Sound Stories #010 – On Being a Freelance Illustrator

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    Finding confidence in your craft, setting your work apart, and battling professional loneliness are all par for the course for those who travel the freelance path.
    Learn how award-winning illustrator and animator Antony Hare made the transition from big city art director to self-employment – and all of the challenges that he’s had to overcome, such as differentiating his work, pitching to publishers and building his professional network.
    View Antony’s work here.

    TRANSCRIPTION SOUND STORIES #010

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Hi there, and welcome to another episode of Sound Stories, an inspirational podcast for creative professionals and storytellers who want to improve their lives at home and at work. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli, your host and co-founder of Voices.com. Antony Hare is a professional illustrator and animator who has created compelling visuals for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. Welcome, Antony.

    Antony Hare:

    Thank you for having me, Stephanie.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Your work is tremendous.

    Antony Hare:

    Thank you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    You’ve done a lot of brilliant pieces. Obviously, people will recognize them if they’ve seen them. I did drop a few names of big publications, so if any of you read them, then you’ll definitely know Antony’s work. But given that this is an audio medium, could you tell us more about your style and how that might come across to someone?

    Antony Hare:

    Sure. As a boy growing up, I was just very attracted to line work, any kind of drawing that had very simple and clean lines. I just thought there was something really beautiful about it and I always did like to draw. But I don’t think I really knew how to draw for the longest time. I just doodled. Then when it came down to taking it a little more seriously, it was that early line work that I had absorbed into my brain that I just had as a language, I guess, and I just knew how to use line to convey emotion. At the beginning, it was quite rough and I wasn’t that good at it, but I had a sense that line was where I could do my best work. The early days were rough in the sense that I was able to achieve a certain kind of effect through the drawing, but I really wasn’t confident as an illustrator and I really wasn’t able to draw.

    Antony Hare:

    Drawing is this basic skill that you can use in graphic design or anything, and it’s really seeing with your hands. What happens is when a lot of kids draw and when people stop drawing is what they’re drawing is symbols. They draw happy faces or sun in the sky, but they’re not really using the pencil or crayons to represent what they’re seeing, and so that’s what took so long. In those early days, I looked back and the work was not that good. So that’s all I’m trying to say, is that it’s very nice to see the improvement too.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Well, we all start somewhere, right?

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    For you is with the lines and so on, but obviously you’ve come a long way as we all have in our careers, and in so much so that The New Yorker is taking note, and obviously hiring you to do this work. So how is it that you would get in front of these people to first get a commission from someone like that?

    Antony Hare:

    Well, when I was first looking at jumping into freelance illustration, I had a sense that my work would fit into a newspaper editorial contexts. So I went down to The Globe, and Mail and I had a little meeting with the illustrator there. His name is Antony Jenkins, and I just showed him my portfolio. I just wanted to get a sense for what he thought, and he just gave me a very general but helpful advice about where to just shop my work around. That’s really how it works in editorial illustration. It’s an unregulated industry, there are no … there’s no requirement to have representation.

    Antony Hare:

    I literally just sent my work in the form of postcards to anyone and everyone I thought might be a fit. Sometimes that’s a stretch and sometimes it’s not, and in the case of The New Yorker, I don’t actually know how it all came to be. I did look up that I sent them a postcard in 2000, and I’m not sure how often I kept in touch. But then I got my first job from them in 2009. So it’s really hard to say if they saw my work in another publication or if it was that initial introduction or both.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Well, that’s really interesting because a lot of us don’t know sometimes where our work comes from as an artist because someone may see you as you said in some other publication, or maybe it just takes so many impressions, they remember you. But until they really, really remember you and can think of, “Yeah, and I think I can use Antony’s artwork here,” then they’re not necessarily going to say, “Antony, here’s a check.”

    Antony Hare:

    Right, right.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Who should I make this out to, right?

    Antony Hare:

    Right.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    That being said, obviously it takes a lot to build up a business and to get a clientele, but it also equally is important to differentiate yourself from others. So how have you put a hedge around your style so that others can not easily imitate it?

