Self Portrait - Mr Hyde // ShortList
Gather round children, and gaze upon this post, for the illustration before your very eyes will be the last of its kind. The last illustration you’ll ever see me do for Mr Hyde, thus concluding the 19 months I spent as their illustrator.
I had actually held off illustrating myself the entire time, and thought what better a time for a self-indulgent-self-portrait than when concluding a huge body of work! As of today the contract has expired (after a soul destroying 6 month notice period) and I could not be happier! I think …
I wouldn’t say the entire 19 months were bad, there were good times of course, and I met some lovely, kind and intelligent people along the way. But a handful of events left me reeling, of which I never fully recovered from. There was a clause in the contract which forbade me from working with ShortList Media’s competitors and also producing work in a similar style to, well … my style! I spent most of my time replying to client emails apologising for turning down jobs than I did accepting them. And to make matters worse, the pay (when divided by the number of hours I would spend on each illustration) worked out to be no better than minimum wage. Not only was my confidence as a young illustrator wrought, but as was my self-confidence as a human being.
This new low and sudden realisation of my situation was the trigger for a major bout of depression, a depression that swept over me and has relentlessly stuck with me since. What’s worse was coming to terms with the fact that this was all totally self-inflicted - quite possibly the hardest obstacle I had to overcome. I did after all sign the contract - I had to stop laying the blame elsewhere. Probably worth mentioning, I was 22 at the time - enthusiastic, bright-eyed and fresh out of university, something I later found out the contractor’s knew full well of. Thankfully this has been my only real first hand experience with exploitation within the creative industry, and although I’m probably not a better person because of it, I have now learnt to (with regret) approach my career with a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude.
I’d also like to thank my friends and family who helped me through the worst patches, this sounds incredibly clichéd but I’m not sure I could have done it without you guys.
(p.s. I totes look like an astronomer in the illustration, major lols)