Chris Kasch.Illustration

Students Questions / March 23rd, 2011

I just recently got asked a series of questions from a design student at Salford University so I have posted up the questions and replies. You never know, they may be of help to someone else.
What tools do you tend to use when producing your work?
I use photoshop to piece together an image out of many different sources of reference and then just plain old paintbrush on paper to work it up to paint. I might tweak the odd bit on photoshop again once it’s scanned too.
Do you tend to go down the traditional route or more digitally based work?
How would you say your work differentiates from other illustrators?
There aren’t too many illustrators who paint these days so I guess my work stands out in that way. I’ve heard my stuff described as photorealistic but I don’t really agree with that. My paint work is pretty textured when you look closely as I use virtually no water when applying the paint. It also quite often has a “cut – out ” sort of feel to it.
As technology is developing, do you think it is harder to be a traditional artist?
I hate the term “traditional artist”. Its as though we are no longer part of the jobbing illustration community but we are now something different. To answer the question though, yes it is. I think it’s a shame that these days I have to explain to some people that I don’t actually press a button on photoshop to make my work look like a painting. It’s also difficult to fit into a world now where digital artwork is created very quickly and the understanding of what is involved in actual painting is diminishing. The good art editors and designers have a very good understanding of what is required and set aside a little more time which is always appreciated and they tend to get the better artwork for their pre planning.
Do you think illustrators are a dyeing breed?
No not really.
When given a brief from a client, what stages would you undergo before coming up with the clients deliverables?
I usually like the client to give me some ideas. I am quite capable of coming up with my own but very often they have a specific idea about what they wan and it can save an enormous amount of time to find out what those expectations are from the very start. If a client already has some reference then that’s great but otherwise I will work on an image in photoshop, coming up with a rough that is submitted to the client. It’s important to sort out any amendments there and then as once I go to paint it becomes more difficult to change things around. Once the work is done I scan it in and email over a high res scan.
How do you keep your work fresh and exciting?
I don’t really have any personal work that I do so I try and put the things I would like to do into my commercial work. In that way I guess your commercial work is your personal work too.
What qualities do you think it takes for an illustrator in the twentieth-century to succeed in the profession?
I imagine it is the same qualities that have always been required. Drive, a thick skin, talent, the ability to focus in on what you need to do to succeed, not minding spending days and hours not seeing or speaking to anyone, good time management, always delivering on a deadline, working closely with your client. The list is endless and there are many very talented artists I have known who haven’t made a profession out of being an illustrator and I also know quite a few pretty average artists who have made a great career out of illustration by focusing on what they can offer, who they can offer it to and not being downhearted by knock backs.