up falling in love with design and typography. Everything print-related absolutely fascinated me, and its relationship with illustration seemed really symbiotic. So I trained as a designer and worked in publishing for 10 years, typesetting magazines and books, all the while maintaining a nightly drawing practice to keep my cravings satisfied.

I was also very fortunate to have open-minded editors at work, who’d throw opportunities to illustrate for the magazines/books I was laying out, which became a great way to learn on the job. After quite a while I gained representation through the Jacky Winter Group, and continued to moonlight outside of work as an illustrator. It started getting tricky — briefs would have tight turnarounds, or simply be too good to say no to, and I found myself working 70-80 hours a week between work and home. So I guess once I realised I was on a steady trajectory to becoming self-sufficient as a freelance illustrator, I bit the bullet and quit my full-time job. Feel pretty damn lucky to do what I do for a living. It brings a lot of joy to me.

Could you give us a brief run-down of how you go about designing each cover of KYD?

Sure! I generally start about 2 months before the print deadline, and I’ll spend a large amount of time thinking about the type of story I want to tell, or the message I want to convey, and how I can fit it into a standard cover. A pretty picture is one thing, but if it fails to engage, or doesn’t have much of a ‘feel’ as a book cover, then it’s no good. Quite often the editor may suggest a theme (we’ve been covering seasons quite frequently), or there’ll be something weighing on my mind that I’d like to cover. I’ll roughly throw together a handful of ‘concepts’ and send them over for the editors to take their pick, and get the ball rolling from there. The standard cover will go through about 4 stages. The concept sketch (as I mentioned before), the refined pencil draft, inking (using a brush and black India ink) and then colour, which is probably where I spend the most time. It’ll then go back for one final hit of feedback and I’ll assemble the cover artwork from there and prepare it for print. All up, I usually spend 30-40 hours on a cover, depending on how detailed it is, or how finicky I’m feeling.

 

KYD Cover 11

 

You design across print and online. Do you have a preference for either medium? I assume there’d be pluses and minuses for each.

Regardless of how obsolete it’s becoming, print will always be my preference. I like the smell of freshly printed stuff, and I like the idea that every reproduction is minutely different, so when my work’s out there, it’s almost one of a kind, even if it’s been reproduced so many times. There are pros and cons to working in either. Screens have way more colour gamut to work with, and aren’t subject to the stock you’re printing it on, but they just don’t have that endearing tactile charm of print.

Which illustrators most inspire and inform your design work?

A lot of the guys producing alternative comics have always been a big influence on me. People like Daniel Clowes and Adrian Tomine play a big part in the way I interpret, draw and tell stories. Other contemporary illustrators like Jillian Tamaki and Tomer Hanuka have constantly shaped the way I frame things. Finally old school illustrators like Norman Rockwell and Robert Fawcett have long been incredible craftsmen in their field.

 

KYD-Issue15-FINAL-WEB

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring illustrators eager to work in the publishing industry?

Of course. Practice regularly, harness inspiration and grow a thick skin. Don’t be scared to get your work out there. It’s important to hear what people have to say about your work, whether it’s positive or critical — either way, take it as encouragement to keep aiming high. Try to contact the art directors at the publishing agencies you like and see if you can send in your folio. Also, get illustration agencies across your work as well, as often they have the best connections to publishers and the like, and they’re really good brains to pick about what might be missing in your folio. Finally, and I know I said it at the start, but I’ll say it again, practice! Constantly. Momentum is the key to improvement, and even people who have been in this industry for decades still do it.

Learn more about Guy’s work at guyshield.com

ACO logo




daniel-handler

Kate Harper

‘I think about terrible things happening’: An interview with Daniel Handler

Given the current age of acute media-fuelled panic over childhood trauma and accidentally fucking them up, Daniel Handler’s (aka Lemony Snicket) dastardly depictions of children fighting to survive can be read as tales of wonder. Kate Harper chats to Handler ahead of his upcoming Melbourne appearances. Read more »

o-MAGGIE-NELSON-900

James Tierney

Usefully Uncertain: A review of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts in nine fragments

I first read Maggie Nelson in the April of last year, during the early feverish stages of an autumn cold. Her slim 2009 volume Bluets is a bare and consonant appraisal of blue – as a colour, as music, as meaning sexual content and the fuzzy indigo of depression. Read more »

