May 9, 2013
How much creativity can be produced within one co-working space? Plenty, if you consider that this personality-packed workspace — courtesy of illustrator, art director, and artist Will Bryant — is within a stone’s throw of the desk of Kate Bingaman-Burt, an illustrator who gave us a look around her office digs just last month. Get a new perspective on their shared studio (also the headquarters for three other illustrators/designers) in this newest tour from Portland, Oregon. Read more
April 25, 2013
Being the son of an architect influenced every aspect of the colorful and varied career path of Patrick Long, illustrator, designer, and occasional stylist for Herman Miller. “It really informed the way I look at things,” he says. “He pointed out the minutia. He helped me see the doorknobs, the door handles, the chandeliers in the volume in a room. He was a great teacher.” An architect father also ensured that paper and pencil were always around while Patrick was growing up. “I was encouraged to draw. And no one told me I couldn’t — that gave me the freedom to continue,” he says. Read more
April 15, 2013
In our regular office tours, we often see studios that serve as co-working spaces for the creative professionals who work there. It’s not often, though, that we get to hear these studio mates talk about each other’s work. In this thoughtful interview with illustrator Julia Rothman, we not only get a glimpse inside her workspace, but also get a glimpse of the admiration she has for the women with whom she shares the office: artists Caroline Hwang and Meredith Jenks. Get to know them all in this week’s tour. Read more
March 20, 2013
This week’s well-mixed Playlist hails from Wichita, Kansas. Its creator, designer and illustrator Luke Bott, creates work that reaches a good deal farther. Since graduating in 2002, Luke has been creating design and illustration for clients like Coca-Cola, MailChimp, and Wired UK. His iconic work draws inspiration from mid-century design, children’s books and toys, and vintage ads. Now Luke shares the sonic background of his work with us. Take a listen.
October 23, 2012
It’s easy to notice the charm, wit, and sly playfulness behind the work of Andrew Neyer — so it’s no surprise that his signature aesthetic should also make an appearance in his Cincinnati-based home office. Take a tour of the designer, art director, and illustrator’s bright, inspired space, a combination of clean lines, pops of color, attitude, and, quite fittingly, seating by Charles and Ray Eames. Read more
August 2, 2010
A rather elegant cat landed in my inbox recently. Alexie Hiles, an illustrator and graphic designer based in France, sent the images through of Mr Grey in response to our Pets in the Office series. I was intrigued by her space and her work so I asked her to share a little bit more.
How long have you worked from home? I’ve been working from home full time as freelance graphic designer for 3 years, I’m working mostly in the fields of institutional and culture communication in France. I am also an illustrator, which I enjoy most and I try to post a sketch as often as possible on my tumblr blog. I would love create children books now! I’ve always had a place to draw where I lived as long as I can remember.
And where is home? Our home is in Lille, in the north of France, between Paris, Brussels, London and Amsterdam. I really enjoy living in one of Europe’s cross roads. We bought our house 2 years ago from one of my partner’s former architecture teachers. I like the idea that the place where I spend most of my days has been a home office for a long time.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? The house was built in 1930, we are furnishing it slowly with furniture found in jumble sales or vintage stores from the 30′s to the 50′s. The home office is the place where I feel free to stick any pictures I love anywhere on the walls just because I want to be able to see them all the time (and take it away when I’ve had enough of it). It is full of tins, old books and toys I find everywhere.
How do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. I organize myself with a pen and a paper – everything starts in my big blue notepad (they are always the same, I only change the colors of cover when I buy a new one). All my lifework is in there. I once threw one away by mistake, and had to have a look in the street paper recycling bin to find it… my neighbors thought I’d gone mad that day. When my notepad’s closed my workday is finished. Also shelves! Plenty of them – so that books, magazines etc. can stand vertically, instead of horizontally in piles. Filling the shelves with the books I love when moving in, it is always a great pleasure.
Are there any particular programs you find really useful? I use Skype everyday, it changed my way of working in team with other freelance graphic designers, they became kind of colleagues in a way!
When you were setting up your home office what did you keep in mind? When we moved into this house the ground floor walls, where I work now, were already covered with bookshelves which was ideal, and the former landlord had given us a beautiful old “double desk”. We just had to refresh the white paint, sit down, and work. We added a big old workshop table where I like to draw because it is far from the computer and a big “cat-approved” sofa to make the place warm and comfortable, friends are always welcome to sit down and have a drink and a biscuit.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? Honestly not really… I might need to find a place on the walls for a proper inspiration board to avoid flyers, articles and post cards everywhere, that’s all I am thinking of for the moment.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? My “gigantic” screen, I miss it when working away from home on my portable computer.
