In conversation with… Robert Ball

Every month we feature a different artist in our 3×3 Instagallery. This month, our artist in residence is designer., illustrator, stuntman and liar, Robert Ball.

So Rob, we’re a storytelling agency, how important is storytelling in your work?

Most of my work has to imply some kind of story, whether it’s a book cover that has to sell the inside pages, or an illustration to accompany an editorial piece it’s vital to try and get a sense of tone that’s in line with whatever my illustration accompanies.

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What gets you inspired and in the mood to create something?

Deadlines, fear and black coffee!

On a more practical level, how do you produce your illustrations, and has this changed at all since when you first started?

It changes all the flipping time, because I don’t have the discipline to stick to a process, and because I’m always curious to try new things out. I used to work solely on the computer, no sketches, no nothing – straight in. As time has gone on I’m getting less and less digital. At the moment I’m doing a lot of upfront pencil sketches, and working through problems at an earlier stage, which means a lot of work at the start of the process that helps later on. At least in theory…

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What would you love to see more of in the creative industries during the next five years?

Like everyone I want to see originality and risk taking, and as a member of the creative industries that has to start at home. I would like to be more original and take more risks!

Got any winning tips for upcoming creatives you wish someone had told you?

I started illustrating full time around my fortieth birthday, after working in branding for umpteen years. It can sometimes feel like your career is a self driving car the destination of which you’re unsure. You can change, explore other areas, take risks. You will be a more rounded and better creative because of it. Sabotage your career!

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And last of all, what’s next? Any big plans for the near future?

I’m hoping to build a studio this year, fingers crossed. Ideally, I would like to pay someone to build it for me, of course. I’m a designer, I have no practical skills whatsoever!

 

Thank you Robert, good luck with the studio!

See more of Robert’s work at instagram.com/robertmball

 

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