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A Magazine for Sheffield

Michael Latimer: Digging for styles in the south yorks coal fields

If you sit still in art - and aren't very lucky - you aren't going to get anywhere. Even if you think you know what you want to create, learning how to create properly - and ways to innovate the process - is essential. Broken designers are my cup of tea. With one eye fastened on print production, the other on quality of image, the images produced tend to be stronger for the attention to detail. If you were looking for one person to blame Now Then's existence on, you couldn't go far wrong by pointing in Latimer's direction. Local art done well. Can you describe the process of starting a new piece? With the illustrative stuff I will usually spend a bit of time farming characters and symbols in the sketchpad. When I reckon I have enough to get a three-quarters-done piece, I will start to draw one proper on nicer paper. The last quarter usually presents itself pretty easily. Where do you get your inspiration? It can be anything. I know literally everyone says that, but it's true - it can be someone else's work, music I am listening to, films I have watched. After I have sat and watched a Studio Ghibli film, for instance, that throws plenty of coal in the monster drawing furnace. Tools. What do you use regularly and what's your favourite? Now you are talking! I'm a bit obsessive about art supplies, particularly pens and pencils. I've imported pens from Japan, ordered loads of obscure pencils, and my favourite pencil is the Zebra Kendo which cost about £2. I have a couple of Kendos for different lead softness. When it comes to pens, Edding 1800 fineliners all the way. Better than Microns - FACT. What other artistic media have had an effect on your art? I'm not sure if I'm going to answer this the way you intended, but having a good grasp on multimedia design has helped me massively. Being able to make your own website and update it yourself is a must. Also, having a good graphic design background means I'm not struggling trying to get files set up properly when editioning prints. How do you spend your days? I used to do the day job thing but fully out on my own now. I do a bit of graphic design but it's mainly art, which is amazing. I'd like to add lots of exciting other things to the list but I mainly just draw stuff. Which of your recent pieces have you enjoyed making the most? I really loved doing the mardy lasses. I'm pretty hard on myself work wise and the illustrative stuff can be pretty labour intensive, so doing something a lot looser like the lasses was pretty fun. 'Craters' in particular was brilliant to do, one of those rare times when everything I did worked first time. How has your art evolved since your last feature (Now Then #03)? I think it's changed a lot, but it's been evolving slowly rather than in radical leaps. I think there's a lot more detail in there now. I'm a lot wiser as to what works and what doesn't with different printing methods. I also understand how my mind works a bit better regarding making stuff. I've come to accept that I can't just do one thing and leave it - I have to do work in batches, which is just me hammering something until I feel like I've nailed it. How has art in general changed since you started? I think the fine art and the graphic design worlds are moving closer together. There's a lot more people actually dipping a brush in paint now, which is great. I think a lot of designers are realising physical art media isn't actually as scary as it seems. What are you currently working on? I'm not working on anything in particular at the moment, which usually means I am just populating the sketchbook with ideas ready for starting something new. Any tips on how to survive making money from your art? Do you find it important? Don't be lazy, If you are going to fail, then don't let it be because you didn't work hard enough. Don't peacock around everywhere looking for artistic attention for the sake of it. Spend that time making more stuff. What do you dislike in art? The only thing I don't like much is when someone is screaming their opinions at me through their art. It's certainly someone's right to do so and should be encouraged if anything. We are just talking personal tastes here. I like parts of my brain to be moved by art that I didn't know could be moved, rather than just a basic reaction to a crude message. [imagebrowser id=7] What makes you smile in art? It's hard to say. I like pretty peaceful stuff but with a slight skew. It's strange because the stuff I like to look at isn't always the kind of stuff I end up making. At the moment I like art that has a little vague suggestion of a narrative in it, a bit like what Ghost Patrol is currently doing. Ian Francis does this well too. I also like things that you can tell the artist was completely obsessed with making - the kind of stuff that is so complex that it's bordering on OCD. Good advice you wish you'd been told earlier... Buy a better scanner. )

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