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Office tale of Jon Westwood, freelance Illustrator

Office tale of Jon Westwood, freelance Illustrator

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :

Jon Westwood; 23 year old Canadian guy

Your current job :

I’m a freelance Illustrator

In which city are you located?

The outskirts of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A word to define what kind of worker you are :

Perfectionist. Which can be both a negative and a positive at times.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

An Asus ProArt monitor whose colour calibrated screen I couldn’t live without, a Razer Nostromo keypad with binded hotkeys to Photoshop CS5.5, a Wacom Intuos Pro, a plethora of artbooks and sketchbooks, and a decent computer that doesn’t crash most of the time.

What does your office space look like?

It’s a chaotic muddle of illustration books, sticky notes, sketchpads, and art supplies with a smell of strong coffee surrounding the workspace at all times (occasionally Earl Grey tea).

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?

Anything and everything… from jazz to hip-hop to classical to film/videogame soundtracks to the ambient sounds of a bartender during a busy shift. Whatever passes the time.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?

If I find that if I’m not being as productive as I’d like to be in an illustration, I’ll move on to working on a different project. Other than that, projects are usually completed on a priority basis.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?

Giving yourself milestones in a project to be completed at a certain time of the day is necessary to staying focused and committed. If a task seems too overwhelming, it becomes tough to even approach it. Decaf is for the weak. Get a nice, strong, highly caffeinated cup of coffee.

You’re better than your colleagues to :

I’m a pretty decent whistler. Probably annoys people more than anything, though.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?

“Write every day. Not every other day. Not tomorrow. Not after the party. But before. The more you write, the more comes out of you. If you don’t give inspiration an opportunity, it will never arrive.”

The same can and should be applied to pretty much every artistic field, including illustration.

What is your best tip for saving time ?

If something looks off in your work, get another opinion rather than toiling over the problem. You can lose hours over something small and insignificant.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?

As soon as I wake up, I brew enough coffee to drown the Amazon Rainforest. I then duct-tape my pen to my hand and reluctantly draw until deep into the night, all the while forcing granola bars down my throat. By around 4am, my ration of coffees and granola bars will have depleted and I go to sleep anticipating the next day.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?

A mostly empty credit card.