Questioning Creatives


This article was written on 25 Feb 2013, and is filled under illustrators.

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Arthur Hamer

My name is Arthur, I’m 23 years old and I’m a graduate of the BA Illustration course at Falmouth in Cornwall. Before that I did a Foundation at Falmouth, and before that I was at school, and before that I was very small and was obsessed with tractors.

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When did you decide you wanted to be illustrator?
When I was on my foundation. I thought I wanted to study animation, but the tutors on my foundation course were really good at helping us to find the right courses to go for, and Illustration seemed like a really good fit, as it suited the sort of work I liked to make.

Would you recommend studying at art school?
Oh yeah, big time. I had the absolutely best time. Art school is a wonderful, magical place where I met a lot of great friends, learned about amazing things and got help improving my skills as an artist, partly from the tutors, but mainly from my friends and classmates.


How long was it before illustration became your primary form of income?
While I’ve been lucky to get a few illustration jobs since I’ve graduated, I’m not getting anything regular enough to be described as an “income” at this point. In the meantime, I have a part time job at a sculpture supplies company.

Could you describe your typical day 
I wake up, eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast, and then get to work either sketching things out with a pencil on a big sheet of paper, or working on a piece of artwork on my computer. I have a desk for drawing set up in another room, away from my computer, which sort of works to stop myself getting distracted. In the afternoons I like to take a break to walk the dogs and look at the countryside. In the evenings I like to play Tetris on my Game Boy, or watch 80s action romps such as Commando, Point Break and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Technically Point Break was in ’91, but I still like it.

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What do you wish you’d know when you first started out?
How hard it would be when I graduated. University is wonderful –  all your friends are just a short walk away, and you have excellent facilities and helpful tutors at your disposal, and you sort of forget the real world exists outside of the art school bubble. It’s been tough coming back home and trying to get into the same mindset of making work that I had when I was at uni.

What’s the best thing about being an illustrator? 
If everything works out, you are getting paid to do what you love, and that’s pretty much a dream come true if you ask me.

What’s the worst thing about being an illustrator?
While you might be able to charge a good amount for your work, being freelance means there’s no guarantee you’ll get another job the next week. It’s hard trying to balance freelance commissions, personal work and any job you might have to pay the bills. I’ve only just recently started being a freelancer, so it’s just taking a while to get myself out there and get people to see my work, but you’ve got to keep at it and be determined.


If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
I love being able to tell stories above anything else – I’d love to be a filmmaker or a game designer.

Any other tips you could share?
Show people your work, and ask them for their criticism! Being told where you can improve is vastly more helpful than being told it’s “nice”. Don’t be afraid of showing your work off – there’s nothing worse than an artist who is too ashamed of their work to show it to anyone. You’re not going to get anywhere in the competitive world of visual arts like that!
Make contacts and be outgoing. Unfortunately, you’re only going to get commissions if people know who you are and what you do (or if your work is stupidly good), so don’t be afraid to do some networking.

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