We catch up once again with the ever stylish David Doran

Falmouth based David Doran has established himself as something of an icon of British illustration, with a refined and stylish palette that is immediately recognisable. We caught up with David to delve beneath the surface of his practice.

Well, I’m David Doran, an illustrator based by the ocean in Falmouth, Cornwall. I grew up with creative parents – where my brother (www.jondoran.co.uk) and I – were always encouraged to draw, create, and make. Since studying illustration at Falmouth University, I’ve drawn every day and consider myself very fortunate to work now as a full-time illustrator.

My current studio is a short commute from Falmouth and is shared with my wife, Izzy (who works as my Studio Manager), and my painter brother…a real family affair. There’s a relaxed atmosphere in the studio, which I think is really important. I enjoy the whole process of making illustrations, and being in a space that you like and feel comfortable in has a definite impact on that process. We began with a white cube and have slowly filled it with plants, large desks, guitars, and books…it has big windows so it always feels bright and airy.

Over time there are always elements that I’m striving to develop: colour palettes, concepts, compositions, etc. All of which feed into each image I make. Looking back I can see the developments. Each project brings new requirements and answering briefs is of course an ongoing, enjoyable, process.

I really enjoy having hobbies and there’s a balance that I’ve found through working commercially through my main passion – illustration – and also having time for personal projects.

David Doran

Outside of the studio, I also make music under the name Heron Hunt (heronhunt.bandcamp.com) and play basketball. Falmouth has a very vibrant creative community, and we’re blessed to live not too far away from some of our closest friends. We like to eat together and in the summer months, go to our favourite beaches for BBQ’s and swimming…the perk of living close to the ocean.

I love to travel. We make a real effort to take the ‘studio’ on the road, working with brands and hotels, creating illustrations based on the cultures, landscapes and cities we visit. Experiencing a place first hand means that you can truly understand it; pick up on details and quirks that can’t be found from a Google search. My ideal project would involve my passport, a fresh sketchbook, and a limited colour palette.

I always keep a sketchbook and ink brush pen to hand. In the studio I use pencils (3B’s my preference), fineliners, pads of heavy cartridge paper, Wacom Cintiq tablet and an iMac. My process is very much inspired by traditional printing techniques (limited colour palettes and layering). It has gradually developed to involve digital methods; retaining hand drawn qualities, yet utilising the computer for it’s benefits in working commercially with clients.

My current project list consists of several editorial projects, a book cover, and an advertising campaign for Chevrolet. There’s also an exciting book in the pipeline, but I’m afraid I can’t give anything away just yet… you’ll have to wait and see!

As for what’s out there, and inspired me this year…well, I’m a big fan of the ’59 parks’ (www.59parks.net) project. Illustrators are asked to create a poster for a US national park. It’s so nice to see all the varying levels of detail and the epic compositions. The project is making it’s way through all 59 parks. I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to create a print myself, which will be released soon.


Instagram: @daviddoran_


Posted on Dec 20th, 17 by | Twitter: @lisahassell

Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words regularly appear in Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.

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