    Antony Hare:

    That’s a great question. When you’re younger, as an artist, you’re very concerned with style. It’s something that is like the equivalent of trying to figure out your life in your 20s. It doesn’t come as a choice. So for me, something I read or something I heard or things I picked up led me to believe that if I just kept focusing on the work and developing the work and treating the work with a certain amount of respect, that there would be a kind of a natural style that emerged, and what would it be? Will it be me and my voice?

    Antony Hare:

    That is exactly what happened. I don’t know if that’s everyone’s story, but I think that for me it was definitely about drilling down. Then when I did that, I started to see just naturally where I was leaning, and then you try on different hats and you push the boundaries and then you say, “Okay, now pull back.” Then eventually, it becomes this mishmash of the tools you use, the way you work, the type of clients you have and mere habit.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    You definitely have to have a variety of things that are working together. As you said, a dedication to what you’re doing, understanding who you are and a lot of that kind of authenticity that you yourself can only bring to something that you create. So I think that’s like a signature look, a sound even, for people in our industry. It’s like, “Well, so and so can sound just like so and so.” But it’s like, “Well, they can sound like them, as in they’re imitating the instrument, but it’s a whole other level understanding what the motivation is behind what someone’s work reflects.”

    Antony Hare:

    That’s right. I mean, unfortunately there are pitfalls that any artists can fall into, and one of them is a kind of inability to speak authentically. Now, I’m not saying my art is true or anything like that. What I’m saying is that thinking about, almost in a second nature kind of way, connections about line and shape and what I think looks good, but I’m not really thinking like, “Oh, it needs to be like this.” That’s like top down versus bottom up. Yeah, there are illustrators and artists that are known to be like certain other artists, and I think that’s okay if it’s a natural development. But I think if you’re calculating it, unfortunately I think it can be just seen as unwieldily somehow and maybe not the best value either, because I think, yeah, the authentic voice no matter what the form is going to be more valuable.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    That will set you apart, right? That’s probably why they’re like, “After nine years we’re going to take them on,” right? They’ve seen all these others and-

    Sure.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    … they’re like, “No one can be Antony Hare,” or whoever it is that is catching their eye. They have something that someone else doesn’t.

    Antony Hare:

    Definitely it’s the idea that they can see the signature look, and I think if my work is recognized without my signature, to me that’s success, and I have done that. That’s probably the strongest marketing that I have in a way, because then when people do hire me, it’s not so much that they’re looking for me to do this thing. It’s that they can look at my portfolio and say, “Oh, can you do that for us?” Then it just becomes this very natural relationship where everyone knows what they want.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Well, that’s an excellent segue to my next question. Thank you. I like that. Obviously, a lot of the people listening are not artists, they’re not working in the world of vector images and so on. They’re thinking, “I like that. I want someone to make that for me.” So could you describe how the process works once you’ve been commissioned to create a piece and what the ideal scenario for art direction is for you coming from a client?

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah, so I like to look for a client that is knowledgeable and professional. It always makes me feel better when that person works for a company that I’ve heard of. Now, that’s unfair in some ways, because I’m not a company that people have heard of. But if someone is working for a magazine and they have a job, then they know how to deal with illustrators as part of their job, and so that makes my job easier, and that means they give me an assignment. Usually it’s an initial email to ask if I’m interested. The details are the size, the placement, what the article will be that will accompany it and the overall idea, and then there’s a small discussion.

    Antony Hare:

    Then I typically provide pencil sketches, and then I provide a progress update after pencils and then finals. It’s pretty simple. What’s good about that is that in the initial stage when they are commissioning me, if they’ve never worked with me before, they probably haven’t seen my pencils. So what I like to do is I send an example of my pencil work and the final that followed and then they can easily see what my pencils look like when they’re done.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yes, and I have actually been on your website and I have observed the difference between your pencils and then the actual work that you’re doing for the final product, and it is very different. You do have to set people up for that. What element in your creative process, I guess, is like … How does that pencil sketch translate into what we see afterwards?

