Dividing his time between Oregon and Norway, illustrator Max Estes must have no shortage of influences contributing to his vibrant work. His style is pronounced and individual – characters are contained by their thick black outlines and ping-pong ball-round heads – allowing his images to appeal seamlessly to both adults and children.
In the midst of the release of his new children’s book, Nattmatt (meaning Midnight Snack), we caught up with Max to find out how he tricks himself into working productively at home and the pros of working in two very different, very beautiful environments.
Where do you work?
I’m based in both Oslo, Norway and Portland, Oregon. My wife’s Norwegian and I’m from the States, so we’re spoiled with this geographic duality. Both locales are beautiful and differ wildly from one another.
How does your working day start?
I wake early and head to my local cafe. Since I primarily work from my home studio, I prefer to “commute” back, approaching my work day after a brief social encounter.
How do you work and how has that changed?
I tend to work in frenzied, intense blocks. Singularly focused for a few weeks or months at a time, followed by a reset or hibernation period. I crave variety, distraction and influence, so I often find myself traveling. As an illustrator and children’s author, I think my job is to ask questions and maintain a healthy sense of curiosity. Exploring becomes research for work. I’m either out in the world soaking it up, or at my drawing desk emptying out.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
At the Ram’s Head in Portland drinking White Russians, at Nighthawks Diner in Oslo sipping coffee, in Amsterdam enjoying apple pancakes, or riding my bicycle somewhere in-between.
Would you intern for yourself?
No. I’m far too fussy.
- Gabriella Boyd’s paintings capture fleeting moments of intimacy
- Friday Mixtape: Because Music's Jane Third creates a lo-fi electronic mix
- Magic Party Place: CJ Clarke photographs Basildon, Essex over ten years
- Diane Fox distorts the “illusion of the diorama” with beguiling images of museum exhibits
- “It's not overly-shiny ‘render porn’ — it's got soul”: Margot Bowman on her new film for River Island
- Vogue interior photographer François Halard’s personal polaroids
- Photographer Trent Davis Bailey documents rural American community The North Fork
- Mr Bingo’s Valentine’s cards for single people
- Leipzig-based graphic designer Anja Kaiser takes us through her portfolio
- Why creative education for advertising is stuck in the dark ages
- Japanese graphic designer Ryu Mieno creates type-heavy works fizzing with energy
- Graphic artist Patrick Thomas’ found poster collages