Greg Becker is a professional illustrator who lives in the United Kingdom, London. After spending far too many years at various art colleges he finally emerged into the world of commercial art completely unprepared. However, after his first daughter was born Greg decided to get his act together and somehow began forging a career as an illustrator, initially doing editorial work then on to publishing. It was a pleasure for us to take an interview with Greg Becker and we wish you a pleasant reading and viewing of Greg Becker illustrations.
AP: Greg, we are happy to see you at AstrumPeople and we hope you will enjoy answering our questions we’ve prepared for you. Could you please tell me what got you started?
Greg: In my first year at art school I saw the work of Raymond Briggs which helped push me towards illustration. Until then I wanted to be a painter and before that a scientist, that is after I’d given up on the idea of being a footballer, or was it the other way round?
AP: Ha-ha, yes, when we are young we all go through such experience like this. Do you have any formal education in fine arts or were you self-taught?
Greg: I’m very art qualified with a BA (hons) graphic design and an MA illustration from the RCA. But in art, qualifications are a bit meaningless and I would swap them any day for a high score in a spelling contest (this is easy for me to say, because it’s so unlikely).
AP: And could you please tell me what genre your illustrations are?
Greg: Some of my illustrations are more contemplative than others, but mostly I intend them to be humorous with distinctly nostalgic feel. I am always inspired by old photographs or illustrations, especially from the Edwardian, Victorian, Georgian and medieval eras.
AP: And how would you describe your works? Can they be characterized as unique or unusual?
Greg: Of course I’d like to think my work is distinctive and am always disappointed when people say they have seen one of my illustrations somewhere which then turns out to have been by someone else! But building distinctiveness into your work can be about more than style and execution; it can also be about content. Also any artists’ unique qualities are much more obvious when their work is viewed as a series for example in a book, blog or one man exhibition.
AP: We know you have published a book recently. It is really amazing. I think it would be very useful for children and not only. How did you come up with idea about ‘An Illustrated Allotment Diary’?
Greg: Perhaps that’s why I started my allotment diary as it seemed an obvious subject for me create a series of very personal images around. Everything was in place – lots of wonderful varied imagery, a separate little world, wildlife, the elements and seasons and a limitless scope for humorous and imaginative scenarios.
AP: Greg, what kind of equipment and techniques do you use to draw your illustrations?
Greg: The first diary pictures were in coloured pencil and quite finished. These worked well but were time consuming and I started to like the idea of being more spontaneous and sometimes responding to visitors’ comments with a quick ink drawing. After all one of the great things about blogs is their interactiveness.
AP: What is your dream project?
Greg: I’ve really enjoyed publishing my ‘An Illustrated Allotment Alphabet‘ and another book called ‘Sporting Feats’ based on a series of card designs on the theme of Edwardian sporting pursuits. It would be wonderful if any of my personal book projects could find a publisher or a patron.
AP: We are sure, they would and we wish you good luck! By the way, what is the formula for success in your activity?
Greg: It’s important that you are really focused on whatever you’re doing, but also to be self-critical and open to trying new things. Diversions can lead to interesting places even if they eventually come back to where you started.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Greg: My wife is a painter, so there is a fair bit of common ground between us, in fact recently we realised there was, literally speaking too much common ground as we were sharing a home studio space. Thankfully we now have our own studios and it feels a lot more…professional.
AP: Could you give any piece of advice for those who try to discover their talent and cultivate it?
Greg: It’s hard to give general advice because everyone is different. Some will not realise abilities they have until quite late in life while others are driven from an early age. But I think it’s fair to mention that trying to survive financially as an artist, illustrator, musician, writer, actor etc. can be an awesomely difficult and challenging business.
Greg, thank you for giving us an interview and sharing such interesting story. We are sure your readers will enjoy it much. We would like to wish you continued success, inspiration and many great ideas. To learn more about Greg Becker illustrations feel free to visit his personal blog. If you are interested in buying Greg’s book please visit his Blurb page.