I love Daniel Mackie’s combination of warped figures, pattern and delicately rendered water colours. Interestingly, up until last year, his work involved a much greater use of the computer and the switch back to hand-crafted, analogue means was a thought-out, conscious decision. We were able to grab a little time with Daniel to find out a little more about his work and this change in technique.
You mention on your site that you abandoned Photoshop in 2010. What brought on this decision?
The first thing that led me to question using Photoshop as an illustration tool was that, like many other illustrators, my line was hand drawn and scanned in, but the colour was flat. Even scanned in textures take on a sort of Photoshop flatness! It was only when I started painting with watercolour that I realised how much short cutting and corner cutting I was doing working with Photoshop.
When using watercolour the drawing has to be spot on before you start painting. Watercolour is easy to put on, but dreadfully difficult to paint over or rub out! With Photoshop I found I never had to make a solid decision because with “control z” I never had to. I have found that making solid decisions makes for better illustrations.
How has the move into analogue influenced the look of your work?
I have discovered colours I would have never used, cobalt turquoise, quinacridone gold and permanent rose to name a few. My work has also become more stylised. After I decided not to use Photoshop anymore I sort of paused for breath and went through quite a long experimental period to find out where I was headed.
Have there been the kind of benefits or drawbacks you might have expected from choosing not to use digital means anymore?
Benefits, as I mentioned, are that you have to be bolder in your decision making. The down side is when you make a bad decision you may have to start again! I have to confess I do miss “control z”!
A lot of your figurative illustrations incorporate body art. Is this something that has always interested you?
Tattoos have crept into the mix really as a way of telling a story or as a smaller part of the narrative that is going on in the main idea of the illustration.
Have you found the inclusion of testimonials and a description of your process on your site beneficial?
I think third person endorsement is good, having someone blow your trumpet looks a lot better than blowing your own! As far as the “process” goes, most commissioners know the score but it helps build confidence I think.
Have you got any upcoming projects or plans that you’d like to share?
I’m currently working on a job for Mens’ Style in Australia about playboys …
© Daniel Mackie, 2011.