Interview with Dan Mumford

Hey all,

Looks like the sun is finally out! It’s about time! Hope you’re all having a wonderful spring. This week I had the opportunity of interviewing one of my favorite artists; Mr. Dan Mumford. I’ve had a few chances to work with him on some of my own projects, and he has never disappointed! Some of my questions were out of my own curiosity, but I hope some of his answers can help others like me! Big thanks to Dan for doing this for me.

Feel free to visit Dan’s site at http://www.dan-mumford.com

All work examples credited to Dan Mumford and their respective owners.

dan mumford

1. I know you attended Brighton university, at what point did you see your skills develop to the point where you saw a potential career being born?-It was around the third year of university, I started developing relationships with local bands and people I knew that were looking for things like flyer and poster art for shows. Things snowballed from there, and it was only when I left university that I decided I would try and turn it into a career.

2. I’ve heard you say your first band project was Gallows, How did you seek them out or was it vice versa? 

-I knew Gallows from the music scene back home growing up, they had all been in bands I’d played alongside, and I was in a band with the drummer for a few years too! So when they needed album artwork, they knew I was someone they could ask to help out with it and it went from there really, just helping some friends out with artwork for their first label release, I worked on it alongside Alex White from WeThreeClub who handled the type and layout along with some additional illustrations.

3. Related to question 2, how did working with Gallows snowball into more projects with bands? Did they come to you?

-Absolutely. When Gallows blew up and became bigger it obviously drew attention to the artwork, and I definitely had a few bands and people come to me because of that, and then once I worked with the clients that came from that it was a case of more people seeing that work and so forth. Its a great way for artists to get their work out there, because once you have your art on a tee, poster or album, the band takes it everywhere they go, which is obviously great advertising for the artist!

4. When you live in a decrepit and dead music scene like me, how would you suggest I market myself to musicians? Local music is poorly supported, and bands never have a dime to spare on merch related designs.
-Well, I would suggest getting out there and marketing yourself to music scenes that aren’t quite so dead! Bands ALWAYS need tee designs, they might not have the money for it, but if bands want to make money and survive on the road, merch is where it is at right now. The best way to do it is work for cheap with a few clients you know are worth working with and going from there. Unfortunately you have to start somewhere, no one should work for free, but there is no harm working for slightly cheaper when the audience who will see your work is there. Its a balancing act, you have to weigh up the pros and cons.

5. In the young days of your career, were you working for free or were you still charging around the same prices that you do now? What are your thoughts on working for free?

-I never worked for free bar a few jobs right at the start when I was university, and that was when i didn’t really think anything of it. After a few jobs I started charging what I thought was appropriate at the time, my rates are definitely not the same as they were when I started, but thats because you realise your worth/how much you should be charging for your time. I tend to look at it as a day rate, when working on a piece and work it out from there. As far as working for free now, if its a good cause or friend/family then I have no problem with that, but when its a client or company who should be paying, then absolutely not. Theres a lot of companies taking advantage of young illustrators out there, you get a lot of people saying ‘it will be great exposure for you’, and its generally not. Again, you have to weigh up if it really will be worth working on for free and what you will gain from it.
6. I have had my small share of projects for bands, and I’ve never seemed to have an unhappy client, but I can’t seem to get a reliable/steady flow of new work. How would you suggest I put my foot in the door?
-Theres really no stead fast rule with this, its more just about pushing away at it, If you keep doing good work that has something unique then people should take notice. You just have to work hard at it and keep going.

7. If my work is good, they will come. How do I know my work is ready? I’m always pumped about a drawing until the moment I post it. Friends and followers always give you the “you are so awesome!” pat on the back response, when I need pure and unbiased critiques. How did you know when you were “good”? 

-I think its only now that I consider some of my work ‘good’. As an artist you should always be critical of your own work, but you have to know when to stop working on a piece and what it is that makes your work ‘good’. Websites like emptees (now mintees) and bandjob really helped me about 5 years ago, as most of the people working in my genre/industry posted ip on there and it enabled a nice community to talk about work and give critique, websites like that really help as people aren’t afraid to say what they think over the internet.

8. What is your favorite candy?

-I like Mars Bars(Milky way in the US!) right now. and Kit Kats…

Examples of Dan’s work.

Protest the hero

Kingdom Of giants

Callahan

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