    Antony Hare:

    Well, there’s two ways I can answer that, and one is just to explain my literal process in terms of the software I use. So I have these pencils that I either take a photo of or scan, I throw them into Adobe Illustrator, I reduce the opacity of that layer and then I just start a new layer on top and I trace. That’s either something like I’ve got a very tight pencil that I’m working against or it’s something like a thumbnail or it just shows me I want a body here and a head there and hand here. I’ve got annotated notes and arrows everywhere. So really it ranges from basically visual note-taking to almost a finished drawing that I’m then just making final, and that process is very enjoyable. It’s like a blueprint, I like to call it. It sets me up, it gives me my composition, it gives me my direction. What it doesn’t give is likeness.

    Antony Hare:

    So if I’m doing a portrait of somebody and I do the pencil, I try to achieve likeness, but often the likeness of the finished illustration and the likeness of the portrait, it’s somehow different. It’s better to convey what I just said, which is composition, overall direction and things like a dress and costume like change the bow tie to a tie. It’s an easy thing to do when it’s in the pencil form. The more conceptual thing is like I said, it’s just a way for me to rehearse the drawing, and then my anxiety levels about the assignment go way down because it’s an easy first step. A pencil and paper, done. Then already I feel like I’m halfway there, because the next process is a little bit more technical, a little bit more like I can set up my canvas and just my brain can quiet down a little bit and I’m just getting things ready. Then I can just relaxingly ink. Yeah, the process is not just one for the client and the relationship, but also for me.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yeah. I like what you said there because it really is a journey you’re going on together with your client, and for you to be able to draw, even if it is just the pencils phase where you’re sketching out your ideas and getting that composition, you have to know where you’re all going and to make sure that you’re going there together, right?

    Antony Hare:

    Absolutely.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    What sort of questions do you end up asking people when you go to create something for them?

    Antony Hare:

    That’s a great question. I ask what pieces for my portfolio do you especially like, I like to ask where they’ve seen me before. That is a question that I don’t always ask, I should say. I do sometimes ask it. I’ll just segue a little bit into that because what I don’t like to do in the beginning of the relationship is muddy the waters of the conversation with too many other things like my marketing. So if it’s about the job, I like to ask what they like about my portfolio only because that’ll give me an indication of where I can go in my head and what kind of variant of my style they’re looking at. Is it the food stuff? Is it the cartoony stuff? Is it my really detailed portrait work? So that’s a really good clue, especially since I have had to diversify.

    Antony Hare:

    It’s not just the same old headshots anymore. I have almost three different degrees of detail that I offer clients now. One is a very simplified version, one is a very a medium version and the one is like a portrait. Yeah, I like to ask that. I like to ask obviously things like the budget, the deadline and the history. So sometimes I’m jumping in on a job that someone else has had to abandon, or sometimes it’s been a long running column that they’re switching up, or maybe it’s a magazine redesign. All helpful.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    You really do draw in frames. When I say frames, when I’m trying to say everybody is it’s like there’s one picture, there’s not multiples. It’s not like a comic strip where you’ve got maybe 12 frames to tell a story. You literally have one image, one kind of headline or something for people to gravitate toward. So when you only have literally one little piece, or a big piece depending on the size, of real estate, how is it that you can communicate through imagery in a way that immediately just captures people’s interest?

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah, that’s a big question because I’m not sure. The reason I’m not sure is because there’s so many variables and I never know whether people “get it” or not. However, what I can say is that that’s where the trust comes in with my art director. So it’s my art director’s job really to make a compelling layout, a compelling piece, and that includes my illustration. So I don’t worry so much about communicating, even though I know that illustration is a communication medium. I definitely communicate, but I’m not worried about it. So in other words, I’ll give you a very good example. So I did a piece for a magazine called Foreign Policy, and the piece was an essay that touched on lots of different things.

