Behind the Scenes: Craig McCann


7th February 2014: One of the newest artists to join Yellow House, Craig McCann's fun, colourful artwork has been attracting a lot of attention in the short time since he arrived! With his fresh use of colour and combination of minimal line, shape, and texture the results are vibrant and full of character. This month we go behind-the-scenes with our Artist of the Month Craig McCann:

What's your favourite design/piece of work & why? Tough question, I’d find it hard to narrow this down to one artist. Probably something by Charley Harper or Eric Ravilious, Mark Hearld or a mid century American children’s book illustrator. I like many different artists, some for their use of colour or design style, sense of line or just a quality that they can create, that appeals to my visual and aesthetic senses.

What's been your best-selling design or piece of work to date? The small range of limited edition animals that I sell from my site People seem to respond well to the tiny, quirky, and slightly stand-offish animal characters. 

Which part of the process do you like most? I like all of the art process. Creating the ideas, assembling the image, making it work in terms of the balance and layout. If pushed I’d say that seeing people’s response to an illustration is the best part. I love it when my work creates a smile. 

Which part do you like the least?! The days when you feel like you can’t draw, when you are feeling out of sorts and don’t like a line that you make. Thankfully those days don’t come around too often. 

What would your dream project be? To create a best selling children’s picture book, using my words and illustrations.

Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration? Mother Nature, boy could she design!

Which is your favourite Yellow House Art Licensing artist & why? I don’t have one favourite as such, but I would choose Paul Thurlby for his strong retro graphics. Mique Moriuchi for her naïve, quirky style and Este Macleod for every beautiful, and decoratively colourful canvas, that she has painted. 

Which is your favourite Yellow House artist (our closely-associated site selling original artworks) and why? Angela Harding or Jane Robbins. They both have a keen eye for detail and know how to combine nature and design using illustration.

Do you have your own work at home? Two small pieces, tucked in my studio where only I can view them. I prefer to be surrounded and inspired by other people’s artwork.

When designing your studio, what was the most important factor? The light from the windows, as my desk faces outside and having all my art materials within easy reach... it’s a busy room!

What's been your biggest mistake/cock-up?! Thinking that I’d like to be a fashion designer, when in reality all I wanted to do was design the pattern on the clothing and not the shapes themselves. It took me the first year of a B.A. in Fashion Design to realise, that I should be doing a degree in Textiles. However, I learned so much in that year that I wouldn’t consider it a mistake at all. If your eyes are open, you can learn something from the most unlikely of sources.

What's on your drawing-board/ in your kiln / on your easel / etc. right now? Always three things at once, as my brain seems to enjoy multi tasking! A project for a London company, designing an African textile design for their packaging. A group of collages that I’m working on with a new style and my second children’s book to present to publishers. 

What is the last book you read? Marks out of 10? ‘Pop Co‘ by Scarlett Thomas. A book about a girl working for a profit-hungry corporation who designs toys and she discovers a secret uprising of employees who wish to expose the firm and bring it down. Quite a uniquely written book with a great tale and numerical problem solving twists and turns. I’d give it an 8.

What is the last exhibition you went to? Marks out of 10? A Natural Line, is an exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park featuring the work of artist Angie Lewin. Sensitive, confident with beautiful sense of line and style. 9 out of 10. 

If you could own a masterpiece, what would it be? ‘Hunters in the Snow’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder or a ceramic piece of Lucie Rie’s work.

What’s your proudest achievement? Setting up my company Fishink, maintaining my blog where I can discuss a variety of work by other designers. And producing a limited range of ceramics with ceramicist Tone Von Krogh. I alo enjoyed a recent commission to produce two illustrations for a friends kitchen.


 What’s been your biggest challenge? Going freelance and making a small business really work.

What attracted you to/attracts you about working with Yellow House? I like their ethics, presentation and I found that we have similar choices in the type of designers and makers that we choose to work amongst.

Thanks Craig! We always enjoy looking at your work and reading your blog. It's great to see how diverse and adaptable your work is - we can imagine it being applied to a whole range of products including hopefully your dream project, a best-selling children's book! 

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