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Q&A with Tim McDonagh

Freelance illustrator from Brighton | Handsome Frank illustration agency

Hello, I'm Tim McDonagh. I'm a freelance illustrator living in Brighton. I graduated 4 years ago and since then I have been luck enough to work with clients like Nike, Harley Davidson, BBC, Faber & Faber, Penguin, Hodder & Stoughton to name a few. I'm also represented by the lovely folks at Handsome Frank illustration agency.

What inspired you to become a designer?

I think it was more the fact that I wasn't very good at anything else. I still maintaied that child like fascination with drawing and detail into adult life so turning that into a career has been a real joy. I think it was from books like Where's Wally and the DK illustrated Star Wars and Castle cross section books that really sparked my interest in images like that.

What design software do you use?

I use Photoshop to colour my work line work, I try to hold back a bit on the software if I can and let the drawing do the talking. It's easy to get carried away though with so many ways on transforming a drawing once it has been scanned in and ready to work into on a computer.

What is your ideal work environment?

At my desk, in my studio late at night I would say. My work space has always been a work in progress and it's important to set up a space you are really comfortable in that you're happy to be in for long periods of time. I've got my fish tank here next to me so they keep me company...I can't really imagine working in a busy studio with people there all the time now.

Where does your design inspiration come from? 

Well I frequent Behance, FFFFound, OMGposters, Supersonic Electronic, Juxtapoz and BOOOOOM quite a bit. They usually showcase work that I find really engaging. Especially OMGposters, they seem to appreciate craft quite a bit and the work that goes in to making a complicated or dynamic image. I'm constantly going back to my favourite illustrators too and finding new ways of looking at their work and how they compose. Adrian Tomine, Aaron Horkey, Charles Burns I suppose would be my top 3.

Who is the person you admire most?

Hmm, maybe my girlfriend for putting up with my moans of

Kel, is this image crap just tell me honestly

over and over.