Interview with illustrator Jack Tierney
Jack Tierney of Listen To The Graphics is a Brisbane based illustrator and graphic designer working primarily with musicians and bands across Australia for album covers, gig posters and branding.
He is the man behind our ‘Eco Warrior’ Notely featured in our launch collection.
How did you get started as an illustrator?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember. My dad is an artist so I imagine he got me scribbling as soon as I could hold a crayon. I used to love looking at illustrated books and album covers when I was young, it’s always fascinated me. While I was studying I would pick up some freelance work here and there, it was a big moment when people started paying me to draw.
From then I tried to take on everything I could. I started doing some work with Surfing Life and SLAM Skateboarding Magazine. I also had the privilege of working with RollingStone which was a tick off the bucket list.
There’s something really special about illustration, it seems to have a power that can speak to everyone.
You’ve had some fantastic opportunities of late working with some great emerging and more established bands. Which have been your favourite to work on?
I’m a big hip hop fan so working with Elefant Traks has been a huge highlight for me – some of my favourite artists are on that record label. Illustrating on the Cosby Sweater film clip for the Hilltop Hoods was massive – have always loved the Hoods. For the last year I’ve also been working with the One Day crew who I’m a huge fan of, they’re absolute legends! Creating the Dune Rats artwork as well, their album entered the ARIA charts and is now in Europe and the UK which is pretty cool. To be honest, I’m excited when any band or muso approaches me, no matter what stage they’re at in their career – I really immerse myself into their music and get right into it.
How has your music background shaped the way you approach a project?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. My dad is also a musician, and my parents were always really supportive of our creative outlets – there was always lots of art and music around the house. It’s always exciting working with musicians and it’s a real privilege to work on presenting someones music – they’ve put their heart into their art and it’s a big responsibility to make sure it’s done right – you need to inject the same passion into it as they have. I always draw from the inspiration in the music and channel it into my work.
What are your favourite tools of the trade?
I scribble a lot so there’s always plenty of notebooks and art books around the house. My light box is essential, and of course my scanner and Macs.
Tell us about your workspace…
I have a designated studio space at home. Everything’s set up so I can just close the door, crank some music and get into it at any time. Having a good comfortable space is so important for being creatively productive.
If we peeked over your shoulder on an average day, what would we find you sketching in your Notely?
I keep everything very rough and loose when I’m sketching. You’d see a lot of abstract scribble and faces. I also try to just draw subconsciously a lot – just what ever comes out.
With specific design projects, I’ll sketch out rough designs first. Quick sketches can help figure out basic compositions much quicker than on the computer.
What was the inspiration behind your Eco Warrior design for the Notely Artist’s Collection?
I wanted to do something around the idea of getting off the computer. I was playing around with the idea that ‘the pen is mightier’ and the battle between technology and the humble pencil. The sustainable aspect of Notely made me think of getting back to nature and saving the hand made. Power to the pencil!