Freelance illustrator Dan Woodger graduated from the University of Brighton in 2011 and has since been working his bloody socks off building a career out of a surreal imagination and raw drawing capabilities. Signed to YCN almost immediately after leaving university, he’s now got an enviable client list for such a young creative and counts Google, Cadbury, The Times, ESPN, Vice, Anorak, The Church of London and BBH among his roster of employers. Not bad for a guy whose bed, fridge and desk all occupy the same space.
Keen to catch up with Dan before his rise to illustrative superstardom continues any further we stopped by to ask some mentally taxing, hard-hitting questions of the young creative…
Where do you work?
I work from my flat in Surbiton that I share with my girlfriend. It’s not a huge space but I’m championing the corner desk and I love it here. I’m one swift push of the wheely-chair away from the fridge and five or six steps from my bed. The morning commute’s a breeze.
How does your working day start?
Cereal, juice, and Talk Sport. Maybe sketch a few characters then straight into the project I left the night before.
How do you work and how has that changed?
I feel as though I have one of the most disorganised and long-winded working methods there is, but it seems to work for me. I’ve never particularly liked sketchbooks; I guess I’ve always enjoyed the freedom of loose paper rather than the bind of a book (although this does make for a more chaotic filing system). I keep a huge ream of cheap A3 paper tucked under my desk which I’ll use to sketch the design or character onto. I then erase it just enough so that I can still see the rough outline, then redraw it with a cleaner line. When I feel the sketch looks right I’ll scan it into Photoshop, then use a Wacom tablet to trace my own drawing using the paint brush tool. I’m almost certain that there’s a quicker way of doing things but I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
The main change I’ve noticed has been my overall confidence in what I’m doing; I feel like I’m far less indecisive with colour and composition than I used to be and my line work is much tighter.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
I feel extremely lucky that I get to draw for a living so I find it hard to know when to stop. If I’m not working on client work, I’ll usually be working on something for myself.
However I do understand the importance of stepping away from the desk and I have other interests beyond illustration. I love sports, football and golf particularly but I like running too. So given a chance I’d be outside getting some sweet fresh air.
Would you intern for yourself?
On the one hand no, I’d probably end up getting really pissed off with myself. I’m my own worst critic so the intern version of myself would probably keep telling me that I could be working harder or that I could be doing something better and then we’d either never leave our desks or end up in a fight. Plus my girlfriend has enough to deal with me being in the flat ALL the time I don’t think she could stomach another me being here too.
But if it meant I could double my work load or half my working hours then I guess that’d be really awesome.