Interview Illustrator Lucy Farfort

Today it’s a pleasure to share another great interview this time with illustrative talent Lucy Farfort, a MMU graduate she is a passionate illustrator and crafty creative who is inspired by anime and manga.

Who is lucy farfort?

Hmm lets see….who am i? Foremost i see myself as an illustrator who is passionate about drawing and secondly a maker who loves creating new things. If i could sum myself up in one sentence i’d say i’m a child at heart who’s head is always brimming with creative ideas and madcap plans.

What was your route through education to being the illustrator you are today?

I always loves creating stuff and drawing but after being introduced to anime and manga by a friend when i was 13 i decided it was an illustrator’s life for me. I went off after six form and did a foundation at college and followed this up with a degree in illustration and animation at Manchester Metropolitan University. Since then i have been freelancing, its not my sole job as it wouldn’t be enough to live on but i wouldn’t change it for the world – doing it part-time is better than nothing.

What did you learn the most from your education at MMU? What kind of work experience and advice from industry did you receive?

Hmm the most I learnt wasn’t illustration based in the slightest. What I got from it was fantastic life experience (that sounds cliché I know, but its true) and a good route out of the small town I grew up in.
When I went to Uni there was very little vocational based advice. I get the impression from students I’ve had work with me on work experience that this has changed now and normally there is more advice on getting into the industry. However when I was there (and this is a fair while ago) I think there was the occasional talk from someone in industry and that was about it. To be fair though it was all very much about motivating yourself to find out more and I fully admit I wasn’t that motivated then. Things have changed drastically now though and I’m paying for that lack of motivation then. If I knew then what I do now I would have started up my own business before I even left Uni – but hindsight is a wonderful thing and all that.

Is being a freelancer full time your ultimate goal as a creative? Or would you prefer to work within a company?

I really like the flexibility of being freelance so being able to do this full time would wonderful, but I would like the ease and security of working for an organisation, so if a company approached me and said ‘we’d like to offer you a permanent contract as our in house illustrator’ – I would be there in a flash!!
Unfortunately i think there are very few companies these days which have in house illustrators. Graphic Designers yes, but this is rarely the case with illustration work.

What has been your favourite project to complete to date?

My fave project was doing an illustration of the owl and the pussycat for Digital Artist Magazine’s May issue. i was so chuffed to get asked and it was a a great piece to work on particularly as my long term aim is to illustrate for children’s publications.
The illustration was for a feature on how to use textures in images and i had to do a tutorial to go with it. It made me really think about the process i use which was interesting as this is something i just do on auto-pilot these days.

What designers have influenced and inspired your work the most?

When I first set out to do illustration at the age of about 14 I was very heavily into anime and mange so much of my inspiration came from there. Particularly inspiring to me was the work of Hayao Miyazaki, Rumiko Takahashi, Osamu Tezuka and Kosuke Fujishima. My work took a lot of influence from there.

Now with the vastness of the internet its like a constant visual feast on tap and I get inspired by many different artist’s work. I guess my current favourites are Anke Weckmann, Mandy Sutcliffe, Hidden Elouise and Lisa Alisa.

What would be your dream job? or work you’d love to spend your life creating?

Illustrating children’s books and publications would be a dream come true.

Years ago when I first made up my mind to be an illustrator I desperately wanted to be a manga artists or anime character designer, but I soon realised that this was a pipe dream given that I would probably need to live in Japan first.

Being able to illustrate children’s books would be definitely be just as awesome and i’m very much hoping this is a more achievable goal – I guess time will tell.

What for you is a success as a designer? Money? Job? Do you have any defined career goals?

Success for me would be able to support myself from my illustration work full time. So I guess in one way money, but when I say money I mean just enough to be able to live on. This is my defined career goal so if I got to this stage I would be more than happy and I would take on pretty much any illustration job as long as I could continue drawing.

What is your current workstation like?

A Godforesaken mess!! I kind of have two workstation, one is a box room with a desk where i draw from and the other houses my trusty, but dust covered Mac Mini, scanner and printer. Both are a state.

What are your favourite tools, equipment and/or software to use for your designs?

In order: A 2b (or b) pencil and a sheet of white paper, a good quality fineliner and my cheap and cheerful Mac Mini. Oh and a very hard working Canon printer.

How does social media and networking play in terms of your working life?

A big part – well the social networking bit. I’m really bad at selling my work in that i find it very hard to promote myself to someone face-to-face, so being able to promote online through Facebook and Twitter etc is wonderful. When i produce an illustration a lot of myself goes into it, so having to talk to someone about it and sell it face-to-face is a little bit like baring your soul. For me doing this via social media is almost like your promoting someone elses work so its no longer a problem haha 🙂

I use Facebook quite a bit but Twitter really is ace. Not just for promotion but for finding out about so many other interesting resources, like minded people, blogs, sites etc. It has been wonderful for this so long may it continue.

Who are your 5 favourite people to follow on twitter?

Illustration Rally @Illustration_R
Pikaland @pikaland
Inky Goodness @inkygoodness
Creative Boom @Creative_Boom
Maker Faire @makerfaire

Is there any music you enjoy to listen to the most when working?

I pretty much always listen to BBC six music when I’m working. I always have to have music on in some form or another so if I’m not listening to that I would stick on a CD – anything from Frank Turner to LCD Sound System and Everything Everything to Sly and the Family Stone. My taste is wide and varied! I guess the only thing I wouldn’t listen to would be R&B or commercial dance/pop.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2012 and beyond?

Well I recently set up a side line business called Graphic’s Takeaway which is essentially a shop offering my work as clipart rather bespoke illustration. I still offer a bespoke service too but the plan is that the graphics shop would perhaps contribute to my earnings and maybe get me a little closer to illustrating full time. So I will be continuing to add to the collection of images.
I’m also going to focus on sending work to publishers which will be an ongoing thing.

I have plans to do some illustrations for an children’s e-book/app but this will depend on time as at the moment I have a few commissions on which will see me until the end of August at least. One of which is doing some illustration for a picture book so that’s very exciting.

Thanks to Lucy Farfort for making this interview possible, follow her work on her Website, Folksy, Etsy, Facebook and @lucyfarfort on twitter.