Liam Bushby is an illustrator based at London, UK. Besides doing freelancing he’s also working as an art director in a big advertising agency. Working solely with Adobe products, Liam creates illustrations and posters that carry a subtle humor. Most of his works are clever puns and satire on a variety of things: life, ideas, world, etc. A big movie buff himself, Liam has been making posters and illustrations for many popular theaters, bands and magazines. Here’s of Q&As with this witty artist:
Hi Liam! Please tell us about yourself:
By day I work as art director in a London advertising agency, by night I work as an illustrator. The rest of the time I’ll usually be at the cinema, watching some kind of box set or reading.
My first foray into illustration was for a film competition. It was an open submission to create a film poster for ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’. The winning poster would be displayed in The Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton and the winner would get free tickets and some DVD’s etc. To this day I’m pretty sure I must have been the only one to enter as I won it, and since then I’ve never looked back.
What is your artist statement?
I don’t really have a statement as such but to me the idea is everything. An idea will always beat ‘a look’.
I’m pleased you get that from my work. Whenever I’m working on a new illustration I always start with the idea. I like people to decode the images and find the meanings behind them. Whether it’s a serious message, a joke or a question. I think there’s something rewarding in that.
How do you get in a creative mode?
I don’t really have a way of getting into a creative mode to be honest. I always feel like it comes and goes on it’s own. What I always do is keep notes in my iPhone whenever I have an idea. This is good in two ways, one because I end up with a load of ideas to choose from when I sit down to work, and two because it allows me to test the ideas before I commit anything to a computer. Being able to make a note and then leave it for days or weeks before you come back to it helps clarify whether it’s any good and also if it could be simpler.
A perfect illustration to me is simple – using the minimum number of parts to convey a message. It’s the hardest thing to do and also the most rewarding. That should have been my answer a couple of questions back actually…
Tell us about the equipment you use at work. Do you ever use real pens and brushes?
When I read other interviews like this a lot of people talk about starting on paper and then scanning into Photoshop or Illustrator, but I’ve never worked that way. I’m terrible at drawing so have always found the Mac to be my best friend. My usual process will start by culling ideas from my Notes app and then digitally sketching it out on Photoshop or Illustrator. I use a Wacom Bamboo tablet which has now become like an extension of my hand and a MacBook Pro with a cinema display, if I’m in the office. Other than that all I need are my headphones and a Spotify playlist.
A lot of my illustrations are one offs but one of the projects I’ve really enjoyed working on is titled ‘Project Bright Lights’. Interpol is one of my favourite bands so I decided to start illustrating a poster for each song on their cult-debut album ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’. Using only the red and black of the original album sleeve I aimed to capture a poignant lyric or image from each song and turn it into a poster. So far I’ve done three songs (see last three images) but the response has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m planning on completing a poster for every song on the album as soon as I can.
Tell us about your achievements, awards etc.
My biggest achievement has been finding my own style.
My ambition is to keep developing and pushing my work to get simpler and stronger. I’d love to work on more film and movie projects, as well as continuing to work with bands and record labels on artwork. Someday finding an agent to help me with that would probably be sensible too.
Please share your favorite stuff: artists, quotes, films, music etc.
Some of my favourite illustrators : Jason Munn, Thomas Danthony, SuperMundane
Movies : Nightcrawler, Moonrise Kingdom, Whiplash, Birdman, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Descendants, Nebraska.
Music : Interpol, The National, Death Cab for Cutie
Something to say to our readers or aspiring artists:
If you’re thinking about illustrating, don’t. Just start doing it. Stop delaying and start making mistakes. It’s the best way to learn.