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Making a comic with Mr Gordo

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From creating weird and wonderful illustrations on demand, to making our Awesome Merchandise comic dreams come true, with the help of a trusty Biro Mr Gordo has built up a reputation as a king of doodles.

So when he dropped by for a morning of filming, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down and soak up his words of wisdom.

Words of wisdom from Mr Gordo


This was the first comic you’ve ever made. What would your top tip be for someone thinking of making a comic?

Definitely go through and refine your story before getting deep into the illustrations.

You ideally need a strong storyline already set out to draw from and get reference from. Our storyline was originally quite loose and we defined the story as we went along.

Is there anything else that you’d go back and do differently now?

I would maybe refine some of the characters and try to make bring sub-characters into it even more. We were trying to do a timeline of Awesome Merchandise’s history and I think it achieves what it needed to in a really interesting, fun way.

You do your own illustration work around your full-time job. Is there any reason that you decided to do this rather than go freelance?

I constantly work outside of my day job and just keep going at it. It keeps the time I have outside of work busy with projects and creates a nice balance. I think if I were to dive in to freelance life now, there wouldn’t be that security net and unfortunately everyone needs money.

I would’ve liked to have tried it younger, maybe straight after university when it’s easier to take a bigger leap. Especially now, younger people tend to have built up their social media, which helps.

Do you think social media plays a big part in success for illustrators now?

Definitely. I see illustrators on social media now who I admire and then realise that they’re still at university. When I was at uni there wasn’t really any platform for arts like Instagram.

Apart from social media, how did you pick up commissions and gain exposure when you were starting out?

I did  a lot of gig posters for a long time. That just came about through my lifestyle and having friends in bands. You need to  get out there and plug your services, but make people aware that this is what you want to do and ask them to let you have free reign.

I got into doing a lot of gig posters and things I found fun like that because I would do it for nothing, or very cheap if they would let me do whatever I wanted. Everyone wins in a way.

Do you see Instagram as an important part of what you do?

I think it’s the only way i’ve got these regular, weird commissions coming in that keep me entertained with the drawing side of things. Websites are dying out as artist portfolios now and Instagram is taking over. It’s the thing that will get seen first and the biggest shout out that an illustrator can have, especially when you’re starting out.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 15.45.21

Do you think it’s important to collaborate with other people?

I think collaboration and doing swaps is a big thing. I did a lot of swapping with people I liked. I used to do this thing where I would draw part of a drawing, post it to someone and then they would finish it and post it back.

I wouldn’t have been doing this project with Awesome Merchandise without the power of collaboration. I started out working with Awesome Merchandise originally by doing a bookmark. I wouldn’t have thought then that one bookmark would turn into temporary tattoos, then goody bags, and then the comic. To me it’s  a really nice example of a collaboration which has turned into something bigger and hopefully there will be more to come.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d been given when you were at university? 

Now more so than ever you can see illustration as a career. I guess when I was younger nobody would tell me to step aside and just focus on illustrations. If you want to be an illustrator, then make it’s your life goal to become an illustrator. Just do it.

If you’re so into your art and your creative outlet, you’ll naturally be doing it anyway. So it just comes down to not being afraid to put it your work there.

 It’s hard to do sometimes because you feel like once you put it out there you’re going to be critiqued. You just need to be confident.

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