Once again I have to thanks gigposters.com for having introduced me to Daniel Hawkins. And once again, this is a great opportunity to discover other type of rock posters than the "skull, boobs and cars" stereotypes :) Even if, as a youngster, Daniel was into jets and rockets, thankfully he developed his own style....
Usually it's a mix of stuff ranging from 90's indie rock bands like the Breeders & Superchunk to more modern stuff like Joan Of Arc or John Vanderslice.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
Hi, I'm Daniel Hawkins and I live in Austin, Texas, USA with my beautiful wife and our two cats. I am a designer and illustrator, working mostly in the realm of print. Though I mainly create music posters, lately I've been branching out and designing all sorts of different things. If it can be printed then I've probably worked on it! Aside from my visual work I'm also a musician. Right now, I'm playing drums in a band with my buddies called Pswingset. (http://www.pswingset.com/)
When did you start drawing?
When I was very little. I remember being obsessed with History; World History and American History and I would draw or attempt to draw what I was learning about at the time. This of course led into other things, but for some reason what I can most clearly remember is horrible little drawings of Spanish conquistadors on horses and painfully detailed battle scenes taken from the American Civil War and of course jet planes, rockets and other typical 'boy' things. I feel that these early influences have disappeared from my work.. thankfully!
When I was in middle-school and high school I drew tons of band logos all over everything. I would like to say that this early attention to detail in regards to type has had some positive effect on my work. Perhaps I was involuntarily learning about logos and branding and working with type and image. Who knows? It was more interesting than learning about fractions or grammar.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
Right now I'm trying very hard to make a living in Graphic Design, which is not easy! At this point I make very little money from my poster art, but its growing slowly and I'm a patient person so perhaps one day I can answer this question with an emphatic; YES!
I can say that whether I'm working on a show poster or a take-out menu, It's all creative work to me and equally satisfying on certain levels.
I really love old book covers, advertising design from the 50's and mid century swiss style, though I'm not sure how much of that creeps into my work. I'm very into textures and so I try often to include natural textures into my work. I save all sorts of scrap pieces, cardboard, canvas and old paper. Adding these into my designs as an under or overlaying element really provides the 'look-feel' of much of my work. Creating a sense of visual tangibility is one of my main goals in any of my designs. There are a few artists and designers here in Austin that have had a huge impact on me, whether it be influence or inspiration but Christian Helms, Renee Fernandez and Paul Fucik are a few of these folks. I also get a lot of support and inspiration from Molly and Michael Rodriguez who are both Texas based artists/designers and have been working for a long while now. I feel fortunate to have close friends who are successful doing this kind of work. Role models in a sense, as I definitely look up to these people.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
1) concept, this is the most important step in any design process.
2) sketching, this allows me to run through a bunch of ideas really quickly before actually beginning to work. Weed out the shit and hopefully have a good idea before I hop on the computer.
3) This is when I'll head to the computer, at this point I may create scans of some of my sketches or hand drawings to use as guides.
4) Once my illustration or 'graphic elements' are in place and complete I'll then start to focus on type and color.
5) After the type and colors are dialed in I'll make some final adjustments and wait one day. Then i'll come back and if I'm happy with it, then I'll call it done. I think that waiting a bit after I finish a piece of work allows me to gain some objectivity. I can then look at it and make a more informed decision as to whether its finished or still needs some work. Usually my wife gets the first look and if she has any criticisms then I'll make those corrections. She has a sharp eye and an ever objective opinion.
Its a mix of the two. I like to include as much handcraft in my work as possible, unfortunately this isn't always easy. Some projects just find their way to the computer quicker then others.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
It varies, sometimes I can start and finish a poster in an afternoon, while others can take a week. I think that the stronger my concept is, the quicker it will develop into a finished poster. Sometimes I begin work on a poster and then my concept becomes muddled and or unclear; at which point I either start over, or tough it out. These are the posters that can sometimes take a week to finish.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
Haha, I guess right now I'm doing only what I feel like doing in the sense that I have a particular way of going about illustrations and design and I tend to stick very closely to this. I would certainly give anything a try though, but more then likely the horse running out of water will have the same basic 'look-feel' of my other work. Sometimes this worries me, but then I think that if someone wanted something that I don't do, then they wouldn't have come to me.
For which band have you already worked for?
My work is usually commissioned by promoters or venues and not yet by bands themselves. I have done posters primarily for smaller bands such as: Murder By Death, Native, Drag The River etc.. no one too famous or legendary in my opinion.
David Bazan, Joan of Arc and John Vanderslice would all be really great to work with. They are all great people and their music means a lot to me, so I feel that I would have much to draw upon if I was to create a poster for any of them.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Developing a strong concept is always the most difficult part of the process. But this is also the foundation of a good poster which can make it even more important/difficult
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
At this point in my career I don't feel like I'm apart of a 'scene' really. Which is funny cause many of my friends are designers and artists, but we are all so busy trying to make a living that we all sort of do our own thing at the moment anyhow.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
Many of my posters and other design work are housed at http://www.danielpaulhawkins.com/ , which gets updated pretty regularly with new work.
"cool poster dude!"
What can we wish you for the future?
good luck and good health!
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!