Cover profile: Thomas Danthony

Cover profile: Thomas Danthony

It’s a pleasure to have Thomas Danthony back on the FFF cover this month. The french illustrator has been busy working for an eclectic mix of clients in his studio in north London since we had him on. In our interview below, Thomas’ told us he’s keen to create more gallery work with paintings, limited edition objets and textiles. The cover image above shows Le Mont-Saint-Michel, which is available as a print from Thomas’ shop.

Thomas in his studio in London.

Do you think it’s important to find time for personal projects?

Yes, it’s very easy to get a bit lost when doing only commissions especially with advertising.
Personal projects are the best way to keep experimenting and evolving. For me it’s the best to stay alive as an artist. It’s sometimes hard to make time for them, but it’s always really rewarding, reminding me why I love what I do.

How do you approach a new project?

It’s always a bit different, depending on what it is, but for a classic illustration brief it’s mainly with quick thumbnails in my sketch book. It allows me to be very loose and to get ideas and composition out quickly.

Magazine Cover for GQ, Art Direction by Marion Tremoy.

Do you try to get feedback from the client at this early stage?

No, I do a lot of these and at this stage they don’t really look like anything. I then move on to Photoshop to develop the thumbnails into sketches that I can share.

Do you focus on one project at a time or are you a multi-tasker?

Most of the time I am working on multiple projects at the same time. It’s the only way to avoid loosing time when feedback takes more time than planned. When buried deep in a single project it’s sometimes difficult to have a look at the bigger picture so switching projects can also help to keep fresh eyes.

What do you listen to while you work?

Music of course but also a lot of podcasts, mainly from French radio, about music but also culture, literature, science.

What would be your dream project?

There would be so many! In various fields; fashion collaboration, museums set up, albums covers…
A dream project is not necessarily something big or with great exposure though, I love being given «carte blanche» or collaborating with a client to the point where the project gets better than we both could have hoped for at the start.

Series of Gouache painting commissioned by CHI & Partners for Freedom Brewery

Do you work from home or in an office?

My studio is set up at home; it has always been and I reckon it works pretty well for me.

I work from home as well, but am often asked how I handle it without going crazy. How do you find a work/life balance?

It’s not easy. Lately, I have also been sharing the studio with my girlfriend and it’s been great to have her around (it was just me and the dog before). Then I also climb a lot; it’s very important for me to exercise and to have another activity that I am passionate about. I train 3 times a week and I have been for the last 20 years. Climbing is one of the only things I can do without thinking about work at all and it feels great.

Finishing off with a classic but always useful question, what’s the most important piece of advice anyone has given to you about your work?

To keep doing work I enjoy doing and not care too much about trends.

Glenn Garriock

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