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Ben Tallon on a career in drawing

Tallon

It’s as simple as asking to get commissioned in the creative industry, says a successful freelance illustrator – but in the age of digital communication, where one is just another username, the human element is key to being recognised.

Speaking about his recent book, Champagne and Wax Crayons, at Design Stuff Cardiff’s monthly talk this October, Ben Tallon cited the example of his break with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). “This business is built on relationships and people skills,” said Tallon, “A massive door opened for me when I became good friends with the creative director of WWE, who is originally from Bolton. We just had the northern connection – it’s these small things.”

Ben Tallon is a London based illustrator who has worked with The Premier League, Channel 4, Game of Thrones, World Wrestling Entertainment and Russell Brand

Ben Tallon is a London based illustrator who has worked with The Premier League, Channel 4, Game of Thrones, World Wrestling Entertainment and Russell Brand

Tallon explained to the young audience of aspiring designers that comradery existed amongst creative heads and if they liked one’s work “your name comes up” in conversation. This led to him being regularly commissioned by TV Guide for Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

Held at 10 Feet Tall, the crowd of 90 applauded Tallon for his words on adapting his loose, organic style to the different mediums, “I might be doing the same style of drawing, but in a template I never considered before. And if you can show that in your portfolio, then it makes it easier for a client to hire you.”

Though unusual for a professional this young to write a book on the “real side” of making a living in the creative industry, Tallon, in this short span (seven years), has become a successful illustrator, art director, costume and set designer, typographer and now a published author.

A story based format, the book at its heart is about doing something you love “explicitly for the love of it”. He said, that is what endears one’s personality and attracts more people than one’s commissioned work. It’s an honest tale of navigating the freelancing world and the sometimes unorthodox methods one adopts to be triumphant.

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