Say hello to Dom & Ink who is the man behind today’s Create & Inspire feature. I met Dom a few months ago through our mutual friend Lauren at her kick ass ‘Girl vs Cancer’ event held at West Elm. It honestly feels like I have known Dom for years and every time I’m in his company he puts a smile on my face.
At Lauren’s event he’d put together an entire colouring in table which was covered in his illustrations, some featuring Lauren and others with sassy quotes and empowering motifs. I love the strong edgy look to Dom’s unique and creative illustration style. I was bowled over to find out he’d already published two books already which have been stocked in Topshop, as well as translated into multiple languages across the world.
So it’s time to get to know some more about Dom and where his inspiration for his illustrations started.
What was your dream job when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a comic book artist! All I did was draw Spiderman and Batman. I was completely obsessed with comics (still am. NERD ALERT). Drawing so much helped though as all the figurative doodles slowly transformed into more fashion style illustration.
When did you decide to run your own business?
You know i never intended to go freelance, I just started a Facebook page and then work steadily came in. Once the two books came out even more work was coming in so I’d say I kind of fell into it?! I’ve been freelance now for 5 years. WOW.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own illustration business?
That I don’t answer to anyone else but me. And also all the amazing brands and people I get to meet and connect with. I love meeting innovational and inspiring people! But also the worst thing thing is that I answer to me too. Ha! I’m quite tough on myself as I always want everything to be the best it can be.
What do you wish you could tell your former self when your business was starting out?
Don’t wear yourself out and embrace power naps more! Oh and don’t grow a full beard, not a good look for 2015 on you boo.
What was your first business highlight where you felt proud of what you’d achieved?
For me, before I got the book deal it was definitely getting my first freelance job. It was illustrating posters for Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. I had no idea how to do an invoice or expenses etc so this first gig taught me so much you don’t learn in uni. After that, definitely the day I got the go ahead for ‘Map My Heart’ to be published. That was so scary yet exciting! Then again, being asked to illustrate at X Factor was fairly awesome too.
Who inspires you creatively?
I am constantly inspired by Soleil Ignacio and Emma Rios, one a fashion illustrator and the other a comic book artist. Both have styles and work that I love. I could sit and look at their work all day long. Films and music are also huge inspirations for me, especially classical music.
What is your top tip for anyone who’s starting out in illustrating or who loves to draw?
Draw draw draw and don’t stop! Also get yo fine ass onto Instagram. It’s where it’s at. Share your work, connect with fellow artists and creatives and don’t be afraid to be forward and put your name out there. For every ‘Yes’ I’ve had at least a million ‘Nos’
What inspired you to create your first book ‘Map my heart’?
MMH came about when I was doing my Masters degree in Brighton. I wanted to do an interactive book on dating and break ups but make it funny, and quite witty. It was meant to be something you can pick up and then vent your rage into and put down. Well, it still is actually ha!
How was the process of creating your two books with a publisher, what lessons did you learn from creating them?
I learnt a lot in terms of what is commercial and what isn’t commercial for your standard buyer. Design was a huge thing as well and how to overcome certain hurdles with layout and composition with the relationship between text and image! Also tailoring a womenswear fashion journal that won’t date due to trends was a toughie but was the ultimate creative problem solving task!
What’s on the horizon for Dom & Ink?
There’s loads of stuff! As per usual, stuff I can’t mention right now. But more doodles, more sass and definitely more mermaids and dinosaurs 🙂
Don’t forget you can follow Dom over on…
One last thing. Dom’s illustrations are currently featured on Lauren’s new range of tit-tees to raise awareness of breast cancer. 25% of the proceeds go to one of her five partnered charities, so go and get your hands on Dom’s illustrated fried eggs, melons, milk jugs and my personal fave bee stings tee over at Girlvscancer.co.uk.