Creative Conversations : Kevin McGivern, Illustrator

Creative Conversations is a new feature series focused on shining a light on creatives under the radar. We aim to have 'creative conversations' with some of the most innovative creatives in the world today. Next up on the series is 35 year old Artist, Kevin McGivern from Glasgow.

What inspired you most to become an Artist?

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and growing up, my dad was a hobbying artist drawing landscapes and vintage cars. The first time I realised that you could actually make pictures for a living was seeing the posters Drew Struzan created for the Star Wars movies. He has since gone on to be one of my biggest artistic influences. Norman Rockwell and Haddon Sundblom are also huge influences.

You have worked for big names such as Disney and Marvel, what was that like?

Honestly, my process for working with big companies like Disney and Marvel is pretty much the same as for a small indie publisher or film maker. I always want to do any job to the best of my ability and I try not to think of the huge corporation at the other end of the email.

Since your time creating, What is the best and worst thing about being an artist?

I absolutely love my life and 99% of the things that come along with being a freelance illustrator. I love the fact that I never have that Sunday night feeling of “Urrrghh…I have work tomorrow”. Being able to create for a living is just the best. And being able to work with a variety of clients in a variety of industries means that no day is ever the same. For the worst thing, I would have to say that working from home, you never are “away from work”. There is always that guilty feeling that I should be working. Also, it can be quite lonely at times and in the future I may share a studio with other artists. Podcasts and Youtube are my best friends! 

Where or how do you find inspiration for your work, Is there a process you go through? 

A lot of the inspiration comes from the clients. Usually, they have a good idea of what they are looking for. For my personal work, I am inspired by everything you can imagine, books, movies, architecture, clothing, other artists….the list goes on. Pinterest is also a godsend when looking for inspiration. My process is to do a couple of rough sketches. Once the preferred sketch is chosen, I look up reference images on Pinterest, Google or wherever. I also take my own reference photos. I often pose myself or friends/family member in specific lighting conditions. There are always things that you notice that you never would if you were drawing everything from your head. I then do a tighter drawing and then on to the final painting.

A lot of animators, designers, painters, illustrators, creators, don't get enough credit? do you agree and why.

A problem with working in a creative industry is that the general public think that it’s easy and a large percentage undervalue to work. The number of requests I have to do work for free or to illustrate a movie poster for $50, is unbelievable. There is no way the same people would approach a plumber or tiler in the same way, so why for artists? (Rant over).

Give us one interesting fact about yourself away from your profession?

I lived in Greece for 8 years and can speak Greek.

What is your favourite painting or caricature from a purely creative point of view and why?

Usually, my favourite painting is the most recent one I completed. I am my own worst critic and for me the older a painting gets, the worse it gets. At the moment, my favourite would have to be “Jealousy”. I think it succeeds best in the storytelling aspect and atmosphere I wanted to create. I’m also a fan of using negative space and I think it works well here.

What advice do you have for young artists growing up in 2016?

Probably the same as every other artist would say..draw, draw, draw!! A lot of artists worry about finding their style. This happens naturally the more you draw. Also keep being inspired by other artists. Gradually as you draw and paint, certain aspects of what you like in other peoples work will come through in yours in your own unique way. 

And finally, What have you got planned for the future?

My plan for the future is to keep on freelancing. I would love to work more in the book cover industry and do some more gallery shows. I would also love to work some more on self-initiated work with the end goal being some kind of book or story. 

Follow Kevin McGivern on Twitter - Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with Kevin's future projects or Visit his website on