Meet our housemates. Q&A with illustrator Geo Law.
In our new blog series we take some time to meet our talented neighbours here at Roco. First up we spoke to illustrator and Doodle Club founder Geo Law in his studio in 342 who's just got back from a trip to California where he was commissioned by Disney Studios to add some of his distinctive style to their workplace walls.
• Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hello, I'm Geo Law a freelance illustrator based at Roco, currently my team is purely just me and I've worked solo for the past 8 years creating murals and artworks for various clients in Sheffield and around the world. I've doodled murals for Tumblr in New York, Disney in Los Angeles and Facebook in London to name a few and I still take on local projects and run my own Doodle Club event once a month in Sheffield.
• Describe your brand in a sentence...
My brand of art work is fun, colourful and based on drawing, street art, Japanese visual culture and video games.
• How did you get to where you are now?
I got here with a lot of persistence, experimentation and a bit of luck too! After studying Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent I decided to work part time back home and concentrate on my development as an illustrator, I dived into t-shirt design, painting, lots of drawing in sketch books and on larger scaled paper. Over time I always developed new skills and new ways of drawing using paint markers, software and merging the two so I could create digital artworks for the right clients quickly to intense deadlines.
"Sheffield played a big part in helping me network and dive into the creative scene, at the time there were people setting up interesting art and drink nights as well interesting exhibitions with local artists."
Finding myself in this scene I was inspired by the people around me and aspired to push myself and my work further a field and thankfully every mistake and success I've had has brought me here.
• What makes you different?
I'm not too sure what makes me different other than in style, I have very like minded conversations with other artists and illustrators around me but I tend to find all creatives bounce off each other in some shape or form. Visually my art style is derived from creating characters and doodling, a lot of my work is commissioned on this basis as well as the colour palettes and the ideas I can bring to certain pieces when it comes to editorial commissions and large scale murals.
In regards to how I approach the murals I don't tend to use pencils or plan them too much as I find doodling the mural using minimal line and colour works for me in terms of speed and flow. I suppose that's probably what makes me different to most illustrators that I don't plan pieces with as much meticulous detail and I try not to over think things as much as I did as when I was younger.
• What's the most interesting project you've worked on so far...
So far in my career I've been lucky to have doodled murals in great places but I'd say my recent jaunt at the Disney Animation Studios in Burbank California was the most fun and educating. I was invited by the Technology Department who develop software for rendering the animated movies to create a mural in their new office space which had a bare 36 meter wall acting as a thorough way. On top of the commission they covered my flights and hotel but they also took me around the Disney Animation Research Library, an incredible archive of all things Disney, from the original animation cells from Snow White to sculpted models used as reference for The Lion King. I got a great tour of work spaces and met some great people, it really opened my eyes to how I soaked up these stories and films as a child and up to now, I've been referencing the art styles in my work without really realising it.
The mural took me 4 days to complete and I managed to doodle over 36 meters in length, probably my longest mural piece to date and it all had to be improvised as people would be given the opportunity to throw new ideas and easter egg stories at me to add into the artwork as I went along. Sounds crazy but I actually enjoyed the tight deadline and ad hoc nature of piecing the work together, I don't like to shy away from a challenge so I found this one the most interesting so far.
• What's exciting you most at the moment in your sector?
I'd say when you get enquiries from big/ dream clients that's always a buzz. I'm currently represented by an illustration agency in New York who bag interesting projects for me, so whenever they come a knocking via email or WhatsApp I get quite excited.
• Have you got anything exciting coming up you would like to tell us about?
At the moment I'm working on a couple of things that are yet to be released and sadly can't talk about. All I can say is that they're fun little cards I've designed for a very big client in the US. Other than that I've been running my monthly event, Doodle Club which is hosted at Roco (very convenient) and I'm looking forward to working on some personal projects, namely my own comic book and working on a vinyl toy too.
• What's your favourite thing about being based at Roco?
I like the location and atmosphere in Roco, I'm currently sharing a studio space with Sheffield design agency, Lyon & Lyon so we have a lot of banter and chats in-between getting stuck into harsh deadlines and occasional annoying email! I like popping down stairs to work in the cafe as the setting and crowd is really nice, casual and work orientated too. Having access to the shop where I can pick up interesting home ware and books is useful for those last minute birthday presents and gifts!
• What advice would you give to someone starting their own creative business?
My advice would be to use your logic and desire to drive forward your idea. Embrace the mistakes that happen and learn to work on your feet as mishaps can happen, no matter how much planning you put into it. It helps to feel passionate about what you want to achieve and to let your work speak for itself.
• What magazines/blogs do you read?
• Who are the influencers in your sector / who do admire on social media?
• Are there any hashtags you use/follow?
How can people follow and get in touch with you?
• Your website www.getaloadageo.co.uk
• Social media infos
Doodle Club @doodleclubsheff
Thanks Geo! Want to join Geo and base your creative business here at Roco, just drop us a line and we can arrange for a tour.