Meet Travis Price, freelance designer and illustrator from Australia. He also runs a kids label called Mister Mista. Travis says as a child he did a lot of drawing and was fascinated with skateboarding, graffiti and clothing design. Those early influences can be seen intertwined in his work. His style of illustration is versatile, having the ability to appeal to both kids and grown-ups. Travis also creates a lot of print posters. He tells us that posters are the perfect medium where you can combine typography and illustration. Let's have a chat with him.
Q Hi Travis, tell us a little about yourself. How was it growing up pointing at strangers and getting kicked out of the pool?
Ha Ha...yes I was lucky enough to grow up in a small country town. The population is about 2000. You pretty well knew everyone so it was only natural to point out strangers. Summers were spent trying to perfect a dive bomb. So as not to get kicked out, in between that a lot of drawing went on in sketch pads.
Q How did you end up in the land of art? Did you go to an art/design school? Tell us about your first design job. What are your tools of the trade?
I guess like many I studied Graphic Design at university and worked for numerous agencies through my 20's. In my spare time I would sketch and also did T-shirt art for a few labels. The tools of my trade are ideas, journals and Illustrator.
Q Your illustrations are so versatile; you do cartoon characters, fantasy creatures, realistic portraits and more with equal ease. What do you enjoy drawing most and why?
I must admit I like the versatility in my projects. I find if I'm doing a portrait I don't want it to be my next project. It's refreshing switching styles and content matter.
Q From artistic conception to the final product - what is your creative process? Is the process different for personal and client work?
The process seems very different from personal to client work. My own work normally starts as rough ideas in my journal. In many cases I'll repeatedly redraw an idea over a week. This helps decide on a style/colour palette.
Whereas clients normally have a firm idea of the final art. If anything with client work it's a matter of locking in the style they're after.
Q You do a lot of Poster Designs. How did you get into the poster/print realm of design? What according to you makes an effective poster? Share with us some professional tips and advice on the same.
With a design background you have an appreciation for typography. It was only natural to combine this with illustration and a poster is the perfect medium. I think the trick with posters is their needs to be a synergy between the typography and the image. If you don't want to create a custom font it doesn't take much to customize existing fonts using warp effects and the blend tool in Illustrator.
Q Tell us about the print posters that you create for Mister Mista. Kids can be hard to please. How do you come up with ideas and the subject line for the illustrations?
Mister Mista is a lot of fun. I like the idea of approaching existing well known stories and putting a different spin on it. With series 03 we did the band series of limited edition prints. The next series (to launch in Feb 2011) plays on movie genres.
Q Which among your Poster designs is your bestseller? What do you think has contributed to its success? Do you have any favorite Poster you've created?
With Mister Mista Three Blind Mice has been the best seller. There's a bit of psychology that goes into it but I think it's due to the colour palette. Keep in mind it's the Mum's/Aunties who buy them. My best seller over all has been the Dude Abides. People love the Big Lebowski and I watched it continuously while creating the artwork. I love the Big Lebowski!
Q Which project or work in your career so far has given you the greatest creative satisfaction? What was the most interesting thing about that project?
Early on it was definitely the work I did for Mambo. It's a bit cringe worthy to look at now but I idealized Mambo as a teenager. But we've since launched Mister Mista and it has been great in regards to creative satisfaction. I enjoy my commercial work but it's nice to call the shots with your own projects and a good learning curve to make decisions. As a designer you get used to a client making the final decisions.
Q What percentage of your work is personal vs. commercial? Is it challenging to juggle projects for clients and your personal art? How do you find time to kick back and relax?
Due to Mister Mista it's now a 50-50 split. My commercial work always takes priority, but I've found that my personal work has been extremely important to my development as an illustrator. I think self initiated briefs are also a great way of showcasing the work you'd like to do commercially. As sad as it sounds, relaxing for me is sitting on the coach at night watching TV and sketching ideas.
Q Do you have any interesting projects that you're working on and want to share with us?
We're just about to release series 04 of Mister Mista which has been fun, but a lot of work. As you'll see I've had some fun with some retro car wall decals.
Q What consistently inspires you? What are your favorite websites?
I enjoy searching illustration sites and blogs and actually find myself following the tutorials on Vectortuts+. But I must say not a day goes by without dropping past ffffound.com.
Q If you could boil art and illustrations down to three basic points, what would they be?
Colour palettes are a very important. Hierarchy, where do you want the viewers eye to go. Who are you creating the work for, who's the intended audience?
Q Thanks for the interview Travis. What advice would you like to give to aspiring designers and illustrators?
Do self initiated briefs to help build your folio and showcase what you can do. I also think it's good for the soul. I think all creatives get frustrated if they don't step away and do work they enjoy.