Ollie Silvester is an illustrator and person based in Surrey, UK. He loves trying to draw like a child with lots of texture and the occasional plant. He insists on using only 8B pencils (sometimes 6B if that’s all he can find) and drawing faces on things that don’t normally have faces.

Tell us a fun fact about you I currently have a Moustache.

Top three clients you've worked with? Anorak Magazine, Scouting Magazine, The Museum of London

How did you get into illustration? I have always been a pencil wielder, and I always knew that I wanted to pursue some form of art. I followed different forms of art through my education and eventually went to university to study graphic arts at Winchester School of Art. I went into uni thinking I wanted to do graphic design (I didn't really know what illustration was at the time) but I discovered illustration and knew almost instantly that drawing was the way for me. I have always been more of an image maker than a designer, so in retrospect, there is nothing else I ever would have done.

What tools (digital or not!) do you use to create your work? I mostly use 8B pencils and watercolour paint, but I try not to limit myself to my materials and keep an open mind as to what each project needs. I work in layers with my trusty light-pad (I don't know what I would do without it) and then scan, position and edit in Photoshop.

Who or what inspires you the most? Plants, feelings and the weather. I draw a lot of inspiration from the everyday and the moments between the things that you notice are happening around you. Like a bird doing a funny walk or a shadow against a wall. Oh and the 70's, everything just looked great in the 70's.

What's your favourite website for inspiration? I don't really look at many websites to be honest. I use Instagram a lot though. I look at other artists like I look at the news, I like to see what is going on in the creative world and see what amazing things other people are doing, but I don't really use them for inspiration as I have a tendency to compare too much.

What would your dream project be? A mural. I'd really love to paint a big mural. Or do some album artwork for Elton John.

What does a typical day look like for you? I usually start trying to wake up with strong cup of tea and some breakfast. Its important to get the brain rolling. And the most important thing is to get dressed! I can’t work properly whilst being a slob in my PJ’s. Then i’ll usually put a record on and have a think about what I need to do, what order is the most important and then I get stuck in. I don’t really do warm up’s or anything as I find it gets me distracted. Once I have an idea or two, I do some roughs and start working. I try to ignore as much social media as possible through the day, but I will have a chat with the cool peeps in the collective I am part of, Pretty Picture Club. We use Slack to talk work and general life in the art world. They are great company and amazing support.

What do you do when you have a creative block? That’s a hard one, for me, there is no definitive answer. I stand and look out of my window quite a lot. Or lay on the floor for a bit. It sounds ominous and strange, but it really works to balance my brain and reboot. I have to have no music when doing this. Just the sound of cars and my rabbit bouncing about. Another thing I do is just do a different piece of work, something that doesn’t require too much thought so I can loosen up and get the creative juices flowing again.

Do you have any tips for artists thinking of doing freelance? I can’t say that I have the most experience, but I do definitely have a tip that might seem obvious, but I have fallen down at many times.

DO NOT COMPARE YOUR WORK TO OTHERS AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. I know it sounds corny, but its the best thing I have ever learnt. Make what you want to make, in the way you want to make it. Let your hand run free and avoid using other artists as your main influence creatively. Use the world around you, use the things you think are amazing that aren’t classed as ‘art’. Sure, you can appreciate their work, find inspiration in their approach to ideas, a mood they have created or try a different medium, but don’t look at other people and say to yourself ‘I really like their work, i’m going to try and do something like that’. I’ve learnt the hard way and you only come out of the other side feeling detached from your own work and disappointed because it isn’t as good as you’d hoped. You are your own artist, and people will like what you do if YOU believe in what you do.

How can fans keep up-to-date with your work? Instagram


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