Last week I posted about illustrator Paolo Lim winning an award for a set of portraits he’d done for Ink’s Fah Thai magazine. Paolo’s an Ink regular who has in the past contributed not just to Fah Thai, but also Scoot, Thomas Cook Travel and Cruise, bSpirit and bThere. I thought I’d follow up by asking Paolo a few questions in the first of what I hope will be a regular madewithink Q&A spot.
Originally from Manila, Paolo now lives and works in Adelaide, South Australia. You can check out more of his work here.
What was your first paid commission?
I can’t remember the very first, but shortly after college I joined a group of artists and illustrators in the Philippines called Ang InK, which is dedicated to children’s illustration. From connections I made there, I got to do a number of illustrations for Junior Inquirer, a weekly supplement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper, which features stories and poetry for or by kids.
Who or what have been your main inspirations?
Music is definitely a huge inspiration, but also books, movies, TV, other people’s work on the internet and in real life; the city, getting out of the city… Childhood has also always been a big thing for me. I owe a lot to the kind of pictures and design I was exposed to as a kid. I loved (and still love) looking at picture books, maps, exploded diagrams, encyclopaedias… There’s a certain nostalgia that inspires my work, of trying to hold on to that time. As cliched as it sounds, now that I have a child of my own, seeing things through him has definitely changed how I look at what I do.
If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?
I love making music and playing the drums – though some might argue that those are unrelated things. Except I have fewer delusions about my musical abilities (or inabilities) than my artistic ones.
What’s been your favourite commission?
I love creating artwork for friends’ bands back home in the Philippines. I was in a band for a few years and made a lot of good friends on the local scene, so being able to continue to contribute to it even though I’ve now moved away is a big deal for me.
What’s your dream commission?
I don’t really have any specific dreams but I would love to work on more music-related projects. To be part of an in-house team creating all the artwork for a great record company, like Reid Miles did for Blue Note records in the 1950s and 60s, that would be amazing.
What would your advice be to anyone who wants to become a freelance illustrator?
One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with and am having to learn the hard way, is that you can’t sit around waiting for big ideas to happen. There’s a Picasso quote that says it best: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”.
TOP TO BOTTOM: Time Warp for Gourmet Traveller WINE; cover for Scoot magazine by Ink; illustration for Adelaide magazine; cover for Fah Thai by Ink; LA map for Condé Nast Traveller; illustration for Real Living; art for ‘The First Album’ by Corporate Lo-Fi; art for the debut album ‘We Specialise in Cages’ by Helen; illustration for Gourmet Traveller WINE. (Posted by AndrewH)