Today’s Daily Illustrator is Debbie Montgomery, the self acclaimed “redheaded human” behind Debmon Design. Working under this handle, Debbie has created a range of products, available to peruse here, riffing off a mix of popular culture and personal interests, whilst providing custom portrait options for customers who want something a little more unique. Read on to find out about Debbie’s practice and check out some examples of her work. Cheers
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START ILLUSTRATING AND KNOW WAS IT SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO DO AS A PROFESSION?
I started drawing when I was very young, anything creative really I was always getting stuck into. During primary school after briefly wanting to be a gladiator when I grew up...(as in the programme Gladiators), I wanted to be an animator. I thought the animation studio shown on Nickelodeon looked amazing, you just got to have fun all day.
When it came to Uni I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to focus on. After a Foundation Year (animation wasn’t available plus I don’t think I’d have the patience for it), I choose Graphic Design and Illustration. During that I was always leaning toward the more illustrative briefs. I think it’s because I felt there was more freedom within illustration, more opportunity to play. Who doesn’t want to be able to play and call it work. I thought, if people pay me to do this, that would be ideal!
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
Films often inspire me, whether it’s a great storyline, a crazy action sequence or just beautifully shot. It won’t be inspiration to create a specific thing, but they’ll re-energise me to get stuck into whatever I’m working on at the time. Any Wes Anderson film for example. Whiplash was great for this too. It’s so relentless, with a great soundtrack! Helps to confirm that no one is interested in your excuses, if you want something to happen, it’s all on you to put in the hard work and make it happen. The very first robots I drew, that sparked the whole theme of my creations, were movie night themed. My custom portraits are set up round the idea of being all gathered together to watch a movie too.
HOW DO YOU GET THE IDEAS FOR YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?
Ideas hit me all over the place. The Notes app on my phone is full of random little snippets of ideas that have suddenly pounced on me. When coming up with new greeting card designs, my inspiration comes from relationships I have with friends, family or my boyfriend. Little things happen or are said that I know people will relate to. Other times a current trend or the latest thing to go viral will give me an idea.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM TO WORK WITH?
At the moment a simple black pen is my favourite. I’ll use a mechanical pencil for sketching initial ideas - which means it never needs sharpened! Hallelujah! I was always told off for writing with a very blunt pencil at primary school. Sometime I’ll use a black biro. When it comes to the final thing I use Pigment Liner pens of different thicknesses by Staedtler. Then I edit a little and usually add a tiny but of colour digitally. I’ve found with drawing my nature is to keep everything monochrome. I’ve been trying to embrace some colour. Sometimes crayons will get involved too. I do enjoy using paint at times, but I prefer how immediate pens are. No need for water or mixing etc etc.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
There’s always a couple things on the go. As for new work, I plan to introduce some wire based art into my shop. It’ll allow me to use my hands more, in that I get to manipulate the wire, but it’s still like drawing with simple, continuous lines. They’ll be mounted onto canvas. I also want to do a series of illustrations, robot themed of course, based on scenes from Wes Anderson movies.
CURRENT PLAYLIST AS YOU WORK?
At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine, Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain, Beach Boys, Daughter and Sia. Quite a mixture! Depending on the time of day I’ll sometimes have Radio 1 on in the background. If I’m packing orders which means repetition, I’ll find a programme to watch while I work. That way it’s more engaging which keeps me focused on the task at hand.
ARE THERE ANY ILLUSTRATORS THAT YOU ARE A FAN OF THAT DESERVE SOME EXPOSURE?
I was in the same class as Ashling Lindsay at Uni, all of her illustrations are so full of character and warmth, I love them, definitely worth a look! Martina Scott too, her work tends to have a lot of humour in it, very imaginative, textured and colourful. They’re both lovely people too, I’m looking forward to see where their talent takes them.