First things first, when or who first coined your Pâté moniker?
I first started illustrating when I was still an advertising creative so I needed a pseudonym to separate the two disciplines. When I was a boy I won a swimming race, the medal was awarded by the Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Duncan Goodhew who mispronounced my name. Instead of Pateman he said Pâté Man, at which point my mates burst out laughing and the nickname stuck. I remembered this when thinking of pseudonyms when suddenly the idea of a duck in a blender came to me. After that there was no going back, Pâté it was.
How did you first get started in the world of illustration?
I have always loved drawing, but as an adman you don't do it that much and I missed it. So I started to teach myself how to use Adobe illustrator and Photoshop, constantly bothering the design department with technical questions until I felt proficient enough to take on small illustration jobs that I would award to myself! I did some very basic vector ads for The Economist and the BBC but I became more ambitious. So my partner and I looked for a client outside of our agency's roster that we could write ads for and that I could illustrate. That client was The V&A Museum of Childhood. We formed a sort of covert agency within the agency with an account man and producer and ended up with a campaign of posters, illustrated by me with media buying attached. Long story short we presented to the V&A as a fully finished campaign and they thankfully they bought it. The campaign went on to win a bunch of foreign and domestic awards for two years running and from that exposure I was approached by an illustration agent, and I signed up.
Do you have any particularly big influences (people, designers, objects etc)?
There are obviously creatives of all disciplines whose work I admire but I try not to look at the creative industries too hard. I think there's a kind of artistic freedom in ignorance! I prefer to sit in a café and people watch for inspiration.
Have you had any particularly memorable responses to your work?
I only really remember the negative ones! But if pushed, a guy the other day said that I make it look easy. I liked that he recognised the skill in taking a complicated subject and presenting it in a simple, relevant and eye-catching way.
Do you have any top tips for someone just starting out as an illustrator?
Find your own voice. Work hard and be nice to people. Get an agent. Think of your own ideas (A lot of these come from Anthony Burrill, but he's often right).
Can you give us an idea of the process you go through when working on an illustration?
I'm a conceptual illustrator so the idea comes first and above all else. I'll digest the brief and then start working in words and scribbles, trying to find simple, relevant and eye-catching visual connections that bring the subject matter to life. Once I have a bunch I draw them on the iPad pro. I taught myself how to freehand draw as I draw on the computer so there's less visual distance between my rough and my final. It helps clients, who often aren't as visually literate as you would like. Then when an idea is approved I move to vectors using Adobe illustrator.
Name one item that you could not live without, and why?
Adobe illustrator. When I was a kid I hated the darker patches you got on the overlaps when colouring with felt tipped pens. Once I discovered one click flat colour in illustrator I was hooked.
Your ’neighbourhood puns’ are a Place in Print staple, do you have a favourite three?
Brixton was possibly the first one that I thought of and still really like. It's just so simple but effective. I like the ones that are sort of effortless and contain a self contained object best. Dartford, Barnet, Farringdon, Hackney are all good ones too I think.
If you weren’t an illustrator, what do you think you’d be?
Unemployed! Or an unemployed stand up comedian!
Can you give us a sneak peek of any top secret work in progress?
Everything at the moment is such a quick turnaround it'll be finished before you go live!