    Antony Hare:

    Overall, it was about climate change and overall it was about this idea that even though Shakespeare was just a man who lives many, many, many years ago, his work, crazily as it sounds, does have a universal appeal. This was the thesis of the piece. So I was able to draw Shakespeare thinking about a bunch of things. In these thought bubbles, I’m able to put in like polar bears on ice caps and the stock exchange representation. So in a way, I get to cheat because I get to add lots of elements to one piece. There is a kind of … I borrow from comics a little bit, but I borrow from collage too, where I’m almost in my real estate art directing my own illustration. That might mean, oh, I draw a burger, but then I repeat that burger several times.

    Antony Hare:

    I think I get it … I have an easy way of communicating through my style because my style is kind of literal. I’m drawing objects, I’m drawing things. So yeah, but there might be a metaphor attached to those things, but that’s going to be driven home through the piece as well so it doesn’t have to live on its own. Again, I know other illustrators that say that your piece should stand on its own, and I guess these are all just ideals and aspirations. I like to think of every job as an assignment with another person, and so we’re working together and so it really isn’t in a void. As long as there’s trust there, then, between my drawing and the art director and the writer, there’s going to be some good communication going on, hopefully.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yes, and of course you’ve just mentioned there’s a little team, a little crew, right?

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    So there would be you as an artist, there’s the art director who’s kind of a everything under control, there’s a writer who’s composed a piece, they’ve written something great. That sounds like a little ensemble. Is that common in all the work that you do, that there’s a team of people collaborating or is that strictly in an editorial sense?

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah, there are some small variations to the team. The usual team with editorial is two. I don’t get to have any interaction with the writer and the piece has been commissioned and edited by somebody else. So it just comes in fixed and that’s actually a really good point. What I love is the fixed points, the things that are not going to change. So for example, the article or the copy. If that’s fixed and in stone, there’s something very good about that because we can use it as a starting point. Now, if the project is a little bit more complicated … I worked on these series of cups for Chipotle where Chipotle had hired an agency to facilitate this fairly big project, which involved many authors and many illustrators working on cups and bags.

    Antony Hare:

    In that one, you did get the sense that there were more people in the email. However, there’s really just one point of contact usually, and I really love that. When I feel like there’s a crazy circus and I’m being protected from it, that’s a good thing. When I feel like I’m not really speaking to my point of contact, they’re just a puppet for their boss or something like that, that’s a little more frustrating because then you’re getting notes from somebody else and there’s a bit of a noise that comes into that communication. So yeah, typically it’s a one on one with an editor and our director, and then again, when the project is more complicated, usually there’s some other people involved.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    I liked what you said about fixed points because for someone like me, it’s like, “Please give me structure, give me something that I know will not change. I have to work within these boundaries,” because creativity does thrive within boundaries-

    Antony Hare:

    Absolutely.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    … and it makes it a lot easier for you to tell the story that you’re telling through your pen or pencil or a computer design program. As you know, this is what we’re working with. This is it. It’s concrete, it’s real. What you had mentioned earlier about drawing more literal kind of imagery, and that does resonate with me as well too because I’m a very literal person. Some people may say gullible. But if you say something to me I’m going to take it at face value. I’m not thinking there’s anything behind that. So I do appreciate that about your style. You mentioned the hamburger, so I think that was Burger King, was it not?

    Antony Hare:

    That was the first time that I did a food illustration assignment for a real client. Yes. I’d drawn a burger just for my own portfolio, for my own work, and they said, “Can you make a Whopper look like the way you made that burger?” So that was a good example of doing the work you want to do and then getting the work you want to do.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    That seems like a common thread in your work as well that you do work for yourself, right? To inspire your creative juices but then someone will see it and be like, “Can you make that into a Whopper?” It’s like, “Of course I can. Just watch me,” right?

    Antony Hare:

    Exactly.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    It’s like ,yeah. You also have a background in philosophy. I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t mention that. So no doubt there’s a lot of depth that goes into the thinking, even if what you’re drawing is literal.

