Grad Spotlight: Adam Menzies
Bradford-based illustrator, Adam Menzies, talks to Inkygoodness about life after Uni, ‘levelling up’ and his future aspirations as part of our ongoing graduate spotlight series.
You recently graduated from university. What aspect of your course did you most enjoy?
The tutors that I had there were already established illustrators, so they could give me and my course mates valuable and relevant advice about all aspects of the industry.
And tell us a little bit about your career so far – have you taken on many paid commissions / client work yet?
After uni, I started doing illustrations for an online magazine based in Leeds, as well as for my personal portfolio. I’m also creating illustrations and a few short comics for a self-published zine that is going to be released throughout Leeds and Bradford now too. I haven’t really taken on any paid work as of yet, although I’m about to start sending some promotional postcards and emails to potential clients so fingers crossed!
So, are you looking for agency representation or are you happy to do it yourself?
It’s actually something that I have been looking into a bit and I’m quite open to the idea of being represented. Most people who do have agents seem to have a steady flow of work, which appeals to me.
How would you describe your working process? What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I scribble down ideas in pencil, and then scribble them down more and more – but neater and defined. I then start the final image in mechanical pencil, before going over it again in pen and scanning it into the computer to colour in Photoshop. Recently though, I’ve just been using pen and pencil, but I really want to get into doing collage again, and colouring my illustration in something that isn’t Photoshop or Illustrator.
Where do you work?
At the moment, I’m working from my parent’s house. It’s not ideal, but it’s alright. I’ll hopefully be moving out in a couple of months with my friends – who are also illustrators – so that we can turn the house into one big studio space.
I know it’s a silly analogy but, for me anyway, it’s almost like I’ve levelled up in a game when I come back from a break or holiday.
Do you take day trips or travel often? If so, how does it fuel your creativity?
I love travelling! I went to Copenhagen last year for five days smack bang in the middle of my final semester at uni, and it definitely made me feel reenergized, refocused and ready to finish things. I think it’s always good after an extensive period of time doing something like illustration to take a step back for a few weeks. I know it’s a silly analogy but, for me anyway, it’s almost like I’ve levelled up in a game when I come back from a break or holiday.
And do you keep a sketchbook at all? What role do visual journals play in your work for recording ideas, and dipping in and out for inspiration?
They never used to play any part, but I’ve gradually come to depend on them, and I definitely dip back in and out of my sketchbooks.
What is your go-to snack of choice to fuel your productivity ahead of a big deadline?
Bananas, crisps, and lots of tea and coffee – or whatever else takes my fancy when I’m shopping.
I see projects every day that I secretly wish I’d made. At the minute though, I’d probably say any work by Micah Lidberg or Cleon Peterson.
Tell us about your Invention Town zine – was this the first zine you’d made and illustrated? How did you choose the colour palette?
It was one of my final projects at Derby, we were asked to interpret the word ‘invention’ in any way we thought fit, but it had to be in book form and at least six double pages long. At the time of the project, I kept seeing these articles on crazy, useless inventions and wanted to incorporate all of them into it somehow, so it ended up being a picture book/zine of crazy inventions! The colour scheme was just lifted from one of my own illustrations and then tweaked in Photoshop as I went along – bringing in and taking away colours until I was happy.
What about any writers, architects, toy designers, etc., that you admire? Who are they and what do you like most about their work?
I own a book with a ton of architecture in, but I couldn’t name names.
Finally, what would you most like to be doing with your illustration in 5-10 years time?
Making something 3D or perhaps going down the animation route. Also, just being able to make a living off it.
This post is part of our ongoing Graduate Spotlight series. If you’re a recent graduate and would like to get featured click here to find out more.