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Q&A With Mister Phil

Brighton Illustrator Extraordinaire

Fable&Co. recently collaborated with uber talented, Brighton based illustrator, & super nice guy, Mister Phil, on an a exciting re-branding project which launches January 2017.

We sat down with Mister Phil to talk about his history, inspirations & future aspirations as an artist.

You can find out more about Mister Phil on his website over at www.misterphil.co.uk

Tell us about yourself? Who are you? 

I’m Mister Phil, doodler, image maker, illustrator and in the words of Ian Dury: eyeball pleaser (hopefully!)

Talk us through how you got into art? 

I always drew as a child, trying to replicate all sorts of images, be they animals from reference books, Spiderman and Judge Dredd from comics or the Star Wars concept artwork of Ralph McQuarrie. I loved the idea that I could draw something that was approaching a vague likeness to these amazing artists. Admiring this incredible skill and wanting to emulate these talented artists got me in to art.

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Tell us about your education & how it has impacted on your career as an artist? 

I always drew at school and remember being praised for my drawing which gave me confidence to keep doing it. However, once I embarked on an A-level art course, taught by teachers with very differing perspectives on what ‘art’ was, I realised how subjective people’s appreciation or judgement could be.  

After the A level I began an illustration degree course in Brighton where the teaching was less formal, and allowed for more experimentation. I never really like the idea of there being rules around how to create something, so this style of teaching allowed me to develop my style more. I still thought I needed to create work in a certain way for it to be successful, but discovered that that way of thinking is counter intuitive to producing your own style – a lesson which took a bit longer to learn! 

I spent a year on a ‘doodle a day’ project which had no rules other than create something every day. This probably had the biggest impact on my career as it was the most productive I had been and my current style evolved during this period, and that is when I started to get work as an illustrator.

What & who are your inspirations & why?

When I was studying I had a book called History of Modern Art by H. H. Arnason which was pretty much my bible, learning about surrealism, pop art, the futurists… It was my ultimate goal to be in a future edition of this book!I grew up playing with computers too, always creating graphics and music – I think this had a major impact on the way I work.

These days it’s much easier to find a plethora of visual stimulation – just looking at Instagram and seeing the abundance of work appearing daily by contemporary illustrators and artists. Everything is much more accessible now, gaining insights in to working processes. Listening to talks and podcasts too. In this age of information we see and hear so much on a daily basis it can be quite hard to pinpoint what exactly gets filtered in.

A single colour, word, shape or idea can influence my approach to a piece – often I’ll have a very small thing in mind when starting and let that be the guiding influence.

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What drives you as an artist?

Seeing the abundance of great work appearing online every day.

Sharing a studio with other creators.

Looking at my own work and feeling I could do better, or wondering what the next stage of its evolution will be.

Feeling a sense of excitement when I get ready to draw.

The unknown – I don’t know what’s going to happen when I start drawing, what new characters or unexpected shapes might emerge.

The idea that by the time I put the pen down something will exist that didn’t before.

Knowing that if I don’t pick up the pen, nothing will happen!

How do you describe your work? 

Lively, chaotic, expressive, characterful, complex yet logical – and fun!

What are your future goals & aspirations for your career? 

I’d love to do some large-scale murals, it would be great to see my work huge on the side of buildings, standing out from the urban landscape.

Would love to get some work in Japan (involving an all expenses paid trip!). Would like to license my work, try and create a brand around it. Collaborate with others, more animation, create some 3D versions of my work, perhaps a virtual world based around my doodles, and get in History of Modern Art 25th Edition (ha!)

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