    Antony Hare:

    That’s right. Yeah, the philosophy program basically just teaches you how to learn about things. It’s not interested in any answers at all, It’s just interested in questions and understanding what those questions mean, and that’s a very powerful tool. So I use it all the time when somebody writes me an email and they say they want X, but I can tell they want Y, and it’s not because I’m playing some kind of psychological game. It’s just that when you’re on the inside of a craft, you can see stuff that you can’t see on the outside. So when someone says something from the outside, you just understand that what they’re saying is this other thing, and that’s very helpful.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yeah. To be able to translate, right?

    Antony Hare:

    That’s right.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    You’re taking one piece of information and because you’ve learned what it means to ask questions, Socratic or whatnot, you know that there are good ways to find out the information that you want and also ways to interpret what might be between the lines. So I just want to go back to the whole idea of inspiration though. You drew a hamburger, and obviously you … I don’t know. Were you hungry? What was at the root of that inspiration? How do you become inspired to draw something?

    Antony Hare:

    Okay, so there’s two motivations. The first motivation is practical. I was drawing people in portraits for years, and I still love doing that. But I felt like I was getting pigeonholed and known as just the headshot guy. I had a lot of business and I still do of interesting, “Here are the top 30 financial advisors in this region,” and little headshots of 30. Those are cool jobs to have because it’s a lot of work and it’s good practice and it’s meat and potatoes. But I was like, “I don’t want to just do that,” and so I started to-

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    yeah.

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah. I just wanted to see what I could … This of course ties the philosophy into it a little bit. I was like, “What am I doing here? Right? I’m representing people’s faces with black and white lines. Okay. It’s not the first time I knew it was doing that, it’s not the last time.” But then I do have these idiosyncratic things to my style and I started to think, “Well, what if I can just apply those to other things?” So I love cooking, so I thought food would be a natural thing, and food illustration is a huge thing. I guess I kept wondering why people weren’t hiring me for it, and then I looked at my portfolio and there’s no food on it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Ah, yes. Yes.

    Antony Hare:

    It really is this handholding that has to happen where you’re like, “See, I can do that,” and it really is … I shouldn’t have said it like that because it’s not even condescending. It’s more like people really do need things packaged and presented, and I understand that. I’ve understood that since I was writing essays in school, that the presentation of it matters and maybe it matters too much and that’s why I became an illustrator. But you can almost design your portfolio if you take it seriously by adding items that you think will help expand it, but at the same time people are like, “Oh, that burger looks like that portrait. It’s the same guy who did that,” and then you strengthen your brand.

    Antony Hare:

    So that’s the primary motivation. Then the secondary motivation is this thing that’s happened ever since I’ve turned 40 or late 30s, I guess. Just this idea that I want to introduce some fun to what I’m doing, and I don’t know how fun I was taking things. Like that burger I drew, I took pretty seriously and I don’t know. I wasn’t-

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yeah, but how did you … No judgment. I’m just wondering because if I were to draw a hamburger … I don’t know. I don’t know. I probably would have smiley face on it or something like that.

    Antony Hare:

    Sure.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    I don’t know. I’m sure. But I hear what you’re saying. You want to give your work a little bit of zest to it, or something that entertains you.

    Antony Hare:

    Well, I actually did add the happy face to the burger.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Did you really?

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah, so that’s my latest thing. I have this thing called Burgers and Fries, and it’s not really a franchise as such, but it’s like a collection of my work. It’s a series of character burgers with faces, fries with faces, and a whole many selection of … It’s just a fast food fiction idea. Yeah, it’s just fun and it’s-

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    It’s sounds like let’s all go to the drive-in and get ourselves a snack. That’s a good, get a little popcorn.

    Antony Hare:

    It’s similar to the idea of-

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Awesome.

