If, like me, your frown’s been upside down ever since the last episode of middle clsss cat-nip The Great British Bake Off drew to a sunshine-infused close, then DO NOT FEAR! Here we have Tom Hovey, a very talented freelance illustrator, animator and the artist behind those trademark Bake Off illustrations. Tom’s very kindly answered some questions for us today, so without further ado, ready, steady bake!
Tell us in a line or two what you do and why you enjoy it
I’m an illustrator and animator. I draw everything from blue neon unicorns to Mary Berry’s creamy buns.
How did you land the job for The Great British Bake Off?
Serendipity I guess. I moved to London in 2009 with no job lined up and only a few illustration gigs to pay the bills. A mate got me a job working in the edit on a new amateur baking competition for BBC2. I was in the edit suite with the editor and series director when they were discussing adding animated illustrations to the show. I pitched for it and got the gig, four years later I’m still doing it!
What was the brief like?
The brief was simply to echo the homely and nostalgic aesthetic of the show.
The concept was to create drawings based on what the bakers may have sketched out when deciding what to bake in the show in their own recipe sketchbook.
Are you happy with the final outcome?
The look of the first series was a lot cruder, thick black lines and no colour. When we found out we had been recommissioned to make a second series I looked at how we could improve the overall look of the graphics. We used a much higher quality photo as a backdrop and I decreased the heaviness of the line and focused on making the colours really bright and bold so that they really popped off the screen. It changed the way I created the images and I felt much happier about how they appeared on screen.
However happy I am with the final illustrations I always cringe at things I could have done differently when I watch them on the telly but sometimes you have to let it go and realise there’s not much you can do to make 10 yellow quiches look exciting!
What projects are you going to be working on in the near future?
Apart from Bake Off related projects (I’m currently working on Junior Bake Off and Sport Relief afterwards) I’m getting involved in a lot more animation projects. I recently produced a series of animations for a Channel 4 documentary called The Cruel Cut about FGM (female genital mutilation) airing in November. I’m also working on an animated sitcom over the next few months, which is pretty exciting as I’m creating all the artwork and animation for it. But with my wedding planned for the Spring of 2015 my most difficult client to date is proving to be my darling fiancé!