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Q&A with Carlos Garde-Martin

Illustrator from Brighton, UK

My name’s Carlos Garde-Martin I’m a UK illustrator. I creative anything from large scale drawings for events, to small scale private commissions, and everything in between. The driving force behind everything I do is a need to create something (preferably with a pen).

How did you get started in illustration? What is a turning point in your professional career?

Drawing has always been the thing I’ve liked doing most. I trained some years ago in Graphic Design but because of a lack of drawing opportunities moved over to illustration. I’d say a big turning point was creating artwork for The Brighton Fringe 2 years ago. I had a lot of opportunities come out of that. Not just creatively (I got to hang out with the Mayor).

What is your ideal work environment? Do you prefer to work in your art studio all day long or prefer to mix a few activities?

Every week is different and I write myself a timetable to reflect that. I usually break my day down in to different chunks of about 2 hours. I find it useful to rotate the projects I’m working on as it keeps it fresh. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes break the rules and carry on with a project I’m really in to.

Having a timetable really helps with procrastination and getting things done. If I don’t have a plan I spend the whole day doing a bit here and a bit there without doing much of anything.

My ideal environment is with music playing loudly. My taste is quite varied; it depends on what I fancy listening to that day. It could be the Stones, or something by the Ninja Tune label. I also find drum and bass can be quite meditative. When I’m drawing I can get lost in what I’m doing and suddenly realize I’ve spent the last 4 hours drawing without moving.

Where does your work inspiration come from? (Do you believe in 'inspiration' at all)?

I like to think of creativity (or inspiration) as a tap. If you turn it on and keep using it it will flow out. If you stop using it in the way you think or the work that you do it will stop flowing.

If a brief comes in that at first glance seems not to be the most exciting, after a bit of research and playing around with ideas I am always able to find the angle which makes it exciting for me. I think that’s the trick is to always find the bit that excites you.

Where are your favorite art places in your city or outside?

I’m quite lucky because Brighton has a very forward thinking local council. They love large scale graffiti/mural artwork because as they see it it brightens up otherwise unsightly buildings. We have so many talented people living here it’s great.

We also have an open house festival in May each year where local artists all over the city open their houses and studios for the weekend to meet and sell to the public.

Who are the illustrators / designers you admire most?

John Tenniel’s work from Alice in Wonderland, Edward Leer, Dr Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Gary Baseman, and Jerryville to name a few. I could go on and on and on. A really big influence of mine is the Spanish comic artist Francisco Ib??ez I used to love collecting his Mortadelo  y Filemon comics as a kid. I still have a massive stack somewhere. The stories are wonderfully surreal and full of humour.

Some places you can find me