Have you ever seen the movie "Big"?
Made in 1988, starring Tom Hanks. In the film there is an amusement park fortunetelling machine called "Zoltar" which grants a young boy's wish... to be Big. It's a great film if you've not seen it.
Last year concept artist Robert Lingham approached me with an unusual project. He was making his own fortunetelling automation inspired by the film's Zoltar machine. However his invention would be made of his own style and design. He called this his "Pet project" and it had no real deadline as building the machine and getting it right was key priority. What he asked me was, would I be interested in designing and illustrating the posters that would feature on the side of the masterpiece.
"Hell's yeah!" was my response. Having previously executed my own artwork and exhibitions inspired by the "Sideshow" theme and wanting the opportunity to create more vintage looking work, this project was gold!
We collaborated together on how the poster should look, aiming for a steampunk meets art deco meets sideshow kinda image. Eventually after the artwork submission from me and some final mechanical tinkering on the machine by Lingham, "Dr Ricktor's Amazing Automation" was alive!
To date Dr. Ricktor has made very popular appearances at the Rainbow Serpent Festival and White Night in Ballarat.
(Photos supplied Rob Lingham. White Night in Ballarat 2017)
Congrats to me!
This time a year ago I had just chucked my "day job" and I have never looked back.
Last year I had been balancing this particular job - which had faithfully paid my bills for the last 5 years - with the occasional illustration or painted commission. It was an alright job, my colleagues were lovely, and as I said it paid the bills. Unfortunately it wasn't a challenging role and I often felt bored. My vivid imagination was restless and ached to fly in clear blue skies of creative freedom. What bliss!
One day after watching too much of AMC's 'The Walking Dead', I thought to myself, "If the zombie apocalypse does come and I'm turned into a Walker (zombie).... what kinda zombie would I be?"
Don't get me wrong, I'd actually been thinking about quitting this job for a long time and I had invested months of thoughtful argument and vacillation. In the end the turning point, as silly as it sounds - but as a metaphor is on point - was that I didn't like the idea of being an eternal Walker (zombie) who hadn't at least tried to follow their dreams before an irreversible change - that would be sad!
For me, life is too short to not pursue things I liked and was good at. I said to myself "I'm good at drawing and painting and I like drawing and painting, so I should just do that as my full time job".
With that in mind I took a chance on the whole freelance illustration gig and I can honestly say 12 months later it was still the right decision for me. So far it's not a lot of money (yet), however it is the same money I was making in the job I said goodbye to a year ago.
Since focusing on illustration full time I've been constantly busy, challenged and I'm SO happy. If the zombie apocalypse does come I'll be a pretty happy and self fulfilled "Walker".
(Below is a sample of the illustration projects I have undertaken in the last 12 months.)
(Left to right, top to bottom) "Fly Sebastian Fly" Author Aaron Brindle, Crescent Moon Books. "Dr Ricktor's Amazing Automaton" Automation machine artist Robert Lingham. Personalised caricature for engagement gift. Personalised caricature for birthday gift. Personalised caricature for wedding gift. "My Name is Sam" Author Wes Stuart, Createspace Independent Publishing. "The Fear Collectors" Author Lauren E. Mitchell, Amazon.com. Personalised caricature for wedding gift. "I Wipe Better Than You" Author Kevin Fahey, Amazon.com. Concept illustrations for Pumpa surfboards. Personalised skateboard deck. Personalised caricature for wedding anniversary present.