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Rob Hodgson

Together with Derek Brazell, I have just completed a new book Becoming A Successful Illustrator published by Bloomsbury. As well as preparing aspiring illustrators for the competitive world of professional practice one of the of the underlying aims of was to showcase the work of a diversity of illustrators. Representing the range of contexts that illustration is commissioned for; from the traditional applications of book covers and editorial illustrations for magazines through to relatively more recent formats such as apps for tablets and illustration for animation, brought us as authors into contact with inspirational and interesting practitioners globally.
An additional thrill lay in the opportunity to commission bespoke illustration for each of the six chapter headings. The brief was open: to take the number of the chapter and reflect visually in some way on the content. All images had to be approved by the editor at Bloomsbury. Selecting illustrators for their distinctive visual approaches resulted in a unique collection of memorable images.
Rob Hodgson is one of my ex-students. Now a respected professional and gold award winning illustrator from the Association of Illustrators in the New Talent category. A combination of drawing, humour, design and selective colour palettes made him a natural choice for Chapter 5 entitled Securing Work. Given potential prejudice that this chapter dealing with contracts and rights may be complicated or boring (it’s not!) it was important to commission a fresh and enticing image to make the content appeal.
How much inspiration did you take from the subjects in your chapter?
I wanted to show each aspect of the chapter being carried out and have the whole process of licensing, delivering a brief, getting paid and talking about money in one image. I took the subjects of the chapter quite literally and visually, but chose to subvert them and thought it would be fun to have the tools for making pictures come to life.
Can you write some words on how you put the image together?
What I usually do with a brief is to read it- then read it again- forget about it- and then come back later and draw everything I can think of that has some relation to it. When it’s all down on the page you start to see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes images overlap and the meaning changes. The yellow pencil in the shape of a £ symbol was like this- a happy chance that you can take and use.In this case I had a lot of simple images I wanted to use to make one larger image, and so rather than a single image, I chose to break it up into blocks.
First Image
Rob Hodgson -  first visual
Client Image
Rob Hosgdon- Client visual
Final Image
Rob Hodgson- final image
What do you consider ‘success’ as an illustrator?
Ultimately it comes down to artistic fulfilment- it’s all about having a good journey and learning all the time. Money, commercial success, peer respect, artistic integrity are all healthy things as long as you’re driven by the enjoyment of your own work. It’s all about seeing where it goes, learning new skills, solving problems, and watching it evolve. I think learning to enjoy the ride is real success.
Have you taken any tips/useful info from the book?!
There are so many great interviews in the book with very diverse artists and people in the industry who have different careers or opinions about things to me. I think it’s really healthy to see it all from other people’s point of view!
Jo Davies is an Illustration tutor with the OCA

Posted by author: Jo Davies
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