Alongside the educational material we design and produce, we also have specialists who commission artwork from a growing pool of talented illustrators. Having this resource in-house gives a number of advantages;
• It cuts the work down for our clients – they only have to deal with one supplier.
• Our specialists work closely with the designers here ensuring the artwork fits the pages perfectly and is appropriate to the context of the material.
• Designers can give opinions about the quality of the artwork drawn and check the technical integrity.
• We can place artwork as it comes in and spot problems earlier.
• We can oversee the scheduling and deadlines for artwork delivery to ensure it fits in with the main production of the books.
Our specialists have a deep knowledge of the process and we have built up a database of artists from all around the world.
We wanted to demonstrate how this works in our agency and we have profiled one of the artists we work with regularly, Julian Mosedale.
My name is Julian Mosedale and I am a freelance illustrator.
How and when did you start illustrating?
My first proper job was working as a copywriter in a design department for a mail-order fashion company, creating advertising campaigns and helping design all manner of things. This led to commissioning illustration for advertising and eventually being allowed to sneak in a bit of my own stuff as well. I guess this would have been in the early 1990s. This gave me the confidence to get a portfolio of work together and start showing it around. I then started getting work with the late lamented Punch magazine (in its last gasps of life) and the Independent newspapers’ children’s edition called The Indy. This eventually led to an agent kindly taking me under his wing and branching out into the world of educational publishing and children’s book illustration.
What types of illustration do you do?
My work is cartoony and a bit quirky – so I have been told.
Do you work outside of the publishing industry?
Most of my work is in the publishing industry, but across a fairly wide spectrum, from children’s books, educational text books and magazine editorial work to occasional cartoon work for national newspapers and illustration/photography photo shoots for clients such as The Early Leaning Centre and Sainsbury’s. I’ve just done some guide books for Penguin too.
What influences your work?
Early influences when I still used the trusty pen and ink were the great Ronald Searle and the mighty Ralph Steadman. But my work is now 90% digital and is mellowing with age. A favourite recent discovery has been American print maker David Weidman. He started drawing for the Mr Magoo cartoons but his poster work of the ’60s and ’70s is gorgeous. Check this out here.
What’s the first thing you do once you have been sent a brief from emc?
Praise the Lord then haggle over the budget.
How easy is it to be creative with your artwork from the brief you get sent?
Briefs for ELT work are fairly exacting. Very precise information has to be conveyed from the images in order for students to complete the exercises. But as long as all the correct elements are in place and all dress requirements are met and racial mixes accounted for, anything else seems to be OK. Actually, that sounds like a lot of restrictions, but generally most stylistic approaches that I suggest tend to be allowed by those nice people at Macmillan.
How easy is it to make changes to your illustrations if a concept or character changes?
Pretty easy, as all artwork is digital, and providing I’ve remembered to save layered files (not often, actually) most tweaks can be quickly done. Occasionally I might have to redraw a character or rearrange some elements but it shouldn’t take long. Sometimes it might only take a couple of minutes, as Alan may confirm!
Tools of your trade?
• Decent pencils (not just the free ones nicked from Ikea)
• V5 Hi-tech pilot pens from Tesco. Not the fanciest but I’m used to them
• Lots of paper
What has been your career highlight?
• Seeing your first drawing in print is always a thrill. Even if it’s a bit rubbish.
• Getting cartoons in Private Eye and Punch was a definite highlight, as that’s where my early heroes started out too.
• Seeing your name on your first book is also a goodie.
• And doing this obviously!
What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator?
Probably a lot more hoovering and tidying up.
We asked Julian to describe the process from receiving the brief from us to final artwork. We are demonstrating this through Interface Work Book 4 a Macmillan title that is currently going through our studio. To see how Julian does this click here.