Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Here is my transcribed interview with aka creator of the Mad-Men-Yourself application!!

>  When did you receive your professional commission and how did your client
> come into contact with you?
It's a slow process from doing things for friends as a favor to
friends insisting on giving you something for your work which starts
as a picking up a tab at the coffee shop to a fist full of cash money
to getting an agreed amount of money from a stranger. I'm not sure
which was the first professional commission. I assume it was a flyer
for the UCB Theatre after a year of doing posters and flyers for free
because I was in the shows the posters were advertising.

> How do you come into contact with most of the clients you make work for
> currently?
The internet. I try not to have to meet anyone in person or have to
talk to them on phone. I want clients to be faceless text-on-a-page.
Clients find me, I don't do any promotion and don't have a manager.

> What kind of work do you get asked to do the most?
It depends what the last big project I did was. When my Mad Men
drawings first got a lot of viral attention, I got a rash of people
who wanted their portraits done in that style. When the AMC Mad Men
Yourself web toy came out, a bunch of websites wanted applications
exactly like that (people have no imagination; I turned all these down
not only because of conflict-of-interest but because I am not a
programmer), but I ended up doing a similar web thing for the Marc
Jacobs site (since taken down). When Hipster Animals got a burst of
media attention, I was getting 4-5 requests a week to draw pets or
draw people-as-animals from that site. Right now, no one is asking for
anything... it's pretty dead.

> Do you have a preference of what kind of work you like doing the most? Poster design? website layouts? personal portraiture? etc?
I don't do web at all. People specialize in that and my web skills
date to about 1996. It's way too much work. Anything else is good.

> Do you mind doing commercial work, and is there a certain kind of company
> that you'd never make work for?
You mean as opposed to personal portraits? As long as I get paid, I
don't care. A lot of big companies find ways not to pay you. I would
avoid working for the flagrantly dishonest ones.

> How long are you usually given to make something for a client, or how long
> do they usually give you? Do they typically set a deadline or do you?
I depends on the job. Most cases I ask if there's a date they
absolutely need it by and give a broad frame of when it's coming. I
wouldn't turn an illustration around in under a week unless the client
paid a rush fee.

> What is your work schedule typically like when you're working on a
> commission?
I avoid doing the work for as long as possible and then get it all
done in one go. I procrastinate and have insomnia.

> Are most of the clients you work with agreeable about the finished product?
In all but discounted jobs, I say up front that I include three rounds
of revision. If they're unhappy, they have stages to vent their
frustrations and ask for changes or pay for more revisions. Only two
clients in memory have still been discontent after three (and I
delivered a great many half-stages between those) stages were never
going to be satisfied, so I refunded their money and told them to find
someone else. I'm not a therapist or a mind-reader and I wasn't
getting paid enough to become one for these clients. I'm not sweating
my "integrity" on some a job I took just for the money; I'm worry
about my sanity and frustration.

> Do you ever revert back to traditional media to make or to assist on a
> digital piece?
No. I'm 100% digital.

> Do you think that digital media measures up to physical media? Do you think
> it surpasses it, even?
I don't use paint, ink, etc. and never have. I doodle with a pen on
diner placemats and that's it.

> Do you have a full or part time job in addition to doing freelance?
I taught regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre this year
but that was similarly unstructured. Not sure which one counts as the
"day job."

> Who is your favorite illustrator/artist currently?
I haven't thought about it. Probably Daniel Clowes.

> Who were the artists that influenced you when you first started
> drawing/making artwork?
Who influenced me professionally? Luc LaTulippe is a Canadian
illustrator who also works in vector and had a big web presence ten
years ago (and still does) when I was starting to become a
"professional" instead of a dabbler. When feeling my way through Adobe
Illustrator I was looking at his techniques as a guide. He's not
famous, just a solid working illustrator.

When doing work for Mad Men I was specifically looking at illustrators
who worked in the era the show is set (and slightly before since
photography had all but taken over ad work in the 60s), which included
Aurelius Battaglia, Alice & Martin Provensen, Art Seiden, Miroslav
Sasek and J. P. Miller. Looking at Richard Scarry's early work lead to
his later work that inspired Hipster Animals.

> Do you feel like the internet has made being an artist easier or more
> difficult? or both?
I couldn't work without it so I assume easier. I haven't been an
"artist" in the time before email was widespread so I can't compare
it. It would be harder to avoid phone calls with no email.