“I was always drawing. I drew bizarre things for a child of my age, I watched a lot of horror films – to the dismay of my parents. I am pretty sure they thought I was the child from the Omen for a while.” Well, you know what they say… well behaved people never make history and rebelling against your parents definitely counts as misbehaving. Now at the age of 23, Daniel Macleod has maybe moved on from his days of disobeying his parents, but not much has changed on the creative side, as he is now a freshly graduated illustrator.
The world of illustration is extremely competitive and in order to be a success you have to be fully committed and completely obsessed with your drawing abilities. Daniel explains he was interested in art and drama at school, but naturally chose to study art, as he just loved it that little bit more. After leaving school Daniel decided to head to Cornwall to pursue his creative career:
“I studied at Falmouth University, which is always either answered with “ah cool! its nice there”, “where is that?” or “oh yeah I’ve been to Farnham”. It was a great university, and such a lovely place to be. I usually think of myself as a city person, however being surrounded by palm trees and crystal blue sea does fill you with a satisfied feeling… I’m still shocked to this day that palm trees grow in some parts of the U.K. Naturally I studied illustration, and definitely saw myself grow as a creative over the course of my study. “
As an artist it’s important to grow and develop your own unique style. Daniel’s work can be described as abstract and often falls into the realms of the bizarre – which we love. His work has an obvious style to it, making it very easy to recognize his work; “I would say my work gives of quite an emotional feel (as people have told me) and that there is always a story or a sense of narrative running underneath it.” Like most artists Daniel admits he finds it very difficult to describe his work and says it’s down to your own interpretation.
Talking more about his work, Daniels tells us that he wants people to be drawn to his illustrations both aesthetically and emotionally; “Even though I always have an idea or story behind a piece I love people to see them and create their own idea of what they feel as everybody’s view of art is completely different.” Letting inspiration flow from anywhere – the people he meets, the films he watches or even the music he listens to, Daniel also has a keen interest in history and can sometimes refer to historical events within his work and would like to continue doing so in the future; “I do however, sometimes just have an idea zapped into my head from god knows where (whoever is doing that thank you!)”.
Looking back, he recalls his work always having an illustrated approach and his way of thinking suited illustration perfectly. During his foundation course he studied Visual Communication, this really allowed his creative mind to go wild and he was able to figure out a design process; “it was a long time coming but I finally got there. My process consists of brainstorming, and then creating a pencil drawing that I then digitally colour. I am constantly learning new skills or ways to alter my process though so it is always on the move. I am also a big fan of texture, and constantly go through period of being addicted to a certain kind.”
Talking about goals for the future, Daniel discusses his fascination with editorial illustration, as he loves the fast pace nature and the very open topics you can tackle within it; “being a fan of conceptual thinking this would suit me. I would also love to try my hand at poster design and book design as I feel my style would fit in well with those.” Talking short-term goals though, Daniel is taking any opportunity he is offered for collaboration and work to start the beginning of his ‘grand ole’ illustration career.
Although still taking his first steps into the industry, we were curious to know what his advice would be to someone who is in the same position as him or even thinking about studying illustration, Daniel leaves us on this note:
“I would say just stick at it. Don’t feel let down by rejection, and learn to take criticisim as it is really your best friend. I would also say stay true to you, but be open to change. I personally feel that art in any form is an extension of yourself, and it is okay to take inspiration from others but never feel like you need to become them. Find your own niche and nurture your style and self.”
You do you.
Check out more of Daniel’s incredible illustrations: