where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I was Born In Bath, England. I came to Canada ( with Parents ) when I was about 2 years old. I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto. I have been an illustrator for about 16 years.

how long did it take for illustration to become your full time job? did your career have a "big break" - if so what was it?
It took about 5 years for me to become a full time illustrator after graduating from art school in 1990. I quit my art supply store job when I got an assignment from Rolling Stone in 1995 . My "big break" was submitting work to American Illustration and being invited to do the cover. It was a huge boost.

can you remember doing any really bad jobs when you were getting started just to get your foot in the door?
Not really. I think I would have been happy to work and pay the rent.

although totally coherent, your work seems to encompass several different styles - from more serious to light hearted. when given a brief do AD's request a certain look or is that all you? how do you decide which direction to go?
I usually ask the AD if there is something of mine that they are looking at / like. This helps establish a direction. Many times the AD will leave it up to me, and I will work out my solution based on the story, audience, mood, etc.

characters in your work seem generally pretty happy, are you a pretty happy guy?
I tend to fall into the cynical and paranoid category. I guess I'm happy with that.

stylistically, how did you wind up where you are now?
I'm not exactly sure. I just try to do things that keep my brain engaged.

what is it about the aged look that draws you in?

I've always loved old print and vintage images, I've collected stuff for years, it just works it's way back into my work. It's also a way of softening up the sometimes harsh quality of Photoshop.

what are some major influences in your work?

As a kid, I loved Mad magazine, SCTV, Terry Gilliam's animations for Monty Python, and 50's horror/sci-fi movies, I see bits of those things in my work....I've always been drawn to anything bold and graphic. Old movie posters, signs, collage, punk/new wave stuff from the 70's, folk art, vintage graphic design, and cheap printing.

what can you tell me about "prayer requested", that looks pretty awesome...
A few years ago I was asked by Bulb comix ( http://www.bulbfactory.ch/ ) to do a tiny accordion style, two color comic. I was looking for subject matter on the internet and came across online prayer groups. People who post prayers online in hopes of having other people pray for them. Most of the prayers were related to illness and financial problems, but every so often there would be an oddly worded one, or a strange request. I collected a bunch of them and created artwork to go with the text. I just finished the book and I think it will be out in about June ( in time for Christmas ) It's a small book ( 96 pages ) and its full of new images and prayers... the images on my website are not in the book.

is this the first time you've worked with drawn and quarterly?
how did that relationship come about?

Yes. They emailed and asked if I wanted to do a book for their Petits Livres series. They originally proposed it as a book of my artwork, but I offered up the prayer idea, and they liked it.

you seem to have a bit of love for cinder block buildings, whats that all about?

I think I've used those types of buildings for some overly ironic paintings.

working traditionally vs. working digitally
I like to mix the two. The computer has been an incredible tool for work, I couldn't work without one now.

do you listen to music when you work?

I listen to a lot of WFMU.

what are your thoughts on the illustration industry right now?

I worry that the devaluation of print is going to make it very tough for illustrators to make a half decent living. I make the mistake of reading The Media is Dying ( http://twitter.com/themediaisdying ) It's informative, but a little painful to read.

what effect is the recession having?

I'm having good year so far, and haven't really felt any drop off in work....but it's only May, maybe the remaining
7 months will be a total horror.

how important is getting out of the house and doing non illustration related activity
- sports, movies etc.

I have two kids that keep me from staring at my computer all day.
you have a few short movies on your site, think you'll work on anything longer in the future?
My movies are a few years old, and not very good. Attempts at figuring out AfterEffects. I'd love to work on something bigger, but time, and lack of skills get in the way.

anything in general you'd like to see get more hype?
Listen to The Best Show on WFMU, buy my book when it come out , Susan Boyle ?

advice for new / young illustrators
If you work really hard, and really believe in what you are doing, you will most likely find some success......also, don't be in a rush to make money........and a little bit of youthful naive optimism can go a long way too.

advice for established / old illustrators

You can throw out your fax machine.
all images copyright Christian Northeast. wowzers!!!
see more work here: http://www.christiannortheast.com
thanks christian!!! COOOOOL stuff


  1. so awesome, keep up this blog man you're killin' it.

  2. This is terrific stuff. You're doing a great thing with all these illustrators. I see a book deal soon!

  3. Thanks for interviewing Christian. I have his Prayer Requested book (I am communicating with you from the future don't you know). I wanted to find out more info on the artist.