What would you change about your own workspace? My workspace is a bit dark in winter, I need better lighting.
What do you most love about your space? When the sliding glass windows are wide opened in spring and summer I feel like working outside and I love it.
What inspires you? I receive the Grain Edit newsletter every day. I love art and graphic design from the 50′s, I love the clear, simple and efficient style. I admire the way artistes use subtle and bright colors. Charley Harper is one of my favorite illustrator. I also admire japanese illustrators such as Yoshitomo Nara, for the same reasons I guess. Apart from this, I think that if you pay attention around you, everyday life is always very inspiring.
Balance, Design, Products
May 27, 2010
Here is a slightly different take on our home office interview. Illustrator Jordan Awan drew his work space for us. I think it’s a nice change of pace. I’m a big fan of his work. Let me know what you think. Maybe more illos are called for! Check out his work at Springtime Studio and his blog here.
1. How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I started doing freelance illustration upon graduating from Pratt Institute in 2007. I have an apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, that I share with my wife, Morgan Elliott, who is also an illustrator. I typically do editorial and print illustration for clients like The New Yorker, The New York Times, or McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, though I have also done work as different as designing billboards for Puma or drawing patterns for dishware.
2. Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? That’s tough! I probably need a few drinks to answer this accurately. I’m typically attracted to an essentialized aesthetic, which is what I aim for in my illustration as well. I try to make every line count; no decoration or superfluous marks are allowed. The same goes for my living and workspace, I suppose!
3. As an illustrator with multiple clients how do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? Living in New York, I (along with everyone else in the city) am forced to make every square foot of my apartment count. My poor office shelving is working overtime to help me keep supplies, sketchbooks, papers, and everything else in order. A system that works for me is: whatever I’m not using at any given moment immediately goes back into storage. This helps me keep everything organized while at the same time opening up my workspace. As for my computer, I have developed a system where work is categorized first by client, then by year, then by assignment. Each assignment folder has all the reference, sketches, versions and finals.
4. Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? I’ve always wanted an Eames Storage Unit. It would make organizing papers and supplies so much easier. I also need to bite the bullet and get a laptop at some point soon!
5. What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? I have a vintage Dazor drafting lamp that I’ve come to depend on. It’s a classic, the same kind that illustrators have used since the 1940s. It gives off the crispest light that is perfect for keeping my eyes focused on the detail of what I’m drawing; it’s also articulated in such a brilliant way that I can get light from any direction.
The other office item that I can’t do without is this turn of the century drafting table, which was manufactured at an engineering school in Worcester, Massachusetts. The angle of the top is adjustable, as is the height, making it perfect for every medium. Mine was a gift from Morgan’s father, who remembers his father (an illustrator) working on one exactly like it. Back in the 40s and 50s, there was a resurgence of interest in this kind of classic drafting table; apparently, all the young illustrators in New York and Westport, Connecticut would use them and refer to it as “working on the board.”
6. What would you change about your own workspace? I’m actually pretty satisfied with my workspace; I think that in New York, once you spend a few years doing paintings while sitting on your bed or hunched over the kitchen sink, you’re thankful for even an empty corner! But if I could change anything, more space would be nice. And yes, I did once spend a year in a studio apartment doing paintings over the kitchen sink.
7. What do you most love about your space? I get great sunlight and fresh air through two big windows. That makes such a huge difference when I’m working! It also allows me to have plants in my work area, which makes the space more inviting.
8. What inspires you? Oh, anything, everything… mostly drawing in my sketchbook or reading fiction and philosophy. Going out for long walks in the city never fails to inspire me, too.
Balance, Design, Products
March 31, 2010
Australian-born, Berlin-based artist Rilla Alexander is one fifth of the design collective known as Rinzen. Her illustrations have graced the walls of the Fox Hotel in Copenhagen, appeared on credit cards for the Swiss Cornér Bank and danced across ceramics for German porcelain maker Rosenthal. She is currently creating a range of children’s products for Madrid’s Museo del Prado based on the Hieronymus Bosch masterpiece “The Garden of Earthly Delights”. She shares her live/work space with her husband and her adorable little Jack Russell Terrier “Mr Tom”.
