Hell Mr. Webster, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. To start, could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
I am a freelance illustrator and designer. I have been in the field for 9 years now. I love my job.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I studied painting in a fine art program and learned about design on my own time, through textbooks, magazines and general observation.
How long did it take you to develop your style of illustration?
My style developed itself, actually. Many students are too hung up on style when they have not yet learned to draw WELL. I try and drive this point home when I give lectures, but it’s hard to really communicate the notion properly. After years and years of trying to really understand drawing, my style just kind of ‘happened.’ I don’t really know how else to explain it!
When did you start freelancing?
I started freelancing in 2003. I sent out some emails to some art directors of smaller publications and started getting work pretty quickly – it was a great feeling.
What was the hardest illustration or series of illustrations you ever had to create?
The hardest work for me is the work I am currently doing for a graphic novel project (www.lightchildren.com). It is extremely difficult to tell a story effectively through pictures – it is a great challenge and I am enjoying the learning experience it is providing throughout the process.
How many illustrations do you do a month on average?
Between 15 and 25.
Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
I have about ten clients who give me steady work and another thirty or so who give me a few things every other month or so. Self promotion is just part of the business and it must remain a constant.
Can you remember a job that was particularly fun or enjoyable?
I like nearly every job, really – I usually don’t take on jobs that I don’t think will be fun, unless the money is simply too much to resist! I really enjoy doing portraits of musicians, perhaps more than other assignments.
Your video on You Tube â€œOriginal Design Gangstaâ€ was a big hit can you tell us a little about it?
I had about three days with no deadlines and I was looking for something fun to do to blow off some steam and maybe get a laugh out of some friends. It was never intended to really be a self-promotional success, but I’m glad it became so popular. My wife just snapped some photos of my body and face and I got to work in Flash and Garageband – it was thrown together hastily because I never thought anybody would judge my design skills by something so ridiculous. However, I did get people emailing me and telling me that I was a bad designer – they actually took the video seriously! Oh well.
What was the purpose of the video or what inspired you to create it?
I thought the design world needed something fun and silly and I also thought that a lot of designers take their professions a bit too seriously.
How long did it take to create?
About three days.
Are you planning on creating anymore?
I doubt it! I rarely have a string of three days where I don’t have sketches or other things due… but maybe!
What do you enjoy the most about being a creative professional?
Getting to do something different every day, making my own schedule, and not wearing a tie to work! Mainly, I like drawing every day.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
My favorite illustrators: James Jean, Gary Kelley, Mark English, Jillian Tamaki, Sterling Hundley, Brian Cronin, and James McMullan.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
If you don’t continue to practice your craft and improve on your own time, you’ll never make it! There are so many talented people in the world – the people who succeed are the people who really apply that talent and develop it without succumbing to laziness or indifference. Stand out from the crowd and never get complacent.
Kyle T. Webster – www.kyletwebster.com