As promised, the first of my short 'illustrators on self publishing' interviews, first up, Nigel Peake.
Why did you decide to start publishing your own work?
I can't remember having a specific reason for doing it. I initially published a book of drawings with Analogue Books on Sheds.I really enjoying making books - drawing on a theme and then working on a sequence of events.I like the idea of telling a story through the drawing, even though there is not a direct or obvious narrative
What is your favourite and least favourite aspects about this process?
I am not sure if I can think of any bad aspects to the making of the books and zines, and if there where any then I guess over time I have amended them to suit my way of working. From the outset I enjoy it. I keep many sketchbooks and at times the idea of a collection comes together, be it from a recent voyage to things I am reading at the time. And it is then from this vague accumulation of ideas that they are worked from.
How would you say your personal publishing projects have affected the commercial side of your work?
Thats difficult to gauge. I am not sure if it has affected the projects i have been commissioned to do. The publications are not done for that reason, they are really done because of joy for the subject.
How important do you think fanzine's and self published books are as a platform for new illustrators and designers?
I am not sure how important it it is, but it depends in what terms you are thinking. If it was like - Is it good for commercial reasons? In that case I know quite a few illustrator who would never think of making zines. Making a zine actually requires a lot of extra work, and in many cases it is not extra work to make money, but more a case of remembering that you simply like to draw. Or is it good as a way of developing an idea? In that case I think it is useful because it is a platform to develop and tweak ideas and come up with new ways of using a black and white photocopier to do something new.
What is your take on how the internet is changing the distribution of the medium?
I think that the internet is ultimately a positive for this - in that potentially the 'world' is your audience. But really, it does not mean that, it just means that more people have a chance of seeing your work than if you lived on a country road with only a type writer. Though I think it is really important to maintain a 'real' connection with stores such as Analogue, Magma and Here. Because I think that it is with book stores like these that small publications exist. I remember selling a few early zines to Rough Trade record store and feeling complete satisfaction when they agreed to stock it. I dont think I went back for any money. The fact that it was on their counter was enough.
Finally where do you think the future of the medium will lead?
Hopefully it will continue just as it is - as a simple thing, a document of uncomplicated hard work with no ulterior motives other than a love for making things.
Really big thanks to Nigel for finding the time to answer my questions and to see more of his work or buy some of his lovely books click on secondstreet.co.uk
More interviews over the next day or two, next up is Jim Stoten