I like Apple, I like their products, I own quite a few. I would consider my relationship to Apple to be a healthy, rational, grown up one. This is, as opposed to my relationship with say, the football team I support, or Star Wars, The Sopranos, ex girlfriends, ex girlfriends’ sisters… I could go on.
The nights are turning darker, the shops are selling Xmas stuff, is your business ready for Xmas? A Xmas illustration, a little snow on your logo, a little bit of the magic of Xmas… In the words of Slade’s Noddy Holder, “It’s Christmas!” (in a few weeks).
I draw a mean Santa, and a mean Rudolph.
This scene really reflects the spirit of Xmas for me. I was working all day in this pub in Harringay in North London. It was a Wetherspoons (a quick search online says it is now shut). Unusual for a Wetherspoons in that it was a nice pub, not the Airport hanger factory feel of their modern outlets. Hyggelig they aint!
These two fellas were characters. During the full day I was in the pub painting the blackboards these two were commenting on everything and everyone. Very likeable guys, I don’t think a positive word was said about anyone or anything at any point. The contrast between Santa and Rudolph’s happy faces, I thought was just lovely.
This was one of my favourite aspects of working in pubs and restaurants, merging into the background and hearing all sorts of conversations and dramas unfolding throughout the day. It was like an episode of Eastenders, but with good acting and writing. In one pub I was working near Oxford Street, the actress Wendy Richard (Pauline in Eastenders) was drinking… doof, doof, doof (Eastenders theme). I wrote a lot more on my celebrity experiences in this article.
This is a developed illustration for my then client Aberdeen Football Club. The Aberdeen FC mascot Angus the Bull is in the centre. Aberdeen play in red, but when they won the European Super Cup, beating European Cup holders SV Hamburg in December 1983 they wore their away strip which was white.
An illustration featuring a cheeky dig at Noel Gallagher.
I was delighted to launch a new Facebook page for my cartoon illustration work, and even more delighted to see it pick up an audience of over a thousand in a couple of weeks. Having worked as a cartoonist and illustrator on newspapers and magazines in the UK and Denmark before becoming a designer it was a part of my skills set that had to be put on hold.
As my web design and graphic design business is working well, I now have enough time to post a couple of cartoons or comics a week on the Facebook page, and the website iain.dk. I have a shop on the website, and look forward to developing some merchandise for it over the coming months. The post above on Vincent Van Gogh picked up 2700 likes through targeting a boosted post to the correct audience.
The Facebook page also becomes my main Facebook business page on Social Media as like many other designers I learned that posting design inspiration, and examples of my work created an exceptionally dull Facebook page, that even I didn’t want to like.
The page in itself won’t generate web design leads or graphic design leads, but it puts me out there as a creative person, knowledgeable about building an audience on Facebook, the shop will generate some income, and it’s a lot of fun. And if you like the page, I will be delighted to see you there.
Listen to The Joker
Working for free is a discussion subject that comes up way too often in the design world sadly. As the late Heath Ledger’s Joker character says in the film The Dark Knight above, “If you are good at something, never do it for free.”
There are a number of reasons for this, and a quick Google will find many other reasons not to work for free from other designers. But from my experience, it’s all about respect.
If you work for free, or offer to work for free, you may be liked by that person for doing it, but you will never be respected. And when you are not respected, your work and ideas are not respected. So that piece of work that you do for free, partly for experience, partly for your portfolio, will almost certainly be ruined by the client. Effectively becoming useless as an example of your work, and can’t be shown to future clients or employers.
Avoid business sharks
The other reason I strongly recommend not working for free, is the type of people who accept free work. They are generally awful. They are not a client for the future, and will never pay you for work at a later date, as they will just look for another ‘sucker’ to work for them for free. I saw a young designer post on a freelancers’ Facebook group offering to work for free. The people responding were like sharks circling wounded prey. Avoid these types at all costs.
My local football club are Brønshøj BK. They have been in the top Danish league, and are more often than not in the second tier. Currently in the third tier of Danish football, but will hopefully get through their play off group.
Their stadium is Tingbjerg Stadium (Idrætspark), about 10 minutes from my flat, so if Aberdeen don’t have a game at the same time I try and head over there. It is a 3000 capacity stadium with 600 seats, and has a wonderful charm. The combination of passionate local supporters and nice compact stadium with recently added floodlights, and beer and hotdogs and snaps , make for a great experience.
Brønshøj BK play in yellow and black, and are known as The Wasps (Hvepsene).
Bus 2a from Copenhagen Central Station (Hovedbanegården) going towards Nørrebro, will get you there.
I have been working on the illustrations as I also experiment with my Aberdeen FC work, and will be adding more shortly.
This is a work in progress for my portfolio. It is based on a meal in The Nørrebro Bryghus restaurant in Nørrebro in Copenhagen.
I had a very enjoyable meal with my good friend Pedro.
As an illustrator the advice given is always to stick to one style. This is with regard to selling as an illustrator, to be memorable for art directors. I have always had difficulty following this advice, and when younger the constraints stopped me being able to work at times.
So there’s the cartoon work that is the majority my iain.dk website, the still life like the above image, portraiture (new ones coming soon) and more detailed character design.
I justify my switching of styles by pointing out Sir Paul McCartney wrote Helter Skelter, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, and Hey Jude. So if the great man can switch style as he pleases so can I.
I appreciate putting myself in the same sentence as Sir Paul is an act of laughable egoism, but if no one else will do it…
Out for lunch with my good friend Pedro at Staalvand Cafe in Brønshøj on the outskirts of Copenhagen. I took some photos of my burger and felt inspired to do an illustration.
This is from my cartoon website at www.iain.dk. As a huge fan of Edouard Manet’s paintings, when I’m in London I always visit The Courtauld Institute gallery to visit Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies Bergère. It is a sensational painting. Situated about a two minute walk from Trafalgar Square on The Strand it is also a lot quieter than the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.
A Copenhagen based, freelance graphic designer, web designer and illustrator. Originally from Scotland with more than two decades experience in design and marketing.