Maebh Costello is a designer from the Republic of Ireland. She specializes in Illustration, Graphic Design and Web/Email Design and produces a tremendously inspiring work. This interview will highlight her background, personal work and inspirations so be sure to read through!
First off, we’d like to know more about you. Can you tell us more about yourself?
Wow, I guess we are starting with a hard question. Well, I am a female designer based in Ireland. I have travelled all over the world but Ireland is where my heart is. My family and friends are here and they are the main inspiration in my life.
I thrive here and enjoy making digital artwork – I cant resist.
My friends describe me as ‘passionate, mischievous and very in independent’ (direct quote XD ). I suppose I can’t argue with that account. I guess you could say I am a quirky mix.
As a computer based artist I’m definitely not anchored to my Mac. In my opinion any excuse to be outside is a good one – especially if it involves water sports. I absolutely love surfing. I get out on the water most weekends.
I also carry my camera everywhere so I can mix my two favorite pastimes, the outdoors and art.
When did your love affair with digital arts and illustration begin? Have you always been into art?
Art is something that I have always done, it is just part of me. Since I was a child I have been obsessed. I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Digital Illustration is where my passion lays though. I absolutely love chilling out and creating Art in Photoshop. LOL, I hate to admit it but I can even get irritated if I don’t get to spend quality time with Photoshop. I can’t explain it but creating make me feel good.
Do you consider anyone as your mentor? What other digital artist inspires you?
Oh, there are so many artist our there that inspire me. I couldn’t really say that there is one individual who I consider to be a mentor.
However I do constantly follow others artistic work. It pushes me to enhance my skills.
I keep a close eye on digital artists such as Phil Dunne, Alexis Marcou, Matei Apostolescu, Ehren Mikeal Kallman, Sara Black, Diego l Rodriguez…I could go on and on there are far too many to mention.
What tools/apps do you usually use in creating your artwork?
I am evolving my style at the moment so my repertoire has changed a lot over the last few months. Right now I am using a diverse mix of tools ranging from Pencils, Paint, Camera and Photoshop. Or basically anything that will help me create the effect I am looking for!
In the past my camera has been the main aspect to my art work. At the moment I am aiming to merge this with more tradition sketch work. Keep an eye on my twitter for previews.
In your experience, were there moments that you have struggled or had difficulty in coming up with a concept? If there are, what are these and how did you overcome/cope?
There are definitely times when I have found it hard to get into a project. I always pick up a pencil when I struggle with a concept. If anything scribbling down ideas or even just doodling helps me to clear my mind. Its almost a Zen like process! I would definitely recommend it to your readers.
My key to avoiding creative block is to relax. I am a very calm person and rarely get stressed. On the occasions when I am feeling pressured I simply take a break and get outside in the fresh air.
Your series, “Children of Lir” was based from an old Irish folklore. Why did you decide to create a series on this and what was your experience doing this series like?
I have always had an avid interest in Irish folklore and Celtic art. I grew up with the story of the “Children of Lir”, its one of those childhood tales that you hear over and over again and don’t really get the meaning. I recently read the myth and realised the emotion and serverity of the tale – its not really a childrens’ story is it? The extreme implications of the myth inspired me to photograph some swans in my area. The swans elegant form influenced me to turn my beautiful photography pieces into digital art. I am very proud of this series and really enjoyed the creative process involved.
My art work is generally generated from my own original photography pieces. Creating a series of illustrations like the ‘Children of Lir’ requires a bank of imagery to resource. Capturing my own photography enables me to do this effectively.
You can view new similar projects on my website www.maebhcostello.com.
Your work has a mixture of dreamy, sort of dark yet sweet-innocent feel, is it safe to say that this is your signature style?
I must say that I love your description of my style as ‘dreamy, sort of dark yet sweet-innocent’. I couldn’t have described it better myself, thank you!
Emotion is something that I always try to portray in my art. I don’t want to just create pretty pictures, I want my work to evoke feeling and thought. I hope that doesn’t sound pretentious but it is honestly my approach to illustration.
Without a doubt there is also dark aspect to my style. This isn’t something that I have consciously added, it just creeps in some how. I do like it though.
At the moment I am working on improving areas of my skillset. I have recently gotten back to basics and have started sketching again. I am really enjoying working with a pencil and sketch pad again. I have even taken a few life drawing classes to help me get back into the swing of things. In the next few months you will see a traditional progression in my style.
You have worked with big time clients such as Dell, Canon and Shell. What was the experience like and is the work process different from when you do personal work?
Throughout my professional career I have dealt with both big and small clients. If I was to be honest my work process is always the same. The only difference between my client and personal work is the deadline. For my own work I never set a deadline. I just keep working on a piece until I am happy with it. Its more enjoyable this way.
In contrast, I always make and hit my deadlines for client work. So far I have found that big clients aren’t always the most organised. For this reason I keep in constant contact with them. Oh, I also try to remain as patient as possible as things don’t alway happen quickly as you may like with client work. Some jobs can stretch out for months which can be frustrating.
Do you have any new upcoming projects?
Right now, I am working on a new tutorial for a well known Design Blog (Keep an eye on my twitter for updates). This tutorial incorporates Sketching, Photography and Digital Illustration. Its very challenging but fun to work on. I hope you find it helpful when it is released.
I also have an interesting piece in the works for the Intrinsic Nature Art Collective. Besides this I have one or two client artworks on the go. Between Client and Personal work I am being kept very busy. Long may it last.
What advice can you give to budding artists?
First off, I would advise new artist to get active and start creating. The more you create the more you learn. It takes years to build up a quality body of work. Everyone has to start somewhere and once you get that ball rolling everything gets easier – trust me.
Secondly, I would also advise artist to get their work online, if it isn’t already. Websites like Behance and Deviant Art are a great place for designers to post their portfolio’s. These websites are also a great place to interact with and meet other Artists. Put yourself out there and socialize. Personally, I have found twitter a fabulous tool for getting to know other designers. If you have any question for me drop me a line on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Maebh_Costello or follow my work on Behance or Deviant Art
Thirdly, Enjoy yourself.