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Q&A with Sam Dunn

Freelance illustrator from East London

I’m Sam, a freelance illustrator based in East London. Originally from a small seaside town in the North East called Hartlepool.

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

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, I never wanted to do anything else.

All throughout my studies I did gig posters, record covers and t-shirts for bands which gave me a good base for later being able to go freelance full time.

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

After leaving school I did a two year BTEC in Graphic Design at CCAD in Middlesbrough, followed by a three Year Design & Illustration Degree at Central Saint Martins in London. Moving to London was the best choice I could make, so I’d definitely recommend the small town folk should get out there and explore

What is a turning point in your professional career?

Going freelance full time in 2013 after working in advertising for a year and a half. I now get to do whatever I love for a living. Of course there’s harder times but it’s all worth it.

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

I work in my home studio usually, sometimes I travel to agencies if they need me to work there, but most of the work I do is done at my desk. It’s covered with stuff in an organised mess with just enough room for an A3 sheet of paper.

Where are your favorite places in London?

Since I cycle a lot, I love the various parks around London, also Lee Valley Velopark, home of the 2012 olympic velodrome where I often ride.

Who are the designers and illustrators, colleagues you admire most?

Some of my favourites include Alan Forbes, Aaron Horkey, Vania Zouravliov, Love the level of craft in their work and I love to see people still inking by hand.