Andrew Nye is a vector illustrator from Manchester, UK. He is known for creating commercial illustrations for a mix of tech, financial, health, and entertainment companies.
“… Motivation is needed to push things forward. So I think it’s better if you really love what you do, cause you’ll be more driven!”
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Can you please tell us a bit about your background? Please add at least one random interesting fact about you.
Hello! I’m Andrew Nye – a vector illustrator, with an interest in conceptual design. I’m currently working on editorial and brand/advertising projects…
I’m originally a UK southerner, but moved north and currently live in Manchester UK.
I would say I started my illustration journey properly working as a brand designer in London after uni – I found out I was hired because the creative director was looking for designers with additional interests – (mine being digital illustration)…
I was working on identity projects in teams, I ended up frequently given the craft side of the project (which suited me great!) – illustrations, icons, brand patterns, and logo work…
I loved my team there and ended up following the creative director to his company The Clearing in London. I spent 6 years there – which was an awesome time – and gave me some great opportunities with amazing brands. But after 9 years in the branding, I still felt like I hadn’t tried my original passion… so a switch was made to illustration!
What inspired you to make art?
I’ve always been drawn to concept-based art – but really dug into it in uni…
Negative space logo designs, editorial concept illustrators (Yarek Waszul is probably my fave) and concept-based street art was really inspiring to me.
I researched a lot of graffiti artists… At the same time, I was learning Adobe Illustrator for my graphic design course… and I ended up trying to recreate airbrush style art in illustrator, which threw up some challenges, but helped me to learn the program!
When I worked on SHOP Magazine (a fashion/jewelry editorial) I began incorporating gold/shiny elements – for jewelry and removed the textures, which have been incorporated into my other work. I loved the contrast of matte and glossy effects together and enjoyed the process of creating vector work without the hassle of textures.
Did you study at art school(s) or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught in terms of illustration – I studied graphic design though. I started a general art course at a college before uni but didn’t like the vibe there. I made a snap decision to change course to graphic design two weeks in and I am so happy I did! I went into work after a couple of years in college – at a small ad agency – but it was fast and tough work, and there was not much creativity available working in tiny ad spaces… I honestly felt like I might not be ready for work after that experience!
I made another snap decision to go back to uni arriving two weeks late again to the start of the course! Because I was a little older I really focussed on my work and wanted to better prepare myself for the working world this time. It helped to have a tiny bit of industry knowledge before starting.
How did you develop your own art style?
At the moment I follow some amazing artists on Instagram – to-be-honest, that’s the main place I run into artists now. I do find sometimes it becomes a bit overwhelming though seeing so many great artists at once… it can become demotivating comparing yourself – so as addictive as it is I take breaks from it! I still dip into Behance alongside Dribbble.
How did you start making a living as an artist? What was your first paid art job?
SHOP magazine got me started properly, working on weekends while at my full-time design job. They became a regular commission and made me believe maybe I could do this full time. But when I made the jump I really only had them – so a long way off a working wage. It was a leap of faith!
But I had savings from 9 years working and decided if it didn’t work out it’d be a year out of work and then back into design. I also moved up north at that time – and it was amazing, but did become a bit overwhelming also. Still here 🤞
What do you live from as an artist now? What are your main income streams and what is the approximate % split of each?
Luckily 100% illustration at the moment! I have two agencies representing me: Making Pictures (UK) and Close&Closer (US) who bring me work. But when I made the leap, it was all direct business – a little design as well in the beginning – and I got lucky with a couple of recurring editorial jobs working directly with me and a couple of tech companies that kept the commissions coming in repeatedly. It was a rocky start though!
At times there have been dips in incoming work – I’ve learned to have faith that something comes in and not to worry too much. If commissions are slacking, the best thing I found to do is post some new work (commercial or personal) on Instagram and Behance… when I post on socials, that’s the most likely time I’ll get a new commission.
What are you currently working on?
It’s been a good year surprisingly with how the world is right now! I’ve been working with a mix of tech, financial, health, and entertainment industries. Unusually longer-term projects too – and a few briefs that own all the rights to the work – so I won’t be able to show it for a long time – something that I’ve not come across until this year.
What do you think are the most important characteristics of an artist?
Focus and self-drive. Motivation is needed to push things forward. So I think it’s better if you really love what you do, cause you’ll be more driven! But I imagine everyone has creative blocks at times. Definitely, the more you put out there, the more comes back… which is something I need to practice myself more!
What are the art tools and other products and services you can’t live without?
Adobe illustrator … the Gradient annotator!
What are your favorite art and other books (fiction, non-fiction)?
A Smile in the Mind – Still a really inspiring catalog of conceptual thinking
The Collected Works of Charles Fort – I have an interest in Sci-Fi and paranormal… super nerdy but very cool to read. Old (early 20th century) written accounts of strange happenings around the world!
What advice would you give yourself as a beginner artist? Or alternatively please include your favorite quote and the author.
Think about what process you enjoy the most, are happy spending a lot of time doing, and stick at it. Be patient, keep building, the more you put out the more will come back. And don’t forget to enjoy it! : )
Get in touch with Andrew
Thank you, Andrew, for joining us today!
All artworks by Andrew Nye, used with permission.