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Q&A with Marcus Butt

Illustrator from London

I'm an Illustrator based in London. I create colourful, graphic and textured imagery for a range of creative clients and projects.

How did you get started in illustration, what is your background?

After studying A-Levels (one of which, was Graphic Design), I enrolled on an Art Foundation Diploma for a year. As the course progressed, and with some practising illustrators teaching, I realised it was something exciting to investigate further. I went on to U.W.E Bristol and enrolled in an Illustration Degree which was a really rewarding and fun three years.

Where did you study? Looking back, could you recommend your path for beginners in design/illustration?

I really enjoyed the illustration course at U.W.E - in the early stages you got the chance to work with all sorts of print methods (etching, lithograph, screenprint, relief etc) as well as workshops on life drawing, colour theory, paper mechanics and all sorts more - so was definitely a space to experiment and improve your image making skillset. I would recommend taking an illustration degree, purely because you have the time and the facilities around you to improve and hone your skills, and are constantly surrounded by other creative folk doing the same thing.

What is a turning point in your professional career?

I started taking on editorial commissions soon after graduating, and I still enjoy doing them now - you never know what article will come in next and what subject matter you have to take on. A point where I felt more established, was when the client list started to be more varied and expanded to medium other than magazines, such as pub signs for Young's Brewery, book covers and briefs arriving from further afield like Europe and the USA.

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

I currently work from a desk at home, which I'm very accustomed to. I like the peace, the freedom to play music all day (or not!) and the general feeling of being your own boss. However I'll probably move into a shared studio at some point soon, to have more social interaction with other designers and feel more of a creative buzz, day to day! I usually sneak a trip to the gym or a cycle in the the day too, if timings work, as enjoy getting active.

Where are your favorite places in your city or outside?

I live in south west London, so I'm lucky to have Richmond Park close by, which is a huge expansive place where you can cycle, jog, see deer and all sorts of wildlife.  It's a great space to escape from the routine for a while.

From a creative point of view, it's nice to jump on the tube into London so easily, as there's always a new exhibition, private view, or bar to visit.

Who are the designers and illustrators, colleagues in your city/country or outside you admire most?

I admire a wide range of other creatives and artists such as Yann Kebi, Ping Zhu, Tatsuro Kiuchi, Keith Negley, Geoff Grandfield….and many more. From an artistic point of view: Josef Albers, David Hockney, Norman Ackroyd, Gary Hume, Ben Shahn and others!