Welcome to “The Daily Illustrator”. This series of posts aims at promoting and profiling local and international illustrators. This is an experiment of sorts, sending out questions via e-mail to practitioner’s who’s work I found diverse and interesting. I asked them to send images of work to coincide as well as permission to draw each of them to keep the aesthetic of Deadbeat knitted into the concept.This will probably happen one week a month. I’m still a fan of long form, transcribed interviews so look out for those as I have more on the way. Here’s our first daily illustrator, David McMillan.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START ILLUSTRATING AND KNOW WAS IT SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO DO AS A PROFESSION?
Well I always loved drawing as a kid. I watched a lot of cartoons and remember filling folders with my own character. I wanted to create my own version of The Simpsons. My brother got me into comics by the likes of Jamie Smart and Evan Dorkin as a teenager, and that got me trying to make my own, but right up until my foundation year I thought I wanted to be an animator and maybe make comics on the side. Then I learnt more about graphic design, illustration and visual communication. I can be a very lazy person at times, so I thought why do twenty-four drawings for one second, when I can do one drawing and get a message and story across straight away?
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
I love walking around the streets of Berlin and people watching. Moving to a new city has definitely helped give me some new inspiration. The rich history of the city and its art scene, its eccentric and varied inhabitants and all the new experiences that come with moving. I walk around and make a mental note of little things I find funny, shapes of buildings or people, certain colours or what people are wearing. It all kind of melds together into the little narratives I want to show in my work.
HOW DO YOU GET THE IDEAS FOR YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?
Again a lot of people watching and observing, but it also depends what I’m working on. If it’s for an editorial project that’s all down to the subject of the article. I do some research into it, and try to see how I can play with the shapes of the characters or layout to make something that’s bold and fits together nicely to tell a little story. For my personal work that can come from anywhere, something I see while walking or an interesting stories on a podcast or online.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM TO WORK WITH?
I have a Faber-Castell TK 9400 mechanical pencil that I use constantly (with 4 or 5B leads). If I lost it I’d probably have to give up being an illustrator, or just go buy another one. I use that, as well as a mixture of colour pencils and crayons for sketching and putting together illustrations. For final pieces I combine all the drawings in the computer (in a screenprinting style technique) and colour them digitally in Photoshop, trying to keep a sketchy quality to my work.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
Just a few wee personal projects at the minute. I've been reworking ideas for a little book on 1920s Jazz Age Berlin, inspired by a great exhibition of posters and memorabilia I saw last year. I also want to get back into making some comics. Lots of little ideas, just need to pick one to finish first.
WHAT'S YOUR CURRENT PLAYLIST AS YOU WORK?
It’s been almost constant David Bowie at the minute. Appreciating all the classic albums, and really enjoying his last one, Blackstar. Before that it was a lot of Springsteen and the new albums by Ezra Furman, EL VY, Deerhunter and Tame Impala. I also have an eclectic playlist of stuff I've found from friends and BBC 6music which is nice to work to as you get a nice variation of genres.
ARE THERE ANY ILLUSTRATORS THAT YOU ARE A FAN OF THAT DESERVE SOME EXPOSURE?
I may be totally biased, but my girlfriend Jayde Perkin is an amazing illustrator. Her work is really funny, personal and beautifully painted in gouache. Also a wee shout out to Berlin friends Beth Walrond, Ellice Weaver and Til Luket and English mate Amy Marsh.
If you're interested in featuring on The Daily Illustrator, drop us a message here and thanks for reading.