Weekends from now on are pretty much going to consist of searching for pretty things to decorate our new flat. One of the new prints waiting to be hung is from an illustrative artist called Dan Woodger. I’ve been a fan of Dan’s work ever since he designed one of the first centrefold posters when I was editor of our Brighton Uni student newspaper. He’s gaining a lot of rep with his work being featured in Creative Review, Amelia’s Magazine and Fussed. I love his bright and colorful linear characters and ‘Fun-Time Funky Friends’ is no exception, a Illustration/CV which is sending out for free, and can be ordered from his website. Even the guys at Anorak Magazine loved his work so much that they are turning the conga line drawing into colouring project. I also caught up with Dan to see what he’s been up to.
Hi Dan! You graduated earlier this year, what have you been up to since then?
Well since graduating I’ve been getting used to the idea of earning money by drawing at home in my pants. Luckily I’ve been managing to string together enough work to justify this practice to my parents and girlfriend. But I think they’re secretly glad I have an internship at YCN coming up next month which means trousers and the structure of a 9-5.
Your degree show in Brighton in 2011 with it’s clean lines and pastel shades had a definite 80’s vibe about it. What inspired you to take a nolstalgic trip to Miami?
It’s been a progressive obsession, I’m a sucker for nostalgia, there’s something I find beautifully charming about the 1980’s.
You’ve personified pizza as a flying superhero, fruit as cool characters as well as countless friendly monsters. Was anybody in mind when you are creating these personas?
Not really, they just kind of appear in my head. I guess being a big fan of cartoon’s as kid has lined the walls of my brain in Cartoon Network wallpaper. But when I look at some of the comics I made when I was about 9-10 years old I think they still show an uncanny resemblance to the work I am doing now, I might have refined the lines and technique a little but the essence undoubtedly still there.
You have recently collaborated with a wealth of other character illustrators on the People Issue of Google’s Think Quarterly magazine. How did you get involved with the project and what was it like to work on?
The Think Quarterly project was really good fun, and came about very quickly. I got the job through YCN, who called the night before asking if I was available. It was a dream job really and we had pretty much free reign to draw whatever we wanted based on the idea of ‘Communication & People’, there were a few ground rules, no cocks, no guns, no riots but besides that it was a blank canvas. The best drawing’s came from the unplanned collaborations though, where you’d lay something down, come back a bit later and see somebody had added to it.
Aside from your linear character drawings you’ve been involved in so many different kinds projects, murals, zines, animation; which of these was the most rewarding?
That’s tough I’m not sure what is the most rewarding. I love being able to play back a finished animation for the first time, It makes all the weeks of work seem worth it. And meeting Roger Daltrey after painting him in a mural was an awesome experience. Collaborating with other Illustrators is fun as well, but I think equally, if not more rewarding than those is reading humorous and abusive comments about projects online! My favourite has to be one I saw on the Google Video which simply read – ‘Pointless art for pointless faggots.’ Classic!
Which three tools of the trade could you not live without?
Three tools I could not live without is a difficult question… I’d have to say laptop is number one, It’s scary how much time I have to spend on this thing. The second tool would be my Waccom tablet… I was going to say a pencil… but then I’d need to have a sharpener and a rubber which would leave me out of tools. And lastly it’d have to be the internet which is a sad realisation but unfortunately it’s become almost impossible to be an illustrator without it so I guess we must embrace it… I was hoping to list off three interesting, heart warming answers but instead I think I’ve given three rather predictable and uninteresting ones. So maybe I shall just show you my three favourite pictures of all time to end this on a more light hearted note.