This week Style On The Run caught up with a very talented surface pattern designer, Lloyd Evans. Lloyd manages to achieve the rare balance between edgy and whimsical in his designs whilst always being current and relevant. Together with Sarah Wade who has previously been featured here at SOTR, Lloyd runs their company Design House Studios and works as an artist and illustrator. Both Lloyd and Sarah are very talented and are genuinely lovely people, read on to find out more!
1.Name, Age (only if you want to give this away…!), Location.
Lloyd Evans, 28, Ipswich
2. Please give a brief bio of your creative journey so far …? (biggest achievements, education, etc)
I graduated from Northampton University in 2004 with a degree in Fine Art. During this period my work began to focus on patterns and rhythms, something that is still evident in my work today. After graduating I went on to practice as an artist, working from Stowmarket Artist Studios in Suffolk. I exhibited throughout the UK both in joint and solo exhibitions. Alongside working as an artist, I have also worked in other fields such as graphic design, interior design and surface pattern. In May 2006 I seized the opportunity to take up an artist residency in Venice, Italy. This experience provided me with new technical knowledge as well as giving me a wealth of inspiration. I was also able to travel throughout Italy and study many works in cities such as Florence, Rome and Naples. During this time I rediscovered my love of drawing, which is still evident in my current surface pattern work; this combines hand-drawn icons with digital media. Since my return to the UK I have been focusing on producing surface patterns for home furnishing, wallpaper, fashion and other applications.
3. Describe your work in 5 words…
Hand-drawn, Fun, Eclectic, Vibrant, Current.
4. Where does your inspiration come from for the great prints you design?
The inspiration for my work largely comes from everyday life. If ever I’m stuck I just pick up a pen and sketchbook, look around and start drawing. I believe that everything can be inspiring, from magazines, architecture and fashion, to nature, film and art. Artists that I admire include Gary Hume, Ian Davenport, Fiona Rae, Nigel Cook, Peter Doig, Sam Francis and David Hockney.
5. Please describe a typical day for you?
The life of a self-employed illustrator is vary varied, meaning that there is hardly a typical day. Assuming I’m creating some new designs my day usually begins by brainstorming some ideas over a cup of tea. I usually work on a couple of designs at once, to begin with I’ll think about what icons would be suitable for the themes I’m working on. Then I will do some quick thumbnail sketches to figure out how the designs might work, and what icons I’ll need. Next I will have another cup of tea and spend the morning drawing up these icons, which will then be scanned, so that I can then go on to work on them in Illustrator and Photoshop. Often I will be working late into the evening, this is something you have to be prepared to do if you are self-employed, but if you love what you do then this is never a problem, frequent tea breaks also help. It’s no wonder that some of my latest designs have been teacups and teapots!
6. Do you have any tips for anybody thinking about starting their own business in the creative industry?
Learn from others! Before setting up on your own I would advise people to get some experience working in a design studio. Try and get involved in as many aspects of the job as possible, when you set up on your own you are not only a designer but an art-worker, sales rep, administrator and even an accountant! Any opportunity you have to develop your skills in areas you are unfamiliar with should be taken.
I would also take advantage of any free courses that are run by Business Link or the Inland Revenue in your area, these short half-day courses will help you learn about such things as how to set up a company or paying your tax. They are also a good opportunity to network with other likeminded people who are setting up a business, you never know who might need a business card or a website designing.
7. Are you following any blogs at the moment that you recommend?
I have been reading printpattern for a long time, this is a great resource for looking at current trends in surface pattern design. More recently I have discovered urbansketchers which shows the sketchbook work of a number of invited artists, from architects, illustrators to web developers and painters. This blog is a real gem, drawing on location is a passion of mine and often artist’s sketchbooks remain as private documents, but here you can see what people from around the world are up to.
8. FINALLY, would you like to take this opportunity to plug anything?!
Me and my partner Sarah have just finishing updating our website, we have tweaked the look and layout of the site, as well as uploading some new designs that we have been developing over the past few weeks. You can find us at www.designhousestudios.co.uk.