5 minutes with Alex Latimer

I thought it would only be appropriate to introduce you to Alex Latimer, the fantastic illustrator who helped bring my recent website re-design to life with some beautiful header and footer sketches. Alex spent 5 minutes with me telling me a bit about his background, comic strip – The Western Nostril – and the design process involved when illustrating. Enjoy!

Man's best friend
Man’s best friend

I am a writer turned illustrator and I work from my home office/studio in a terrific little valley on the coast of Cape Town. After working in advertising for a little while (where i was in a creative team with my oldest brother Patrick – me copywriting and him art directing) I decided to go it alone and freelance. But a lesson I soon learned was that the best way to make sure of a steady income as a freelancer is to diversify. So I began illustrating as well as writing. Nowadays it’s mostly illustration for me, which is great – plus a bit of cartooning work in The Western Nostril. But I haven’t stopped there – I have recently completed my first children’s book called The Boy Who Cried Ninja for which I have an agent and soon (I hope) a publisher.

the western nostril

The Western Nostril is a cartoon that my brother and I started nine years ago while I was still at university. Somewhere along the line the good people at Business Day saw it and loved it and offered to pay to have it in their paper four days a week. Currently we’re gearing up to publish our second collection of Western Nostrils which will be out in South Africa in time for Christmas. We’re still patiently awaiting our breakthrough into the global market.

Latimer Design Process

My work process: I don’t really like to put pencil to paper before I have a good/weird idea behind what I’m trying to illustrate (and the same goes for writing). Often a stroll up a mountain with my dogs will help that along (see picture) – fresh air and exercise does wonders. Once the idea is there, I return home and sketch it with pencil onto sheets of A4 paper and scan it in to my computer. Then in Photoshop I fix any skew lines with the liquify tool (it feels like cheating, but apparently it’s not) and I begin colouring and adding textures and shadows. I usually don’t know what an illustration will look like before it’s done – so the process is quite exciting as I watch strange people, creatures and buildings take shape.

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