2010_03_29

Nathan Smith

Writing about the New Yorker: A genre unto itself

In the introduction to her 1999 book Gone: The Last Days of The New Yorker, the famed American journalist and essayist Renata Adler opens with: ‘As I write this, The New Yorker is dead.’ Read more »

One-Direction

Rebecca Shaw

Right Direction: The value of fandom

I have a pop-culture confession to make to you, Internet. It isn’t something I’ve been trying to keep hidden for fear of seeming uncool, because that ship sailed long ago. But it is something I haven’t opened up about until this point. I, Rebecca Shaw, have become a One Direction fan. Read more »

abortion

Rebecca Shaw

Choice Without Stigma: Dismantling the abortion taboo

Abortion is still illegal in the criminal code in Queensland – even in this, the Year of Our Beyoncé 2015. While women are unlikely to face practical obstacles to abortion due to the law, it can still cause isolation and unnecessary fear, and creates a stigma around the act. Read more »

17177200132_2383e88c36_k

Rebecca Shaw

Rage Against the Marriage: The inanity of same sex marriage debate in Australia

I am someone who is completely comfortable in my sexuality, and who classifies myself as the genus Lesbionisos. I am 100% certain that I am not abnormal, an abomination, or in any way inferior to heterosexual people. Sometimes I even secretly think non-heterosexuals might be superior. But I haven’t always been this assured. Read more »

The_Gift_2015_Film_Poster1

Anwen Crawford

Memorable Chills: Edgerton’s Gift

The Gift is Australian actor Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut — he also wrote, produced, and stars in it — and it bodes well for Edgerton’s directing career. A psychological thriller, The Gift is efficiently and quite memorably chilling, at least for the first half. Read more »

wolfpack-1024

Joanna Di Mattia

Escaping The Wolfpack: Inside and outside the screen

The Wolfpack introduces us to the six Angulo brothers, who were kept virtual prisoners for 14 years in their Lower East Side apartment. More than a captivity narrative, this is a film about the influence of cameras and screens, and the transfixing, liberating power of cinema. Read more »

f9a2809e-97eb-400d-b491-b4b6a6f09930-2060x1236

Clem Bastow

Telling Stories: Women screenwriters and the obligation to represent

There is something in the recent call to arms for female writers and directors to ‘tell your story’ that leaves me feeling bereft, not vindicated. The idea that As A Woman I must write about women first and foremost is a special kind of hell. Read more »

golden-age-of-television

Jane Hone

How the Golden Age of Television Brought Us Back Together

I recently heard someone say that it used to be that at 6pm, everyone would sit down to watch The Cosby Show. It seemed at once a quaint and almost sci-fi notion ­– millions of people watching the same show at the same time. How things have changed. Read more »

glitch abc tv

Stephanie Van Schilt

A Glitch in the System: The ABC’s undead gamble

In one gasping breath, Glitch shows that the ABC is stumbling towards something beloved by TV audiences the world over, but that regularly eludes the Australian and film and TV industry: genre. And not just any genre, but the ‘return-from-the-dead’ zombie-style genre. Read more »

family-hour

Anwen Crawford

By Screen Light

Television and depression have a history together. We’re all familiar with the trope: the person who stays in on a Saturday night watching TV in their pyjamas is the sad schlub with no life. Read more »

ss_8df8236403f5aad45eeedd33d2bd545e45435b39.1920x1080

Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

Resized__863

Jane Howard

A Mess of a Brain: A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

In some ways it seems like an impossible task to take Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing and translate it to any other art form. How to find a life for a book that is so internal, so unrelenting, in anything other than the pure words of its narrator as they appear on the page? Read more »

Keith - photo Shane Reid

Jane Howard

Local Courage, Global Reach: The National Play Festival

There is something to be gained from observing any collection of works in close proximity, and in these readings you could see the way Australian playwrights are reaching out into the world. Together, these works show the minds of our playwrights in robust health, with works that are itching to find their audience. Read more »

2015GISELLE_Artists of The Australian Ballet. PhotoJeffBusby

Jane Howard

The Beautiful and the Dated: Australian Ballet’s Giselle

The weight of history sits heavily on the Australian Ballet’s Giselle. One of the most enduringly popular ballets from the romantic period, there is much to delight in its presence on stage and its lasting lineage. But 175 years after its debut, in a production that premiered 30 years ago, the sheen of Giselle has been dulled. Read more »