Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Stephen Collins Contact Report

Stephen Collins, comic artist for the Times and well known charicateur artist recently very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me regarding his work.

Following I have the complete set of questions together with his answers regarding his work style and lifestyle. They give a great insight into the views of somebody as successfull as he is on the in's and out's of this industry.

.I'm sure people must ask you this all the time but, Where do you get your inspiration for your comics?
.Comics inspiration - usually done on commission I find it easier to work to a brief sometimes, but mostly just methodically working through an idea for a joke or a theme, Sitting staring out the window for ages. Sketch comedy shows often get me inspired too, I like that approach to humour and I grew up with it so I sort of know how it works in a way

.Your charicatures are amazing. Who are your biggest influences? Is this something you had an immediate talent for?
.Caricatures - early early influences were spitting image but latterly my style's been influenced by continental eauropean caricaturists like Jorge arevalo and Andre Carrilho who use vectors as an adjunct to the hand rendered style, it's a good modern fusion that's not too in love with Photoshop and I've tried to do my own sort of thing in that vein

.How do you promote yourself? Do you spend a lot of time/money doing this? Do you need to visit clients a lot. Or do you use agencies?
.Promotion takes a fair bit of money yes - especially when you're starting out, you've just got to set it aside. The old postcard followed by phone call thing is the most effective, talking in person really helps, then you arrange an in person portfolio viewing if possible when you're starting out, I haven't done this for years but it's essential not to disregard the importance of actually meeting people if you're establishing contacts. Nowadays I mostly use postcards, emails, website, and the AOI images book and exhibition. Used to use the iSpot but it didn't get me much. We work in a useful trade whereby your work often acts as its best advert though; mostly the promotion that works for me is the stuff that's printed in magazines etc, that's how people find me. Hence you have to make a big effort at first then it sort of gathers momentum.
(Never had an agent, they don't seem to want me and I haven't needed one - yet! I also think I'd get lazy if I had one and have to do stuff i might not want to do)

.Do you spend a lot of time hunting for new work, promoting yourself, how do you achieve this?
.Don't spend as much time as I should 'hunting' etc. I keep a spreadsheet of promotional efforts made when I do though, so I don't phone people twice by mistake. Keep a contacts database also - I buy the AOI directories and then update them myself; they're usually a bit out of date even at publication.

.Do you work in a studio with other artists or from home?
.Work from home - would love to work with others but can't afford studio rental.

.Do you get quite short deadlines? Do the ideas come immediately?
.Deadlines vary, some 3 hours some three weeks. Ideas fine for illustration - comics much harder.

Hope this helps!

best wishes for your career


Best wishes Stephen

Stephen has a blog on this site and his own great webpage as well as a myspace page for anyone interested.



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