    Antony Hare:

    … drawing instead of buying. I’m so sure you’ve seen these books and stuff where people are like, “Don’t buy dresses for a year.” They draw them or draw your wardrobe instead of … It’s just idea of why not just build some assets too? So I like animation, I like that look, like having fun with this stuff. Yeah, that’s what the inspiration is. It’s weird. It’s just it comes naturally.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Is it because you’re exposing yourself to different things though? I’m just thinking about what you said about creating almost a cast of characters that you can say, “I’m going to use my hamburger for this purpose in this instance,” and you can always go back to the hamburger because you know what it’s elements are, what goes into it, when you may or may not use it and the appeal it might have. So is it more that you’ve already built up your cast of characters that you just say, “Okay, well, this feels like it calls for the French fry today,” or you’re just picking things up wherever you happen to go because you’re just so observant?

    Antony Hare:

    One of the things I was always interested in outside of my business was building up brands for no reason at all.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Oh wow. That’s a neat hobby.

    Antony Hare:

    I always liked logos as a kid, and I guess that’s pretty common. But in my 20s and 30s I bought something 20 domain names, and they each had a brand, they each had a thing, they each had a mission statement and a kind of a style guideline. I was almost just practicing because I felt like when I was working in ad agencies, I was using those skills, but helping somebody else way more than me. I just thought, “What if I just turned those skills inside?” And not necessarily to launch businesses, but just for the art of it. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s the fun for me.

    Antony Hare:

    So I built this Burgers and Fries thing more as a way to show, I guess, creative professionals that I’m interested in iteration, I’m interested in branding, I can do it. If there were this fictional restaurant that was real, this would be the branding for it. Do you know? It’s right there. The menu would take me a day to do. I’ve got all the assets. So it’s more just a weird obsession or of branding and the art of it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    But what you’re doing is you’re creating order. It’s almost like a little world exists within each brand, and you as the artist or the director of this place, the CEO or the mayor or whatever you want to call yourself-

    Antony Hare:

    Totally. Totally. All apply.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    … this brand that you made up. You really can have a lot of creative freedom and control in the same environment, and to know that that sort of activity helped to feed you as an artist is great because we can all do this. Everyone can go into their own little world that they’ve created, whether it’s a language. For some people it’s a linguistic thing, like in Lord of The Rings with the Elvin languages and whatever else, right?

    Antony Hare:

    Sure.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    That could be a hobby for someone-

    Antony Hare:

    Absolutely.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    … and they become inspired or creative through that activity. It must be very exciting to be able to say, “This is whatever it is, and within this realm I have complete control. I can make something come to life really.” Then when people see you doing that on your own, just for your sheer amusement it seems. But that does really feed you, that makes you a better artist.

    Antony Hare:

    That does, and it’s back to what you were saying earlier about structure. So when it comes from without and the form of an assignment, that’s wonderful. I need to pay for shelter and food. If it’s coming from within, it’s still the same principle. So I just set up the fence and that doesn’t take very long. I just decide I’m not going to do this, I will do that. Little tricks and what will these assets contain, and then, yeah, it’s a pleasure to populate it. But it’s that same dynamic of feeling comfortable within a structure, and it’s also the idea of being creative within limitation.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yes. Why is it that people might opt to have imagery over some other form of communicating their message? Like photography or video. Why would they choose something like what you create?

    Antony Hare:

    A common answer for using illustration over photography is a chance to achieve a little more universal or abstract a message. So the beautiful thing about photography is that it is a painting with light. The bad thing is that it is that, and so if you want to transcend that, then illustration is typically sought after, and that’s any kind. Like I said, like mixed media collage or painterly or anything. My style is one of thousands. But they all achieve that slight jump of abstraction, even in the case of a headshot.

    Antony Hare:

    You get 30 top financial advisors in Baltimore, then they could do photography headshots, and maybe it’s a question of economics, maybe it’s a question of quality, but they know that if they assign it to me, it’s not going to be burdened by the tie that person wore that day, or the hair they had that day. I’m cleaning them up. Yeah, it’s not photo realistic. It is a representation. So as long as the person and the messages fine with the abstraction happening, then they will opt for illustration.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Something else I wanted to ask you, and just because your art does remind me a little bit of Alfred Hitchcock’s work and I know how he would enjoy inserting himself, have a cameo here and there in his roles, in fact probably all of the films that he created. Do you do similar things? Are you Antony Hare hiding in one of your images?

