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When you see one of Paul Robbins' beautiful, intricate animal prints, it's hard to believe he draws them entirely by hand. His eye-catching use of bold colours and patterns are mesmerising, and we love how he hides different animals within each design. We took the opportunity to ask him few quick questions about his career as an artist, and what he's working on next...
1) Which artists have inspired you the most?
The Japanese ukiyo-e style of woodblock printing has been a massive inspiration to me, especially the work of Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige and Hokusai. Their prints have little or no perspective and use flat areas of bold colour, traits which you can see in my own illustrations.
2) Out of all the work you've produced, which is your favourite peice?
My favourite piece is 'Lion Ablaze' as it was the first large illustration that I completed in my current style of working, and it was the great response which I received to this image that encouraged me to create further illustrations in this style.
3) How did you first start promoting your artwork? What tips can you give us?
I started having a stall at the very successful Uplands Market in Swansea. This gave me the opportunity of dealing with potential buyers of my work first hand which was crucial as I learnt very quickly what sold and what didn't.
I would definitely recommend trying to sell direct to the public as their feedback will shape the future direction of your work.
4) How often do you produce a piece of artwork?
I try to work on something new on a weekly basis, generally working on 2 or 3 pieces at a time. I find that this stops me from getting too bogged down during the final stages of completing a piece of work as I can go back and forth between working on different illustrations. Luckily I'm busy at the moment, which means I have to be strict with myself in order to meet deadlines!
5) What's the most challenging part about being an artist?
Trying to balance your desire to create a piece of work against whether it's viable to spend the time on it. I'm always tempted to go off in another stylistic direction, or try a new subject, but I try not to stray for too long.
6) What do you love most about being an illustrator?
The variety of the work and the sense of satisfaction when you see your illustrations in print.
7) What piece of advice would you give someone just starting out?
Approach everything in a professional manner right from the start. Even if you are only working part time as an artist/illustrator, it's no different from working anywhere else. Do not do free work for 'exposure' as you are then working for nothing. Try to be objective about how much to charge for your work, there's no point in asking for too much if you never sell anything, but you need to know that your pricing equates to a reasonable hourly rate of pay.
8) What are you currently working on? And what can we look forward to seeing from you next?
For the next few of months I'm working on a large set of illustrations for a new adult colouring magazine called Simply Colour, I'm also in negotiations about a large project for the US market which would be very exciting!
9) What's your biggest ambition?
To work as a full time illustrator. I'm currently also employed as a designer 4 days a week as it gives me a regular, reliable income, but I'm getting closer to being able to work solely as an illustrator.
10) And finally, what three things could you not live without?
My family, pens and paper!