Enter the golden age of dumbness with world-class illustrator Sam Taylor
Nevermind the countless media companies that have commissioned Sam Taylor to work up a cover or add pop to an editorial design, the guy is a stud. The London based illustrator brings an unapologetic style of classic cartoon aesthetic focusing not just on the subject matter but just as importantly on the color schemes. Rooster talked with the illustrator who's on a path of global domination as companies just can't seem to get enough of his work.
Location: Camberwell, London.
Tacos or pizza: Tacos at the moment ‘cus a good place just opened up near me and they’re pretty rare in London, but pizza takes the all time crown.
Most used app on your phone: Boring, but Instagram.
Where do you see Kanye West in 10 years: ...
Do you have a favorite color or repeat color you find yourself coming back to?
I have a set of colors I always refer to and repeat, sometimes switching one out and keeping the rest. One color I basically always use is yellow because my eyes (in my drawings not in real life) are yellow, at the moment I like a greeny, bright yellow, toxic vibe. I also always use black, on the rare occasions I use dark dark blue instead of black I feel very rebellious.
We gather a lot of my inspiration online and from books, others grab theirs from nature, films/tv/cartoons, cities, etc. Where does inspiration find you?
Most of my inspiration comes from my friends, from cool stuff they’re doing or chats we have in the pub. Kicking ideas about. But yeah, everything inspires me, all the media I consume; podcasts, TV, films, sports, history, basically everything I read or watch filters into my brain. I’m pretty good at remembering stuff if I find it interesting.
Did you take any form of art class? How did you get into illustration?
Yeah, I studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art in London from 2008-2011. It was great! But I’ve drawn for my whole life, when I was a kid I used to draw all the time, it’s always been something I’ll do for fun.
Favorite project to work on (posters, editorial, t shirts, walls, etc.)?
I love everything but working on editorial is one of my faves. It’s great having someone come along and say, “hey, do a drawing about X” and then you have to do it. I really enjoy putting my own little stories and symbolism in the editorial illustrations so that they have more life to them than just accompanying an article. Doing murals is super fun too because I get to leave my house and mingle amongst normal people.
What attracted us most to your work was your unique style and how you maintain that uniqueness through out your graphics while making them stand out individually. Is it hard to keep it consistently fresh and non-repetitive?
It’s not hard but it’s always at the forefront of my mind when doing a new brief. I want it to be something new (even if only I can tell) and still fit within my visual world. I’m always drawing even if I don’t have a job on so everything syncs up. Lots of colours, motifs and characters bleed over from project to project and connect it all.
What do you do to create your ideal workspace? Do you pour yourself a beverage, light a cig, listen to some music? What’s the process like?
I’ve got a diffuser from Muji so that’ll be on (probably eucalyptus), coffee non-stop, Hot 97 on the radio or a podcast and then I’m away. I work from home so most of the time I just wake up and get straight to it, without getting properly dressed, just put some joggers on and GO.
Do you usually know what you are going to create when you sit down or does it come as you go? How do you lay out the foundation?
Most of the time I have a pretty good idea in my head. Then I draw little bits and bobs and it develops as I go along. I pencil it out first, it’s pretty rough at that stage, just trying out things, when it’s looking like it does in my head I’ll ink it. Then I scan it and colour on Photoshop.
We see you’re based in the UK but there is some political aspects to your work (Hippie Trump is a favorite of ours). What’s it like being overseas and observing what’s happening in the U.S?
Thank you! Yeah, it’s pretty crazy but it’s the same over here too with Brexit and stuff. Everywhere is crazy. But I think everything has always been crazy, just now everyone is talking about it on Twitter the whole time [laughs]. I enjoy doing political illustrations, especially for editorial, I try to highlight how silly most of it is. Trump, Boris Johnson, Kim Jong-un, they’re a cartoonists dream; we’re living in a golden age of dumbness.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
Anything anyone takes from my work is good enough for me. I try to always slant things in a positive way, so I’d like people to be happy when they’ve looked at my stuff.
Where can we find your stuff?
I am all over the Internet. My website (samtaylorillustrator.com) and my blog (samtaylorillustrator.tumblr.com), Instagram and Twitter (@sptsam), Facebook (samtaylorillustrator) and I have an online store selling prints, stickers and badges (samtaylor.tictail.com). Thanks!