    Antony Hare:

    I have played around with stuff like that for sure, and the nice thing about line drawing and my style is that I can insert objects and things and faces. I guess I just go through phases. I used to include certain types of characters in the background, I’d hide my signature sometimes as opposed to showing it. I would not have my signature. I’ve played around with lots of different things like that. It’s fun to leave little Easter eggs for people to find.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    So staying inspired can be a full time job, but I mean you have a full time job. You’re an entrepreneur, you have your own business. What are the challenges that you find in not only staying inspired but just keep going?

    Antony Hare:

    Right. It is not easy, and I’m only saying it that way because I did think earlier that it would be. It’s like this idea of a reckoning, and the reckoning is insecure income. It’s just not knowing where the money’s coming from. It’s just as real as that. I never thought that that would be such a big deal, because I can look back and say, “Well, I do all these things year after year,” but you’re living your life forward, not backward. Something Kierkegaard said. So this idea is that it’s just hard to know that you don’t know what’s going to happen. I started off thinking that I would want to be a freelancer after I was laid off for the first time. When I was very young, the office closed.

    Antony Hare:

    It was a big deal, and so I started thinking, “Well, what can I do to build up my loyalty to employers?” It was this idea of diversifying my offering so that I could always be employed. So if one of my clients goes down, I’ll get another, so that’s good. But I have 20 clients and so I need all of them to be paying me for this thing to work. That’s the big one. Then the second one is working alone. I never thought that I would experience professional loneliness. I don’t have social loneliness, so I didn’t think that it would happen in my professional life, and it did straight up. I felt weird as a professional, I would be less interested in going to industry events for a while there because I felt I was just becoming weird. So I had to change stuff on that front. Yeah, those are the two big ones. Insecure income and literally working alone.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yeah, and a lot of people who are creative professionals working from home or freelance, you are usually alone, and so I’m pretty sure anyone listening can identify with that. Whether it’s you’re the sole creative in an entire company full of people who are not doing that sort of work, or if it’s that you’re literally alone, you’re working from a studio somewhere, and that that’s hard. Also, just not knowing where that next job will come from or if that client is going to fall through or go somewhere else, that can be hard. But obviously, you’ve come so far as anyone here has who’s listening and has a client base. So I want to congratulate you on that, but I also want to thank you for inspiring everyone with how to get over those hurdles.

    Antony Hare:

    Well, the strategies that you need are more than the strategies you need for marketing and developing your craft. That to me is the surprise. I definitely thought that it was all about 10,000 hours and dedication to the craft and focus and then everything else would trickle. I now realize that you need real strategies for the insecure income. For me, that’s a diversification, always trying new things, getting into things like animation when no one was hiring me for animation. This is growth strategy, right? Then for the loneliness, yeah, it’s just about getting out there, and so that’s what I had to do. I went to my first illustration conference this past summer, and slowly but surely getting out there again and basically taking what you’ve said seriously, which is that it’s not just me.

    Antony Hare:

    Lots of people can relate to that even when you’re working with other people, and that’s something I forget all the time. But I know exactly what you mean. When you’re the only one person doing something and that you’re surrounded by … that’s almost worse. Part of my professional loneliness was caused by how much I love to be working alone, and it is a job hazard. I guess cartoonists are even more this way where they really just work alone. I love it and I love the control that I have in my little pen, but it’s just something to keep in mind that you can’t starve yourself-

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    No.

    Antony Hare:

    … from relationships and you can’t starve yourself from that professional network.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    No. Even if there is a whole world going on in your head, which I’ve read a lot about introversion and just the delights that one might have the others know nothing about. I’m an extrovert and my world is the outside. That’s more of what I consider to be the real world for me, and going inside is not as much fun, let’s say. It doesn’t energize me. But yeah, I’m really glad you shared that because a lot of people are working in isolation and they might actually really like it.

    Antony Hare:

    Absolutely.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    It does energize them but there is that danger of becoming too closed off from everyone else.

