Q&A with Andrew Tunney

Our latest Q&A is with Andrew Tunney, whom we discovered through the excellent Girl & Boy, which we featured a while back. We are really thrilled that Andrew took the time to give us an insight into his inspiration and creative process.

Who is your biggest inspiration?
This is hard because I think, like most artists, I have a long list of inspirations and it’s constantly shuffling but here are three;

FUTURA – I stumbled on his work when my friend got me into DJ Shadow around about the time UNKLE’s PSYENCE FICTION album came out. FUTURA has something that all my favourite artists have, this ability to straddle multiple mediums and make work that is recognisably theirs in each. That UNKLE album ended up being my gateway into a whole lot of things; vinyl toys, street art and street wear when they were all in their ascendency in the late 90s/early 2000s.

AKIRA KUROSAWA – As someone who tells stories with words and pictures I’m naturally a big film fan. I have a few favourite directors now like John Carpenter, Michael Mann, Hitchcock, Sergio Leone, but catching a Kurosawa marathon on channel 4 at about 15 really was the first time I saw what film could do. Yojimbo knocked me on my arse.

TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE (1986) – That’s not a person obviously but seeing that film as a child kicked me in the stomach. I try to avoid the nostalgia that the world of comics is steeped in (and possibly drowning in) because I need to look forward to creating new things, not constantly trying to live in the past. But as formative experiences go seeing that film definitely sparked off my love of animation, particularly Japanese animation… although I didn’t know that at the time. There’s a pretty simple time-line you can draw from me loving that as a child, to discovering AKIRA in my teens, to loving Satoshi Kon’s films now. It set me on my path for sure.

What is your process? Do you start in pencil or digitally?
I can work entirely traditional or entirely digital but usually everything I do starts off as a pencil drawing. Sometimes that will be inked over, sometimes I’ll just use the raw pencils, then that gets scanned in for digital colouring. My process isn’t complex and I stay quite flexible; it’s a bunch of very simple steps and I keep it open to experimentation.

How does your approach differ between your own personal work vs freelance work?
My approach doesn’t really change that much, physically I put the same amount of steps in to actually creating the piece and I research everything that I do almost obsessively. The only things that differ between personal and freelance is the time I’m able to spend and the subject matter. Generally with freelance work you’ll be tied to a brief or your client’s wishes and working within them can sometimes be frustrating and that’s not a concern with personal work. But sometimes creativity really thrives under limitations, so it’s a mixed bag. I guess the main difference with personal work is I know I can always put as much of myself in there as I want, in the way that I want.

What awards or industry recognition have you received and how important is it to you?
In 2006 I was part of the Final Showcase of NOISE FESTIVAL, in 2007 DIGIT MAG featured me as One To Watch In 2007 and in 2008 I was sent to Downing Street as a Role Model For Creative Youth. Most recently I was nominated for Best Comic in the 2012 British Comic Awards for GIRL&BOY.
I am competitive, so if you put me in for an award I want to win it… but winning awards isn’t what drives me.

Do you have a favourite piece of work?
I get over my work pretty quick after I finish it. Once the initial buzz of accomplishment wears off my head is already working out what I did wrong or where I can go next. Eventually I’ll look back after 6 months or a year and realise it was actually pretty good and I was being too hard on myself. Or y’know, I wasn’t and it sucked. But a few pieces I’m still really attached to.

GIRL&BOY is important to me as it’s probably my most successful body of work thus far. I managed to say everything I was trying to say and push my skills up a notch, while also finding an audience that really responded to it. It’s probably always going to be a personal milestone for me.

The other one is the piece I did of pro-rollerblader JEFF STOCKWELL. I drew eight different icons of the rollerblading scene for the documentary BARELY DEAD but this probably is my favourite of the bunch. All the things I was going for just kind of came together in this image. Blading has been a huge influence on my work and life so this is kind of symbolic of all of that I’ve gotten out of it and put in to it over the years.

What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?  
At the moment I have some shows in the pipeline and more comics, either ones I’m working on with other artists or ones I’m writing and drawing myself. I keep a regular sketchblog going on my tumblr just for fun that I’d like to keep going, maybe start a travel sketchbook too?

For the future I just want to do more of what I’m doing, but better, and find new areas to expand in to as well. I’ve mostly been focussed on comics recently so I’d like to get back to doing more illustration or fashion-related work too. As long as I stay busy, it keeps me out of trouble :)


Leave a Reply