Where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I'm originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. I'm currently living in St. Catharines, Ontario. I graduated in 2001 and started illustrating full-time around 2004 / 2005.
Your color palette always seems very refined, how long do you spend laboring over choices - or does it come pretty naturally?
The color palettes sometime happen easily and other times they're quite labored. Most of the time I have a rough idea of what I want, but it rarely sticks to that. Typically I paint over things until it feels right. The mood a piece communicates is often through color and that is important to me, almost as much as the content is. Color is one of the first things a viewer notices, so having a good palette is half the battle.
What unique challenges do you face creating typography, that you don’t creating standard illustrations?
Because there's quite a bit of lettering in my portfolio, it's easy for a client to find something similar to what they're looking for. In one way that is a helpful when figuring out what direction a project needs to take, but in a way it hinders the process because I'm trying to avoid being repetitive or predictable and that's the most difficult thing for me. It's difficult to move ahead when you're looking behind.Your work is very distinct, how has it been evolving and changing over time?
To me, my work is worlds apart from where it used to be, but from an outsider's view, it probably hasn't changed all that much. I don't know if it's laziness or fear, but I have a tendency to let influences creep in very slowly and as a result I think my work develops at a similar rate. If anything, it's the technical skill that has changed the most.
What do you think drew you to collage and paint as a means of image making?
I enjoy using collage quite a bit because of its immediacy. If I want a block of color or certain texture, I find the right piece and then stick it down. Painting is great because I can build up the tones and establish the color palettes...and those exercises appeal to the detail oriented side of my nature. However I always feel a need to develop the artwork with my bare hands and have fun with it and fight with it until it's complete.
What, in your opinion, are some of the pluses and minuses of a traditional approach to image making?
Traditional work in the last 10 years has faded in and out of popularity and that is a positive thing but also a negative thing because a lot of our industry is trend-driven. That said, I firmly believe that good work regardless if it's analogue or digital, always finds a way to shine through.You also pursue personal, more fine artwork - how important is this practice as an artist / creative?
Does it find its way into your illustration work ever? Every creative is different so I can only speak for myself, but I think it's important to explore other creative avenues, whether it's fine art or music, etc... Those explorations find their way into my illustration work and I welcome it when it happens. For the most part, impulse is what drives those other creative avenues and I place more importance on process than final product because more is learned from the process, essentially making it more valuable to me than having a pretty picture.
What are you loving about illustration right now?
I love how illustration is evolving to keep up with the technology that's available now. I graduated at a weird time because it was right near the end of being a part of the old school, and right at the beginning of the new school. Needless to say, a lot has changed in 9 years and it's both exciting and mildly frustrating.
What are your favorite bars in Toronto?
I've still got a Toronto phone number but I haven't lived there for about 5 or 6 years so I'm not hip to the bar scene any more. How important is down time for you? How do you spend it?
Downtime is only semi-important to me because I prefer to keep busy. Taking time away from client work is important, though. If I'm not illustrating, I'm hanging out with my wife and friends, or working on renovations or fine art, or writing music.
Complete these sentences -
Everyone needs to read: It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden. - Everyone needs to own: Stocks in twitter.com/jenniferdaniel or a copy of Steve Martin's novel An Object of Beauty. Or both.
The hands down, best album to come out this year is: In Another Life by Count to Fire. The production and guitar work is amazing on this album but it has shitty artwork. David Bazan is another good artist whose latest album is pretty damn fine.
I'm tired of: Keep Calm and Carry On.
Any advice for new illustrators coming into the industry?
I think it was Paul Rand who said "Don't try to be original, just try to be good." That's pretty damn good advice. Being patient and persistent is important for young illustrators, too. Finding your voice and place in the market doesn't happen overnight.
Any advice for older / established ones?
Older / established illustrators should make an effort to keep up with the industry and quit being stubborn about it. If you work traditionally, it doesn't mean you should still promote and act that way.
All images copyright Darren Booth. To see more of Darren's work dear reader simply check out his website! Thanks so much Darren, I love your work! www.darrenbooth.com