Designer Interviews - Week 3
For the third interview from these series I have another great artist that has kindly agreed to this interview, Aless Baylis. Aless is a Designer and illustrator, the founder and director of This is Gold Ltd. She has years of experience in surface pattern design and childrenswear graphics, and has managed to have an impressive client list, like Paperchase and Debenhams.
Hi Aless, I'm really glad to interview you and that you agreed to these series. Thank you so much!
I find there is a softness to your work that is hard to compare it to anyone else’s. When I look at your illustrations I kind of want to get inside that world, literally! There is a touch of magic in there...where do you gather your inspiration from?
Thank you for your kind words!
I tend to find my inspiration from a lot of different places. I read magazines like Anorak, Frankie and Uppercase, I always find a lot of fun imagery and unusual characters in these. I try to go to Magma Books as much as I can, they have some great kids books in there. I look at Instagram everyday, there are some great design feeds. My favourite is designlovefest, I look at this mainly for the bright colours. It's so fun and happy and there's always something inspiring everyday.
Do you mind sharing what is your working process?
My work process normally starts from scratch on my computer. I like to have a mix of hand drawn graphics and vector artwork. Soon I will have a proper working studio I'd love to do more painting, collage and screen printing. I used to do a lot of collage at university, it would be great to get back into this.
Would you mind sharing how useful it was to work in a studio like Paper&Cloth. How good was it for your career?
Working in design studios was so much fun. My first experience of this was at Peagreen who are a lovely design studio based in Winchester. It was such great experience. It taught me how to be creative every single day and gather inspiration everywhere you go. I travelled a lot with the job which led me to working at trade shows and doing appointments with the clients which was great fun! I joined Paper & Cloth later on in my career and I learnt so much working there in the short time that I was with them. I think working for design studios was a great path to take as it made me more confident in both myself and my work.
Being a Freelance Designer can be challenging in many ways, you have to be self disciplined, a multi-tasker and sometimes feel the pressure of being financially insecure. What challenges have you faced along the way?
Working for myself has been great, I have only been doing it since January this year but so far I love it. The first few months were tough and I was worried about getting enough work and if I'd made the right decision. Since then I've had a few times where I have taken on too much work but hopefully I will learn from this and take more days off, it's important. Overall I am really happy I made the decision to quit my full time job, it was certainly a very scary one to make.
What is your thoughts on selling outright instead of licensing? Do you look at other forms of income?
A lot of the work I do at the moment is commission work so it is exactly to the clients requests. I am about to launch a collection together with Lilipinso, a French kids interior brand and I will get royalties from the sales. I'm really looking forward to this collection launching. When I have sold my own work outright in the past it is quite sad as I do get quite attached to my characters but I can always draw some new ones so it's ok.
Did you have a dream client? And if so have you managed to work with them?
My dream client is Zara kids. I absolutely love the clothes in there, I'm always buying their clothes for my little niece, Anais. My dream would be to do a few prints for Zara baby girl, I'd absolutely love that!
If you could change one thing in the business what would it be?
One thing I would change in the business would be for more design companies to introduce graduate placements. I think they're a great way into the working world and it's often quite difficult for graduates to get jobs after university so these are an ideal way start to your design career.
Who are your favorite artists and who do you admire?
I really like Charlotte Farmer, her work is great. I like the use of gold and neon in her work, her type is amazing too. I once received one of her prints in the post and my address was written so beautifully on the front I had to keep the packaging.
We would also love to know a little bit more about you. What other hidden talents do you have?
I am from Winchester, England, now living in London, soon to be living in Brighton. I am vegetarian and I always try a new vegetarian restaurant everywhere I go. Terre A Terre, Brighton, Teresa Carles, Barcelona and Hangawi, New York are my favourites. I am currently learning Spanish (I'm not very good yet) My boyfriend is from Argentina so it would be nice to speak to his family properly one day.
Any exciting projects for the future?
One thing I'd like to do when I have some time is work on a project with my boyfriend. He is a programmer and we want to build something educational for kids using my characters. That would be great fun to do and also rewarding,
Finally would you like to give any advice for new and upcoming surface designers and illustrators?
My advice would be to keep drawing as much as you can everyday and always look out for inspiration everywhere. Put your work on Instagram and Pinterest to make contacts, it definitely works. Most of all, have fun!
Thank you Aless for having the time and courage to share more about yourself and your art. It has been wonderful to get to know you better.
Please keep doing what you do because the world needs your art!!
Hope to see you here next week for another designer interview!