    Antony Hare:

    Exactly. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Before we go, I also wanted to just talk about branding, and I know this is a special to you. Obviously, you enjoy creating brands and even inhabiting them. So when it comes to other ways of marketing yourself perhaps, how is it that you’ve made your branding packaged for others to consume?

    Antony Hare:

    I came from a graphic design art direction background and I do have an affinity for word marks and logos and branding as we talked about. One of the reasons why I didn’t want to do that as my main trade was because I wanted people to come to me knowing what they were going to get in the form of something a little bit more concrete, like an illustration and a style that I could develop over years. Having said that, I felt like I needed more than just the work. So I set about creating a very basic symbol that I could use in any way I wanted. It didn’t literally … and this is where I take some creative license. So where my work is normally literal, I took my branding a little bit more conceptual and I thought this isn’t so critical that people can recognize what this teardrop is.

    Antony Hare:

    It’s more critical that when they associate that teardrop with me having worked with me, it becomes a comforting extra power. So it’s this idea that not all brands are the same. So what it is for me is the special relationship I have with my art director when it’s over and then they get my invoice or they see my logo or whatever it is, they’re just feeling good about having dealt with me. So what does that mean? Well, I borrowed from very professional firms. Because I’m dealing in art, I thought it would be great to run an art business like it was an accountancy firm or like an ad agency or something like that. So this idea of professional creativity, and so that’s why my logo type and my symbol are so serious, I guess you could say.

    Antony Hare:

    My feeling isn’t happy and friendly, it’s clean and elegant. So I’ve taken my clean and elegant and I’ve gone all the way and I’ve just carved out this super basic shape that basically represents my style if it were like a drop, and it’s like this distillation that goes on. Then I think because that happened for me as a distillation, for someone who’s going to absorb it, it’s going to be more like an opening up like, “Oh, I see it now.” It’s not going to hit them over the head because it doesn’t have to.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    I love simple branding. I do. I must agree.

    Antony Hare:

    That’s so simple an answer but-

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    No. Well, sometimes it takes a little while to get to where we want to go, right?

    Antony Hare:

    Yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    And to explain the nuance and what’s involved. I liked the distillation, just this is what it is as its very essence, its core is that’s what a brand should be. It should be immediately recognizable.

    Antony Hare:

    Well, unfortunately or fortunately, you notice things about your output. So whether you’re a musician or an artist, there are these things and they’re like the building blocks. For me, they’re white lines, black lines and basic shapes, and then this idea of curvature and graphic black. So I just literally put all of those things into a shape. So it actually embodies not just from a stylistic point of view, but it literally just has those … It’s like showing just the Lego pieces, that’s all that it is. Every drawing I’ve ever done includes just these elements, and I think that’s pretty cool.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    So do I, and I hope all of you listening do as well. Well, thank you so much for coming in, Antony.

    Antony Hare:

    You’re welcome, Stephanie.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    It was such a pleasure to meet you today.

    Antony Hare:

    It was pleasure meeting you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Now, if anyone would like to know more about your work and to see all this wonderful art that we’ve been talking about, where should they go?

    Antony Hare:

    Well, I want to say that not all of my work is wonderful and a lot of it, it’s hard to look at and that’s something that all artists have to deal with. But I am proud of my work in the main, and you just have to Google my name. I’ve been online for more than half of my life, so all that stuff’s up there.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    That’s awesome. For those of you who are uncertain of the spelling, it is Antony, without an H.

    Antony Hare:

    Correct.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Antony, and Hare is H-A-R-E.

    Antony Hare:

    Correct.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Awesome. Okay, well, thank you so much, Antony. Hopefully we’ll talk to you again soon.

    Antony Hare:

    Thanks again.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Thank you for tuning in, and if you haven’t already done so, I’d like to invite you to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes as well as give us a rating. I love hearing from you and gathering your feedback. Once again, I’m your host, Stephanie Ciccarelli, and I hope you can join us for our next Sound Stories Podcast.

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