Hi Eric! Thanks so much for taking time out to talk to Baremelon! To start with, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi Baremelon! I’m an illustrator working in Toronto, Canada. I studied art at the Ontario College of Art & Design. I took their four year interdisciplinary program with an emphasis on illustration and film studies. For the last five years or so I’ve focused on apparel design but I’ve also recently started selling prints and iPhone cases at society6 and am working on a children’s book in my spare time.
What clicked in that precious mind of yours, which prompted you to choose art as a career?
At the moment I only illustrate part-time as a hobby but I’d love to do it full-time some day. For the moment I draw as often as my full-time job will allow though it’s sometimes hard to find enough hours in the day. I do come from a pretty creative family of musicians and artists. My dad is a professor of philosophy but has always dabbled in the arts, be it pottery or writing. My mom is a professional harpist and my sister is a film maker. My other brother attended art college as well and is a successful illustrator. I think I knew early on that I wanted to do something in a creative field.
What’s the best and the worst part of being an illustrator?
The best part is having other people appreciate your work, and the internet has played a huge part in allowing artists to make their work available to a worldwide audience, something that would have been unimaginable in the past. The worst part is not being able to earn money to do it full-time, but in some way that’s a blessing in disguise since it means I can work at my own
pace strictly for my own enjoyment. There’s a purity in that since it’s not a “job” and there aren’t any deadlines or fussy clients to deal with.
You seemed to have participated in a lot of competitions; does that help in the growth of a designer?
I think it’s played a huge part in shaping me as an artist. With design competitions you aren’t creating in a vacuum, you’re getting constant feedback and hearing what people have to say about your art. It can be a daunting experience at first but also a very rewarding one. It’s important to develop a thick skin and not take any negative feedback personality but instead use it as an opportunity to grow, which is cliche but true.
What inspired your own personal design style?
I think my style is born out of the things I enjoy drawing. Since I haven’t had to deal with any clients, I’ve had the luxury to just draw what I want on any given day. I’m personally inspired by children’s book illustration, steam punk, comic book art, vintage art, movies.
Out of all the artworks that you’ve done, which one is your favorite? Why?
I’d probably have to pick “The Helium Menagerie” mostly for sentimental reasons. It was the first piece of artwork I was ever paid for, which was an enormous validations and inspired me to keep drawing. I’ll never forget the thrill of having it win and seeing it printed as a shirt that people all around the world could buy and wear. To think that someone in a distant city - someone I would likely never meet or know - enjoyed my design enough to buy it and actually wear it was really an incredible experience.
Which software and tool is your saving grace?
I’d be lost without Photoshop. It really is an amazing piece of software and invaluable for anyone getting into illustration or photography.
Tell us about any of your latest projects?
I’ve been collaborating on a graphic novel with my brother and another artist named Joe Carr. We’ve sent out a sample to Image comics so fingers crossed.
What was the most recent track you listened to?
Northern Sky by Nick Drake.
Any advice or trivia that you want to give to designers in the making?
Don’t give up or get discouraged when things are at their most discouraging state. It takes time to find your rudder as an artist but like anything else perseverance and hard work payoff. I’ll confess that with t-shirt design there were a lot of times when I felt like giving up. I was pretty clueless when I first started out and getting a shirt printed seemed like an impossibility. For some reason (maybe just stubbornness). I refused to give up and it eventually paid off. I’d also recommend getting Photoshop and familiarizing yourself with it. I basically taught myself how to use it and I’m far from a computer whiz so if I can learn it anyone can. More than anything, draw as much and as often as you can. Draw from life and draw from your imagination, but fill up as many sketchbooks as you can (I need to follow my own advice on this one!)
Check him out on: http://society6.com/opifan64