Featured Illustrator

Wildergrim

September 2018

We loved chatting with graphic artist Adrian du Buisson (aka. WIldergrim)! We spoke about having clients passionate about what they do, his first design job, how he got it and what he learned, and the influences that have made it into his work (kids cartoons, sci-fi, toy packaging — now I've told you, can you see it?)

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into illustration and design?

I’d say I was a fairly creative little kid, lots of drawing and crafting stuff. A few specific endeavours I remember is making my own illustrated story books, paper cut-out characters, and animal toys out of old juice bottles and household miscellany. So as a boy I was probably a fairly prolific artist, receiving critical acclaim (from my parents) but alas went largely unnoticed by the general public.

I credit Adobe Illustrator, vector graphics and the friend who showed it to me as putting me firmly on the path to a career in illustration and design. In discovering this new way to draw that I loved, I became very interested in graphic art.

What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?

I planned to send my portfolio out to local brand and digital studios. I was a bit hesitant about that though because there was a big focus on illustration in my graphic design projects, and I didn’t know whether it would be seen as a positive or negative thing.

What actually happened is: Before I had a chance to send anything, I received an email from one of those places asking if I could come in for a meeting and talk about working with them. I actually thought it was just for one project, but it turned out to be an interview for a full-time position. I’m glad I didn’t realise this going in, because I was only very, very nervous instead of very, very, VERY nervous.

I’m grateful for that first design job because I was hired by supportive people that really valued and encouraged my particular set of skills. I learned a lot about design, working with others and communicating with clients. It was an important experience to have and a good foundation to start my career.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I think a few factors made my particular aesthetic what it is today. Growing up I was always fascinated and influenced by cartoons, so I’d watch a lot of those (I haven’t stopped) and be inspired to draw. I love sci-fi and fantasy themes, which is what a lot of my work tends to revolve around. I wandered into a designer toy shop while travelling once and I was instantly in love with the bold and graphic styles on display there. I liked that there could be so much personality in shape, colour and simplicity, and embraced that principle in my own work. Starting to use Adobe Illustrator around the same time was a real synergy.

I view my style as always in development, something I build on that evolves over time. I follow my instincts and try new ideas because that’s part of the fun, but it also allows me to offer a range of possibilities to future clients. My tips for others:

Practice often.

Draw what you enjoy.

Recognise your own journey of improvement and don't be so hard on yourself.

"

Be honest about your mistakes and motivated to fix them.

"

What do you look for in a great client?

Creatively it’s important that they are passionate about what they do and can communicate effectively about their goals and their audience. Collaborating with someone that is open to ideas and enthusiastic about my work is a great feeling. I always hope to design something that my client feels truly invested in, and proud of. For students, I’d advise that ideally, you want to work with people that demonstrate respect for you and respect for your time. If you reciprocate that, you can potentially form good working relationships that last beyond one project.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Don’t be scared to ask for help or guidance when you need it. Be honest about your mistakes and motivated to fix them, or do better next time. It’s natural to feel nervous and anxious at times, especially when confronted with something unknown. Do your best and learn from those challenging experiences!

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Right now I’m busy designing for WAMFest music festival which happens in Perth, November 2-3. Beyond a few upcoming jobs, my ambitions for this year include some editorial illustration and working on new Wildergrim products and art pieces for exhibitions, shops and online. As always I hope to meet new people doing cool stuff, and work on interesting projects with them! I’ll also listen to a lot of music, have a little holiday, and play as many video games as I possibly can :P

Thanks for talking to me Design Kids!

Website: wildergrim.com

Instagram: @wildergrim

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