How long have you been working from home? I’ve been working here for two years now. Over the last fifteen years I’ve worked in a variety of studios as well as home workspaces, and I’ve got to say this is the best situation yet. Berlin apartments are huge and this one used to be three apartments. So the “commute” from home to work is, if not actually long, at least noticeable… but I can still easily start at 5am or have a mid-day nap if the mood takes me. (Below is a billboard illustration Alexander did for Australia’s Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.)
What’s a typical day like for you? Drawing at my lightbox while consuming a steady stream of radio documentaries from NPR, ABC and BBC. I have just spent a week in Italy and am itching to assume my favourite position at the drawing table again. It’s an addiction. Of course once the drawings are done I need to scan them over on the “computer desk”. It doesn’t have the drawing table’s sunny window position – so I make a quick retreat as soon as possible.
What do you like most about your space and is there anything you would change? I love that it’s a space all to myself, but that I can go to the next room for feedback/input/conversation from my husband, who is currently converting his space into a painting/sculpture/music studio. Our dog, Mr Tom shares his time between us – usually switching studios depending on who has the most food. I also love being surrounded by books. The only thing I would love to have is a view to the beach, or a tropical rainforest. Moving from Australia to Berlin does has some downsides.
I notice on your desk you’ve got lots of interesting objects. Can you share some of your favorites with us? Above my desk you can see the edge of a poster for Jacques Tati’s Mon Uncle – which, like so many things from Europe, I actually bought in Japan. Tove Jansson’s Moomins, her books “Who will comfort Toffle” and “The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My” and the box set of stop-motion animations from Film Polski are always within reaching distance. She is one of my greatest inspirations. You can also see a Porcelain Elephant money-box (designed by Luigi Colani for the Dresdner bank) and a ceramic jar from Nymolle – a Danish company that Bjorn Wiinblad designed for before he began to work primarily with Rosenthal. The Nymolle pieces are my favourite examples of Bjorn Wiinblad’s work – I’ve always been drawn to mono-coloured design and illustration – and I love that his work which would probably now be dismissed as “for children” is for everyone.
Do you have any tips for organizing your home office space? Feeling comfortable and cosy is very important to me – and surrounding myself with furniture and objects that inspire and excite me, makes me want to be in my studio more than anywhere else. The more teak and porcelain, the more likely I’ll stay. If only I had teak desks…
March 25, 2010
British illustrator Kate Banazi’s career as an illustrator began in a small, London studio but now happily occupies a home in Sydney, Australia, where she has lived and worked for the last three years. Kate shares her home with husband Alistair and 12 year old son Milan (also a talented illustrator.) Kate’s illustrations have appeared in Business Week, Australian journal Meanjin, Financial Review, Telstra, DT Digital, Future Living and in the last issue of Herman Miller’s very own Jugglezine (below).
How did your career in illustration come about? I originally freelanced in menswear design working on a tiny label with a friend, but after Milan was a born I couldn’t have as much fun in the fashion business, and that led me to freelance illustration.
How did you end up in Australia? I met my husband while I was on holiday here, on a blind date no less. We returned to London for four years where we decided to move to Australia, as we thought it would be great for Milan to grow up in the sunshine. Milan loves to go camping, mountain biking and snorkeling and the climate certainly helps for all those things.
Who do you illustrate for? Anyone who’ll pay me! It’s a varied, eclectic client base really and that suits me as its not straightforward illustration that I do. My clients include magazines, editorial, fashion.
What inspires your work? It could be anything. Sometimes nothing for months, then overload! I’m sucker for a piece of shiny orange plastic and a bit of brown corduroy. The brain works in funny ways!
Where is your home office and how much time do you spend there? It’s downstairs underneath the house in a quiet leafy setting. I’ve worked there for a year. It used to be in the house, but the space I have now is much more practical. I’m there for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I do try and keep some structure.
Which items in your office can you not do without? A scalpel and my drying rack. Two infinitely useful things to an illustrator.
Do you share the office with anyone else? No. It’s my space.
How do you stay organized? I don’t! It’s a constant work in progress. I do have method behind my madness and I constantly say that “I will get it done” but real life gets in the way. Even though it’s not tidy I know where everything is. Anyone moves my stuff and they die!