Interview with Patrick Morgan
August 24 2010 08:55
Being an award-winning illustrator
Growing up in north London, and starting out as a labourer, Patrick Morgan has worked against the odds to become one of Britain’s leading illustrators.
Patrick completed a BA in Graphics and Illustration at Kingston University, the breeding ground of the UK’s creative industry, testing both his natural strength for drawing and his dedication to growing as an illustrator. It was here that he learnt that to stand a chance of success, he had to be the best that he could be. In the world of commercial illustration, only the strong will survive. He still has the scars 12 years on.
Graduating in 1998, Patrick stayed true to his aims to build a business around his raw talent, creative passion and incredible ability to draw. His career has been diverse, his clients are from all backgrounds and his success is incredible. His award-winning illustrations can be seen worldwide and his unique style has been endorsed by household fashion brands such as Yves Saint Lauren, Celine, Reiss, Levis and Tom Ford and by businesses such as Coca-Cola, Smirnoff, Selfridges, Virgin Mobile and Waitrose.
1. What was the deciding factor that made you want to be an illustrator and why?
Illustration wasn’t an area I was familiar with, I was from a background of painting and printmaking. I discovered illustration when I finished my foundation at Middlesex University applying to Kingston for a degree in Graphics/illustration. While at Kingston I followed the path of printmaking through drawing and painting, which then became illustration.
2. How did you become a professional illustrator, what was the turning point in your career?
During my final show at University I was approached by an Agency in London Début Art whom felt that my work would be perfect for the commercial market and I could earn a living from my creative process. I accepted and started the process of developing my style to a more sellable product. It took quite a while to land my first commission, which was for Q music magazine – an illustration of REM, which was great fun! My computer knowledge was low so supplying art via the web was very hard and I had to learn fast. The turning point for me was in 2003 when I received a job for Selfridges, which was not only exciting and fun but also nicely paid compared to editorial work I was getting previously. This made me realise that there was a business in this and I wanted more
3. What has been the most difficult career choice you have had to make?
Leaving my job to go freelance, as your work rate can go from 12 jobs a week to none – so really keeping jobs coming in and also trying to keep up with new styles and trend changes in the business.
4. What has been the highlight of your career to date?
My highlight was collaborating with Hewlett Packard on new printing mediums and large format printers and them allowing me to experiment with all their new equipment for the last 7 years. Then going to HP events and then experimenting with other artists/designers/directors like Tony Chambers editor of Wallpaper* magazine, Joel Meyerowitz US photographer and Javier Mariscal Designer/illustrator.
5. What is your favourite thing about being an illustrator?
Being an illustrator allows you to see your work globally when finished and the distance you have travelled from making a drawing at college to selling a piece of commissioned art that is liked by others.
6. What is the one thing about your job that makes you angry?
ART DIRECTORS with their own vision and killing the process of the job and not allowing an artistic collaboration rather than a creative dictatorship.
7. Describe your job in three words:
8. Who was your role model when you were younger?
David Hockney was and is still a great love of mine. Ian Rush was an inspiration to me also because I love football and as a kid he was a cult hero in Britain.
9. If someone was to write your biography, what do you think the title should be?
One of 15 (I have fifteen brother and sisters so that is always a surprising fact)
10. If you could travel back in time to one moment in your life, what would you change?
Nothing, my path is this and I am happily married with 2 kids Mylo and Robyn and they are great!
11. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone and what was the conversation about?
Tony Chambers (Wallpaper) To design a cover for the new bespoke issue – interesting! Then my wife 'what’s for dinner?'
12. What is the one thing you could not live without?
My pencil, it does it all.
Over the last 4 years Patrick has turned his hand to teaching at Istituto Marangoni UK, helping students evolve into butterflies of the fashion, styling and graphics industry. Sharing his highly contagious passion with the next generation of international creative’s, whilst still drawing and designing everyday. If you would like to see more of his work visit his website patrickmorgan.co.uk
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