12 Questions With Dan Mumford
As a lifelong fan of poster and t-shirt art, I’m always on the lookout for new illustrators who work primarily in the music industry. Their range of interests and influences usually span a much broader range than fine artists or even comic book creators. I was blown away by Dan Mumford’s work as soon as I was introduced to it last year. Dan’s work has a timeless quality to it. There’s clearly inspiration drawn from the 1920’s, 70’s and yet his work still feels cutting edge.
Check out his Myspace page and his website
Onto the goods.
First professional work (piece / year) and a quick story behind it.
I guess the actual first professional piece would be the covers I did for two bands I was in about 5 or 6 years ago, Incoherence and Neverthemore. However that was more for myself and not really a client, so the first client based piece of work would have been for the original Gallows ‘Orchestra of Wolves Cover’ back in 2006. I worked on that with Alex Curtis from Thr33 design, neither of us got paid for it, but after the album did so well we obviously both got a lot of work out of it, including me getting to redo the album when it was re-released on Warners.
Are you self-taught or formally educated? (or mixture of both, mentors etc…)
I would say in the style I now work I am self educated, I went to University in Brighton to study illustration, but they didn’t really teach us how to work, more the ideas and concepts behind things, not the style.
Tools of the trade: Taking a quick glance over at your pens, brushes etc…what tools have you mainly been using over the last few years?
Well I used to do everything by pen and pencil followed by scanning in and playing around in Photoshop. Nowadays I do a lot completely in Photoshop, its a lot quicker and easier when I make mistakes, and as long as I can create my work in the same style then I’m happy with that.
Favorite brand of ink:
Well, when it comes to creating work. I don’t have a favourite. But when it comes to screen-printing, Speedball ink!
Type of paper:
Again, no favourite. For screen-printing I use GF smith paper a lot though.
Which artists or creators do you return to for a quick boost of inspiration? Who are the masters of ink?
Ahhh, well I have always thought Alfonse Mucha was pretty much a master, I absolutely adore the way he depicts the female form and his soft yet bold look. Frank Miller definitely as well, his use of black line is amazing. I have always been inspired by comic books of any sort from a young age, so I have a huge collection of graphic novels and the like that give me ideas! Apart from that I draw a lot from music and Cinema, basically anything that moves me generally gives me ideas and inspiration.
Once a client has handed off an illustration job to you, how do you first tackle the job? Could you give us a quick overview of your process?
Generally we throw ideas backwards and forwards, I draw some sketches up and we decide on the route that the project should take, generally there’s at least a week or two of solidifying an idea. I don’t like to work on anything until the client knows what to expect, otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of time. Following the decision on where the project should go ill start drawing stuff up and keep the client updated throughout the process all the way to the finished product.
What’s currently sitting in your mp3 / CD player / turntable?
Hmm, well I purchase far too much music, I guess right now I’m listening to the new Opeth album, Century ‘Black Ocean’, Porcupine Tree ‘Nil Recurring’, Veil Of Maya ‘The Common Mans Collapse’…and lots lots more, basically anything with excellent guitar work, shredding, solos and the such.
What’s hanging on your walls and what is your favorite piece of art that you own (not created by you)?
I actually don’t hang a lot on my walls at home, I keep them pretty bare so that being at home can be a release from work, that and I just moved so I haven’t got too comfortable yet in my room..but I do have a nice print by Tara Mcpherson up right now, that’s probably my favourite piece, her work always features these amazing women, and its a great screen-print from a Melvins show. In my studio I have a few bits here and there from various CDs with covers I like, to pieces of my work that I feel are my better ones, so that I can see the sort of line work I used on them etc, for comparison while I’m working basically! I also have a huge pile of old comic books my girlfriend got me that I’m working my way through, Marvel ones from the 80’s, amazing to look through.
Last novel you read and last movie that you saw (that you’d recommend)
Last Novel was probably number9dream, and that was a year or so ago, me and books have an on/off relationship it would seem, in fact that wasn’t the last book I read, but its definitely the last one to leave an impression. Very surreal narrative that goes all over the place and switches perspective all the time, really mind-bending at times, that was by David Mitchell, all his books are great. Last film I saw I’d recommend, haha..probably Ironman, I really enjoyed that! Hopefully the start of a beautiful franchise, I’m a real sucker for comic book films, its like bringing my childhood to life, so the last 8 years or so of adaptations have been great, I even like the bad ones like fantastic four and the hulk. Not in the cinema the last film I saw on DVD id recommend would be ‘The Devils Backbone’ but Guillermo Del Toro, before he did Hellboy or Pans Labyrinth, its the spiritual predecessor to that so its very interesting to watch.
Current and upcoming projects.
Currently doing the artwork for the new Evil Nine album ‘They Live’, along with three singles and campaign artwork. That’s fun as they aren’t really my usual client, they’re more dance/electro than anything, so that’s fun to be working on. Aside from that a lot of apparel for bands and various bits of merch work, lots to keep me busy!
What would you tell an aspiring artist who is working his ass off but still needs and wants to break through to the next level?
Keep going, its not easy, and a lot of people give up..but even if you have to work in your spare time whilst working a crappy job somewhere else, keep doing it and take any opportunity to get your artwork out there, work for free if you have to, nearly all exposure is good exposure, and eventually if you work at it and you’re good at what you do then you will get recognition!