Building with Shapes
An Interview with Seamus Lloyd
For this artist interview, we spoke with Seamus Lloyd, a self-taught illustrator and visual designer based in London, England.
Seamus spoke with us about his journey to becoming a designer, and about his inspiration and creative process.
Hi Seamus! How long have you been drawing, designing, and illustrating?
I started working at learning design in earnest around April of last year, focusing mostly on vector art. Previously, most of my drawing experience had been with graffiti, and my design experience had mostly come from playing with building blocks. I think there’s something wonderful about being child-like in the way you interact with creativity. Children question everything, and I think that's an important part of creativity.
As a student, what was the process of becoming an illustrator like for you? Did you go to school for graphic design and illustration?
No, I’m actually completely self-taught! There’s so much information available now that you can learn illustration a lot faster on your own, I don’t think you really need a degree to get into it.
I started by teaching myself the fundamentals. First, I learned about composition through Pinterest and by reading a book. Then I moved on to color schemes, and I used the same method. Combining books with the internet is a powerful way to learn fast.
Your style is very bold and bright, clearly building on some elements from Bauhaus and 1960’s design. How did you develop your style, and where do you draw your inspiration from?
My style is mostly inspired by building blocks. I’ve liked them since I was a child. I like to imagine how different buildings and other objects in the world are basically made out of cubes, rectangles, cones, and other block objects. So I incorporated that into my designs.
I thought that simple designs using shapes could let viewers fill in the rest with their imagination. For example, if a white triangle is placed on an artboard, people can call it a snowy mountain, or onigiri, etc. I am confident that designs that can be simplified down and imagined with only one element will greatly stimulate not only the viewers but also the creators.
As far as inspiration, I usually get inspiration from music, Pinterest, and what I see while I’m walking around. In other words, I get it from my daily life. For example, in my piece "What Can You See?", I was inspired by the fact that the shadows of the building I saw while walking looked like various objects. So I realized that things that often get passed over by most people can be the key to creating very unique ideas.
Who are your favorite illustrators?
My favorite illustrator is Koivo. His style captivates viewers and allows them to imagine many different things despite the clarity of each piece’s theme. He is one of my biggest inspirations.
What’s something you wish you knew when you started pursuing this career?
To be honest, I can’t think of anything. I wasn't in a hectic environment when I decided to pursue this career, so I could afford to learn at least one fundamental part of the design a day. So I don’t really have any regrets in my design journey. I just acquire design knowledge at my own pace and try not to learn too much in too short a period. So maybe that? Just try to learn a little bit every day.
What’s your favorite thing about being an illustrator?
My favorite aspect of being an illustrator is the variety of ways in which I can use my own work. For example, I can print out the illustrations I’ve created and decorate the empty walls.
What's your favorite tool in Vectornator?
The tool I love the most in Vectornator is the Shape tool. Without it, I would not be able to create accurate shapes or express them the way I want to.
What challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?
It took me a lot of time to build up my current style. From the beginning, I’ve been creating illustrations using both simple and detailed designs. However, since I was a child, I have been playing with building blocks, so I thought there was nothing more message-oriented than simple designs. Therefore, rather than delivering many messages through complex designs, I decided to incorporate designs that are very simple and allow viewers to imagine the story ahead.
What other tools do you use in your process?
I use a color tool. It’s very important for me to be able to express my imagination with the exact right colors.
What’s next for you? Any big projects or changes we should look out for?
As a personal project, I’m planning to create visual designs and illustrations with the theme of my favorite field, technology.
Thanks for stopping by to chat with us, Seamus! Good luck on your illustration and design journey!
Seamus Lloyd is an illustrator and visual designer based in London, England. He focuses on vector art and design made with simple shapes that allow viewers to imagine future stories through the works.
Visit Seamus's Portfolio https://www.behance.net/SeamusLloyd
April 8, 2021