Andrew Rae on creating colourful characters


Illustrator, designer, animator, sculptor, zinester and musician – the creative talent of Andrew Rae knows no bounds. He has worked with the likes of E4, The Mighty Boosh, Nintendo, Nike and The New York Times, delivering his simple yet brilliantly quirky style time and time again.

A few years ago now, I got to interview Andrew soon after the release of Moonhead and the Music Machine, a graphic novel he created in collaboration with Nobrow Press. Having recently reviewed Andrew’s latest book collaborative title (you can read my review of Where’s Warhol? below) I thought it would be fun to pick and share five of my favourite questions from the interview…

What is a typical day like for you?

Wake up late, look at my phone for longer than intended, coffee, eat, walk/run/swim if I have time, wade through my emails, write a very specific list so I can cross things off, then by sometime in the afternoon I can normally start drawing while listening to a podcast, music, iplayer until I look up and its either night or I’m late for whatever evening plans I have (band practice, eating out, exhibitions, cinema, pub), go to bed late and attempt to read a book without falling asleep, repeat.

Who influences you creatively?

Chris Ware was a big influence, he raised the bar when it comes to graphic storytelling and he made me look at the medium in a new way and think that it might be a worthwhile pursuit. It took me a long time to figure out how and why I might go about something like that though.

You are a founding member of the Peepshow Collective. What do you think the value of being part of a collective such as Peepshow is?

We started the collective in the early 2000s when we left college mostly as a way to motivate each other to do shows, get a website and show our portfolios around. Now we have a shared studio and we’re a company and have stayed together a surprisingly long time.

When illustrating you draw a whole host of different characters and creations. Is there anything you can’t or don’t like to draw?

I don’t like to draw something cliched, run of the mill and dull with no life or thought gone into it. Sometimes clients want you to stay safe so they remove everything that made the illustration good in the first place and I find that really frustrating. Also I don’t really like drawing an object on it’s own with nothing going on, for instance I could draw a mobile phone say but I can’t make it a good drawing unless it’s being used in some way or something’s happened to it like it’s wearing a hat and a monocle or someone’s skiing on it or it’s being used as a doorstop or something.

What is your dream job?

A job where they leave me alone to do what I want to do but pay extravagantly, I’m not sure it exists though.

You can read the entire interview on Ohh Deer’s Creative Safari here.