Gary Bullock is a highly experienced British illustrator with a worldwide portfolio of clients. So how did he make it in the highly competitive world of illustration and what makes him tick?
“I’ve always kept the passion alive about drawing pictures for a living by working in a wide variety of styles for a wide range of clients. I never set out to specialize in packaging illustration but my graphic flat colour bias seems to lend itself to this and I would say that these days about seventy percent of my work tends to be for packaging in one form or another.
When I got my first illustration commissions for packaging many moons ago, shopping at the local supermarket had that added excitment of spotting the odd bit of bacon packaging with a familiar image on it. My Mum would phone me up and tell me she’d shown her friends that box of biscuits I’d illustrated and had told them proudly ‘my son’s drawn that!’
These days I’m quite used to seeing my stuff here and there but I still get the odd Wow! feeling now and then, such as the time when I visited Toronto a few years back and was on the tube when sudden- ly a large billboard ad with a familiar retro image of melons flashed past my window.
….Or the time when I was commissioned to do an illustration for Lays kettle cooked potato chips in the U.S. which was then, over the space of a few days, carved into a huge wooden billboard in California as a promotional event (I was, however, disappointed that they never flew me out there to view it!!)
….Or the time when some friends who’d emigrated to Canada phoned me up to tell me that they thought that they were seeing things when, in the local grocers, they saw some milk cartons with illustrations of my wife, daughter and myself on the packaging. (Sometimes, you have to use the models at hand for reference material when up against a deadline).
Being a down to earth English northern lad, seeing my work in situ has never gone to my head, but it’s nice to know that all those years of doodling in my school books whilst simultaneously dodging a flying blackboard eraser finally paid off!”
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