Those of you that stalk us on Facebook remember that they’ve already been threatened with this interview from Gaunty (Colin Gauntlett) who is an amazing illustrator and gave us a crazy cool interview! You already know him and his style if you have been following this blog, so you know I am super pleased to have obtained this short insight into his life. But this blog is for you all reading it, so if you want us to feature someone in particular do not hesitate to let me know in the comment section. Let’s get on to the fun part and enjoy his words of wisdom – Thank you, Gaunty! You’re awesome!
Gaunty interview for Tshirt Factory Blog !
Oana: Tell our readers a little about yourself: where are you from, where do you reside and what is your main profession?
Gaunty: Well, I am English but currently live in Bolivia with my American wife as her parents are Bolivian. My parents live in France just to complicate things a little more. Freelance illustration is my main source of income although I substitute occasionally at an English academy opposite my house.
O: Why did you decide to become an illustrator?
Gaunty: I always end up moving around a lot and illustrations became an easy way to do art. I was always more of a 3D guy at college and university but you need a lot of space and materials and it becomes costly. I want to take up chip carving soon as another way to make my ideas come alive but it’s hard to find the tools here in Bolivia.
O: What was your first professional design?
G: Liz from Mama feels good was the first person to purchase one of my designs but I don’t think it was ever used. My first commissioned piece was for Cavata and I believe it is still one of their best sellers to this day.
O: Do you work alone or are you in any collaboration?
Gaunty: Due to my location at present I am not in any collectives although it might be nice in the future if I move to a country with more t shirt designers.
O: Tell us a little about La Muerta and how did you get involved?
Gaunty: Twitter is to blame for us getting together. I saw Luis the owner was a surfer and we just got chatting and in the end he picked up a design I had done earlier and I have been doing some other stuff for him in recent months. He is a great guy and I really like where he is taking his product. He also knows the best surf and eats in San Diego which gives him bonus points.
O: What do you use – 100% digital or is there paper involved?
Gaunty: I do occasionally use pen and ink but due to my designs usually being quite symmetrical it is easier to map them out on the computer. I do try and shade them without using special brushes. All the stippling I do is just with a normal brush tool.
O: What are your works based on or what do they revolve around? A theme or an idea you keep slipping into your illustrations?
Gaunty: Obviously I draw what I am asked to draw but when I do my own designs for sale or just because then they usually have a touch of ye olde world about them. I’m heavily influenced by Celtic designs but I try to give them an update and add my own characters that wouldn’t be considered traditional.
O: How would you describe your style?
Gaunty: Clean lines, bold ideas and concepts and hopefully original.
O: What’s one source of inspiration that you keep going back to?
Gaunty: Like I said the Celtic thing definitely inspires me. Being able to envisage a pattern and create it is fun. It’s like a puzzle for me and I enjoy the challenge.
O: How do you overcome designer’s block?
Gaunty: It used to be going for a surf but right now I’m landlocked and running has become a good way to clear the cobwebs out and start over.
O: Is there anything that you specifically avoid using in your illustrations?
Gaunty: I try to stay clear of some elements that pop up all the time like sharks, eagles, skulls etc. but sometimes they slip in there but I try to put a spin on them and make them my own.
O: Is there anything that you’ve never quite been able to depict?
Gaunty: Bikes and cars. I suck at them. Let’s no go there. NEXT.
O: Can you name some of your favorite designs and why? (personal or other designers)
Gaunty: The Moby Dick design Keaton Henson did for Greg from Miles to Go is an awesome design. So simple but it looks great. Most of the Latino inspired stuff Jonny Crap does is also pretty phenomenal. So much great stuff out there really I could go on for days.
O: Tell me something you really like in the graphic design industry.
Gaunty: Getting the chance to meet and work with amazing people with similar ideas about life and getting to do new things all the time. This week I have been working on a design for a guitar pedal. Would never have thought about doing that 5 years ago.
O: What about something that you don’t like?
G: Massive egos. Seeing people get tons of work and watching their heads expand at a disproportional rate. I really look up to artists that have achieved a lot in this business but are still humble.
O: Graphic designers/artists you admire?
Gaunty: Can I just give a top 5? There are way more but again I could sit here for days.
O: What are you working on right now?
Gaunty: A CD sleeve. This is my first that will be printed and not just used digitally so it’s pretty exciting. I am also sketching out ideas for a piece for an exhibition in August.
O: Any advice for young designers on how to get their work out there and promote it?
Gaunty: Don’t sell yourself short. Contact as many people as you can. The more your name is out there the better. However do it professionally. Don’t send 2 line emails from your iPhone. Have a portfolio ready to show and make sure it has work in it that is relative to the potential clients you are contacting.