Secret hidden faces in illustrations are one of absolute favourite things, and at the risk of giving all the joy away entirely (sorry) I am going to let on that Alex Tait is a fan of them, too. Woop! He’s also into weird sea creatures, jungles and, er, melons; a fruity and strange combination which dictates that he’ll fit in just fine with us.
We chatted to Alex about how he chooses delicious over nutritious when it comes to breakfast, how he’s moved away from pen and ink, and the problem with magazine furniture, as you can read below!
Where do you work?
I split my time between working either at home or at my studio space in Berkhamsted. Up until recently I worked solely at home, but the recent move into the studio has placed me among other creatives which stops me from feeling like a hermit. A lot of the time I’ll come up with my ideas when away from my desk. I find that they normally come at an inconvenient time, so I have a long list of notes stored on my phone dating back years. They consist of a phrase or a few words that don’t make much sense, but they help jog my memory when I sit down to work.
How does your working day start?
With a slow inching out of bed into the cold 6:30am morning at the moment. Then a balanced breakfast of coffee with a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. Afterwards, I’m at the mercy of public transport – although this allows me to gather my thoughts for the day and get the creative process going. I have a hit list of sites and blogs I usually visit – stuff that gets me excited and motivated to work. I also people watch. It’s becoming much less interesting now though as my regular commute features the same people most days and makes me feel like Truman Burbank.
How do you work and how has that changed?
I primarily used to work in pen and ink at a small scale, but it was a long process and not very practical. Towards the end of my time at uni I began working in Illustrator (more out of necessity than choice,) but it was something I ended up enjoying. It allowed me to get my ideas realised quickly and experiment more than I previously had. The jump also allowed me to drop any previous bad habits I had picked up. I’m now less concerned with making things appear “realistic,” so there’s a more humorous and spontaneous element to anything I work on. Having made the change and seeing the results taught me a lesson in trying new ways of working. I do still like to draw, even if it is a quick sketch. I find it’s easier to work out any issues that arise in relation to composition and I don’t always have the benefit of being behind my computer, so often I’ll refer back to an idea I drew up on some scrap paper earlier in the day.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
I spend far too much time browsing magazines on my lunch breaks and at weekends. Pretty soon I’ll have to make my furniture out of them. On top of the magazine piles you’ll usually find an empty plate or two – I eat any chance I get, sometimes two dinners (this is preferable but not always achievable, unfortunately). I’m also a pretty avid follower of MMA, so you’ll find me watching it in the early hours of the morning (thanks to the time difference).
Would you intern for yourself?
I fear there’d be a fair bit of thumb twiddling going on because I’d find it hard to delegate. It would be useful to have an extra pair of hands to help out with the admin side of things though – and the occasional chocolate cake run.