Ok time for number two in my series of 'illustrators on self publishing' interviews, Jim Stoten.
Why did you decide to start publishing your own work?
Because I saw it as a very slim chance that it would be a way to get my work seen, but it was an avenue I felt I should at least try, because it seemed like a lot of my contemporaries were doing it to, and I felt like if I didn't I was missing a trick. It was difficult to get into, but I didn't know about things like how to paginate or that I had to think about things like paper-weights. I just thought it was going to be more straight forward, just do some drawings an take them to prontaprint.
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects about this process?Its a lot of pressure, to make something you are proud of, that people will want to pay money for and keep, its probably not a good idea to think about it to much otherwise you just wouldn't do anything. I like the freedom, now that I know; you really can just do what you want. The worst part is, that I find it difficult because I am always thinking about the continuity and how 1 page will affect the next, so it takes me a really long time to do work that I feel happy going next to something else. It takes me a long time to compile something and I don’t do like 100 drawings then cut them down to 10 i tend to only draw 10 for a 10-page book.
How would you say your personal publishing projects have affected the commercial side of your work?
Hardly any, they are really separate, I kind of see them as different ways of working, first of all because most of the stuff you would do for a zine will be black and white because its cheaper, whereas most of the stuff I get commissioned on is full of garish colours. I like that separation its like you get to put a different head on and you think about your work in a totally different way which is really liberating especially if you get into a position where people are looking for a very specific thing in your work, but while there is freedom in that still, but when you get the opportunity to do something different I relish it.
How important do you think fanzine's and self-published books are as a platform for new illustrators and designers?
I think its very important as its you representing yourself, how you want to be represented, and its you saying this is the work that I like doing an I want you to like it to. It takes all the formality out of the industry totally and brings it right down to the individual and there true feelings about your work.
What is your take on how the Internet is changing the distribution of the medium?
I thinks it making it more accessible but then by doing that its making it a less precious commodity, its like if everyone was special, no one would be, which is good and bad like when you find something amazing within all of this stuff, an its bad that there’s so much out there that you have to trawl through it, but then another reason why its good, is if you take into account that there’s so much stuff being published out there you have an extra incentive to do something that is different again, it pushes you to do that is challenging everything that is put there.
Finally where do you think the future of the medium will lead?
It will probably change drastically, in twenty years time you will probably be able to send out a hologram of yourself doing something stupid. I think its a really big trend at the moment an it will either die out because its not the ‘in’ thing to do or it will evolve into something in itself, self publication will being a more standalone industry so people are just interested in the work people are doing even if they have never heard of them before.
Was really nice to meet Jim and even nicer of him to answer all my questions, so go and look at more of great his work at jimtheillustrator.co.uk
hmm now who to put next, I think Daniel Cantrell AKA The Horror, come back soon to hear from him!