Illustration (NIR) FRIDAY 5TH, 11AM
McHugh started out as a scenic artist – whacking up great big murals on construction sites across Europe – before packing it in and deciding become a internationally recognized illustrator instead. Fair enough, right? His work has featured in 3×3 and he’s picked up all sorts of awards for his editorial work including Gold at Association of Illustrators Images34, Gold at the SAA Illustration Awards London, European Newspaper Award for editorial illustration, and a BMX won in a drawing competition, aged 11. Most recent work includes weekly op-ed illustrations for the Financial Times, large scale site-specific mural illustrations for the Titanic Belfast signature building and artwork for billboards and animated TV ads. He’s coming to OFFSET at the top of his game.
Stuffed in McHugh’s over-flowing trophy cabinet, are several awards for editorial illustrations. Here he talks about his work process for the Financial Times op-ed pieces in an excerpt from the OFFSET2013 Brochure.
You have to tap into the topic very quickly. I find it best to approach the text with the unfettered eye of an intuitive idiot – that, and try not to think about the clock too much.
You do get a surprising range of topics to tackle – the articles are pretty meaty stuff, there’s plenty to dig your teeth into. To have such great copy to work with every week is amazing. The FT op-ed pieces are usually written by some real heavy-hitters – cabinet ministers, respected historians, Booker Prize-winning authors, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, etc, so being creative isn’t really a problem when you’re working with such well-written copy.
I usually have about half-a-dozen initial ideas for each piece but have to discount a lot of them due to the ridiculously tight deadline and the fact that they would not be physically possible to finish in the time available.
Whatever I come up with, the most important thing is meeting the deadline. There’s a blank space on that page that I need to fill and the presses are waiting. It’s an interesting discipline, to say the least.