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27th March 2020
Meet the Artists – Daniel Long
Daniel Long’s digital illustrations are the work of a true pro; their beauty lies in all the subtle details and finishes that don’t make themselves too known, but help to elevate an already impressive image. Whether it’s a subtle texture that softens a block of colour or the body language of a portrait that draws your attention to a specific feature, Daniel’s work has attracted publishing clients like Usborne and Dorling Kindersley through to editorial clients like The Financial Times and Which?
What’s also clear is Daniel’s impressive ability to seemingly draw anything in his recognisable style; he is as comfortable creating portraits as he is creating scenes packed full of buildings and impressive architecture, as well as being able to imbue everyday objects with a warm and inviting glow.
We spoke to Daniel about his favourite music to listen to while he works, his dog and his earliest childhood influences…
Where do you live?
Where is your studio located?
Upstairs in my house.
Can you describe your creative process?
Although my final illustrations are always digital I generally try and do as much with a pencil and paper as I possibly can! Depending on the project, I will create a collage of reference images to create a composition and then work from that with good old pencil and paper. I find this particularly useful when doing anything involving people or animals that need to be anatomically correct. Once I’ve built up my rough starting from faint light blue lines to dark decisive ones I’ll scan it in and work over it in photoshop using many layers of different vector shapes, gradients, masks, shading and finally textures.
What does a typical working day look like?
I usually have a far too leisurely breakfast and a hefty cup of coffee and then head out with my dog Hendrix for a good stomp around the woods that are on my doorstep. I’ll then get on with whatever project is on the agenda (currently that is slowly plodding through a children’s book project.) Midway through the day its another stomp with the dog, probably some guitar noodlings to loosen up the fingers and then back to work.
Do you listen to music or the radio whilst you work? If so, what’s on your playlist?
I go through phases with my work listening. My music is quite eclectic to say the least; 50’s blues, 60s surf, British invasion bands, a bit of jazz, funk, soul, Motown, Greek and Turkish Psych.
I’ve been particularly enjoying a lot of Tuareg music lately such as Tinarwen and Mdou Moctar, anything I cant understand the lyrics is great to have on the background.
How long have you been with the Artworks for?
What drew you to Artworks?
I had graduated university and done a few projects under my own steam and decided I needed to find representation as it was all new and somewhat overwhelming to me. The Artworks were the first I had a meeting with and its been a great experience ever since. I’ve had all sorts of projects and clients that I never dreamt would be possible a few years ago.
What books or programmes did you love as a child? Have they influenced your work in any way?
I remember reading the Asterix books when I was young, pay no attention to words but would tape lots of bits of A4 printer paper together and draw loads and loads of little roman soldiers with their uniforms, weapons, different patterns on their shields, horses etc. I think that could have been the starting point of enjoying the minutiae in my work.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be instead?
It would have to be something involving the outdoors, conservationist perhaps or some sort of carpenter and follow in the footsteps of my furniture maker father.
What was the most important lesson your learned at Art School, if you went!
The most important thing I learnt is to not be too precious with ideas. Its easy to get attached to some great idea or composition you’ve come up with but 99% of the time that won’t be the one the client chooses… and that’s okay.
What inspires you the most to create?
The natural world, particularly some of the colour palettes that it throws up at you. Different environments, different times of the day, different seasons. Endless inspiration.
Name three artists that you admire
Owen Davey, Charley Harper, Steve Simpson
What kind of commissions do you enjoy the most?
I love a nice big book I can sink my teeth into for many months and reappear at the end in a vitamin D depleted state trying to readjust to normal life. And also nice quick turnaround ones. Variety is the spice of life apparently.
What would your dream commission be?
I’ve been lucky enough to to tick quite a few things off the dream commission bucket list, one of the things still on there is beer bottle packaging, I think that would be great!
Do you have any pets? If so, what and what are they called?
I have a cockerpoodle named Hendrix (after Jimi)
What 5 things could you not live without?
At least one guitar, Hendrix the dog, my girlfriend (and her baking), black coffee and a good beer.
What is your very favourite meal?
I’m really into trying to perfect my tagine recipe at the moment
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Most of my spare time is spent making music one way or another, its great to have another creative outlet. Particularly after my number one hobby became my job.
What is your current dream travel destination?
Anywhere quiet with wide open spaces that I can roam around in with the dog and my girlfriend and not bump into a single other soul.
If you want to see more of Daniel’s work you can check it out here.