Interview 4 months ago

Ed J Brown on not living in London.

Ed is one of those people who deserve to be celebrated, his broad ranging almost unhinged style always leaves you guessing and constantly challenges your viewpoint.

It’s no wonder his adaptable freewheeling style has won him countless awards and clients such as Nestlé and FRONT magazine.

British born but based in Leipzig in Germany, creative Ed took some time to talk to us about his journey up to now.

Here’s what he said:

Could you give us 3 tips that you’d say have got you to where you are today.

When you’re starting out I think its really important to:

1) be flexible

Broaden your creative worth as much as possible. By this I don’t mean agree to illustrate that guys anime novel (yet to be completed) for £70. But, to find areas of your work you really enjoy and see how you can expand upon them.

I, for example, sell fonts online, artwork in shops and teach classes once a week. I enjoy all of these things and in turn they all help to inform my main creative work as an illustrator.

My second tip ….

2) You don’t have to live in your capital city.

London is great, don’t get me wrong. But with prices being what they are it may not hurt you to see what else is out there.

I’ve been living in Leipzig, Germany, the last two years and I have found a city that offers me a hell of a lot creatively for a fraction of London (and even England) prices. If you’re feeling adventurous, China is wonderful!

However, it’s not all about money, the most important tip I can think of is to simply

3) Stick with it.

Roll with the punches and keep on going. I think most people don’t make it because they simply give up too early.

Ed J Brown Creative Illustration

Ed J Brown Creative Illustration

Ed J Brown for Lagom Synthesisers.

Why illustration? What excites you about it?

Illustration, for me, is a game of ever changing communication and creative problem solving.

I’ve never enjoyed the task of coming up with my own problems to solve, I want to solve everybody else’s! This is why Fine Art didn’t agree with me.

I just couldn’t sit down with a blank sheet of paper and assume myself so important that I have something to say that everybody needs to hear.

It’s all too serious and self centred in my opinion.

Illustration isn’t like that, it’s silly, it’s harmless yet it’s still powerful if it wants to be. It’s all about picking something up, an article, a message, a quote, an idea and seeing where you can take it. That is what I love.

Give us an idea of your average day, how you work and how do you get your creative ideas done?

Gosh, I try and order my days differently, and just like I said in my “tips” question I also try to juggle a lot of balls. I have days for fonts, days for working on my classes, days for screen printing and days for doodling!

Every day usually starts the same though, I check emails and see if there is anything urgent that needs doing. I attempt to keep my blog going and with a bit of luck I have an illustration to get on with!

I think when the juices aren’t flowing so freely it’s great to take a bit of time off (though imminent deadlines are surprisingly inspirational!) so if you can afford it, give the piece a break for an hour or two and the right solution will undoubtedly come to you.

Ed J Brown Creative Illustration

Ed J Brown – ‘The Rise and Fall of Mel’

How do you attract new work?

Just buzzing around really, I email clients old and new a lot and I try to make sure I always have new work to show them. Keeping a blog helps a lot with this.

Methods for attracting work aren’t overly complicated.

It’s all about perseverance.

How long have you been an Illustration and would you say it’s your career?

I graduated just over 5 years ago, but I don’t think I really started working until about 3 years ago, so early days still. It’s most definitely my career!