Graham Carter is one of the most exciting illustrators currently working in the UK, and has worked at the forefront of his industry for the last 15 years.
Graham's client list is extensive and he has enjoyed successful campaigns with Aviva, Bupa, Orange, Waterstones, Visa and Monster.co.uk. His illustrations can also be spotted in a wide variety of editorial publications such as The New Scientist, The Guardian and The Sunday Times.
Graham currently lives in Seaford with his wife Alice, baby son Noah and Mr Bojangles the cat. He can often be found printing, sketching and making a mess in his studio in Brighton.
What are you working on at the moment or what's preoccupying you at the moment?
I've been working as a director with a local animation company Ticktockrobot over the last year. It’s been quite a departure from the way I usually do things but I’m learning a lot and the results have been exciting to say the least. I feel quite fortunate to have found an animator who is so enthusiastic about my work and who understands how to bring it to life with subtlety and humour, whilst undoubtedly adding a whole new dimension to my work (not just in the literal sense!).
Can you describe how you make images?
It varies, and I’m always looking for new ways of image making that keep the process exciting for me. On a day to day basis I use Photoshop to design images, either from scratch or to develop a scanned sketch in a book. Usually I design with a finished screen print in mind so I will separate out colours into four or five layers to mimic the process. Recently I have been creating wooden characters out of multiple layers of laser-cut plywood or MDF components which are individually painted orprinted. Again I try to gain an understanding of how I will eventually assemble these pieces using Photoshop, but its nearly impossible to plan everything. There are always surprises or obstacles!
What do you most enjoy about the work that you do? What are you most proud of?
I still really enjoy the process, and finding new ways to reach the end product. I’m most proud of my recent show ‘Me, Marionette’ as it encompassed many different working methods (drawing, painting, printing, puppetry, sculpture and animation) yet still retained a cohesive order to it.
Where do you take inspiration from, beyond the work of other artists and illustrators?
Usually just getting away from my normal working environment and going for a walk through town or on the beach (maybe a train journey) is enough to get the creative juices flowing. I find exciting compositions, colours or narratives can sometimes be found in the mundanities and minutiae of everyday life. Of course if an idea presents itself this way I may abstract it out a little or throw in the odd robot, monster or giant Yeti into the mix, but that’s just me...
Is where you live an influence on your work?
Absolutely. I’ve lived in Brighton, and more recently Seaford, for the best part of 10 years and it’s very easy to let your mind wonder when you walk by the sea. Brighton especially has a mixture of vintage/retro elements – from those clunky end-of-pier coin machines to the ghostly rotting husk of the old West Pier. Along with a thriving contemporary art scene. Its hard not to be influenced by such things. (Just take a look at my print ‘Heyday’!).