The Crestock Interview: Designer and Photographer James Thew

Posted Wednesday, 6 June 2007 by Tormod Rossavik in Interviews, Design, Inspiration, Photography
Graphic designer and photographer James Thew, aka Solarseven on the love of art, dinosaurs and the hard choice of where to go for an exotic holiday.
Floral Grunge Girl
Floral Grunge Girl
Curious Sam, Deadly Games
Curious Sam, Deadly Games
Carrots vs Rabbits
Carrots vs Rabbits
- For me it's all about the love of the art. I can easily work 12 hours days just creating elements for illustrations, coming up with ideas and spending time with my camera. For me it's all about the freedom to create what I want to create, rather than sticking to a set formula.

Do you prefer to work without a concrete client?
- Yes definitely. For me one of the biggest advantages with microstocking is just that – you don't have to work to set styles or set rules, you have complete freedom, to a degree, over what you create. Working with clients can be fun and just as exciting, but you can't beat the freedom of your own mind.

When, during the day, do you find yourself to be most creative?
- I'm normally most creative and productive in the afternoon and in the evening. It really does depend on what I have planned for the day. If I'm out taking photographs I try to start early morning or late afternoon but if I'm sketching or illustrating, afternoons. I´m not really a morning person!

What got you into microstock?
- I've always been a creative and used to work on web development before, so I have always heard of microstock, but it never really interested me that much. I suppose it was about 2 years ago when I decided that I wanted to branch off and work on my personal interests (illustration and photography) and at that point I started to really research the stock industry as this seemed like a good avenue to go down to start off, and here I am now!

How do you work?
- I work Monday to Friday and sometimes weekends if I'm free. I normally start work at 11am but I work longer than normal hours because I love what I do so much. I try to keep my projects and my work as varied as possible, one week I concentrate on photography, another illustration. I don't want to get stuck with one style of work so I try to keep things interesting, varied and sellable. I watch the Microstock industry and research what is selling and what isn't. I take lots of breaks – it's important for me to stop, rest my eyes and eat, play or watch Futurama!

What do you do to maintain the workflow?
- I do work from home and it's so easy to get distracted! I have a very short interest span which doesn't help!! But like I said, I love my work with a passion, so at the end of the day I will still keep up the workflow and if I don't, well, there's always tomorrow...

What is your inspiration?
- You only need to look on this site to be inspired. There is so much quality work out there in the Microstock industry, it's amazing. My main inspiration comes from music, all sorts of music. From film scores to dance and to indie rock. I'm also inspired by nature, technology and the human soul. I work long and hard to try to put these amazing things into an image and Im still not there...humans fascinate me as a subject and I'm slowly trying to work with more models by the end of the year.

If you were a historical person, who'd you want to be and why?
- That's a good question! I would want to be me, but in different periods of time. For example, I would love to experience the horrors of WWII, or when dinosuars roamed the planet, or the first time humans discovered fire, you know, that sort of thing. More than anything I would like to see the future. I´m just a big kid really.

What is your preferred tool?
- I always use Adobe Illustrator. It is one of the best tools out there, as well as Photoshop. I try to use both in equal parts, but all my vector work is created in Illustrator CS2. Both tools work very well with my way of working with my hand-drawn sketches and my photography.

Do you have any tips for a beginner either in photography or design?
- Yes! Don't be afraid to try many different styles! If you work best in one style and it's working for you great, but if you can vary your work I feel your grab more attention from buyers. try and keep things original, keep an eye on the industry to see what sells but most of all keep practicing, I spend most of my days on Illustrator and Photoshop and I'm always learning...

Which exotic holiday would you choose if given the opportunity, Hawaii or Iceland?
- I want to say Iceland because I love the idea of going there and hopefully seeing the northern lights...but come on...Hawaii – you could never turn down that kind of surf!!

Browse Solarseven's creative portfolio here

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You are unique
By poojitha on Sunday, 24 June 2007 5:30 AM
you are an artist with a unique taste
By ronnieglass on Thursday, 22 November 2007 6:15 AM
your work is amazing
By Christelle from Manchester on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 5:09 PM
Fantastic work, I have just started with illustrator, Not there yet, but you inspire me. very proud to see somebody fr manchester as well to succeed so well.

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