Oct 30, 2012
A little conversation with Christopher Lee
Some weeks ago, we featured some projects from Christopher Lee on our blog. I got really hooked on his style and ideas, so I decided to invite him to make this interview. Chris was kind enough to accept this new model of interview that the ABDZ team is proposing, we decided to focus more on the person on less on the professional, hope you dig it.
1) First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honor for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about how was the beginning of your career?
I started working in the graphic design industry when I was 18. I got my first internship at a small non-profit design company in Sacramento where I did everything from brochure layouts to simple spot illustrations for local businesses. They weren't great (they were horrible in retrospect), but it's where I began. The "portfolio" I had at the time consisted of a bunch of random Photoshop projects I had done in my senior year of high school but it was enough for them to see my potential. They definitely took a gamble on me. That internship turned into a job and I ended up staying at that company for five years. The jobs weren't glamorous, but during my stay, I learned all the skills that I needed to move on to the next chapter of my career.
2) Please share a picture of your workplace and tells us more about your daily routine.
I work from home so my schedule is extremely flexible. I don't really have a daily routine. I usually work most of the day (and into the evening when I'm working on larger projects) and I take breaks to run errands and take care of our dog. As long as I get my work done, then my day-to-day business doesn't really matter too much.
3) Beside your daily work, do you have any hobbies? Please share it with us. (Send us a picture of you while doing your hobby).
When I find the time, I like painting miniatures from Warhammer 40k as well as building/painting Gundam models.
I also enjoy playing air soft.
4) What you think are the next steps for you as a professional and as a person? And how do you see your creative area on the next 5 years?
I think I'm already on the right path. I always want to try new things and introduce new techniques into my work. I'm never satisfied with one particular style. That said, I'm not sure what my work will look like next year or in ten years. That's the exciting part for me.
In the next five years I hope to be more involved with the design community and maybe do some teaching via online tutorials or guest speaking at local colleges. I would like to give back in some form.
5) Please share five golden lessons you learned to this point.
1) You don't get better by doing work at "work". You get better when you experiment and work on your own projects on the side.
2) Always charge what your time is worth.
3) Never work for free or for favors.
4) In the beginning, no job is a small or inconsequential. They are all stepping stones to learn and move forward from.
5) Always love what you do.
6)What's the best thing about working on you business and what is the worst? Why?
The best thing may be the flexibility in my hours and that I am my own boss. My output is directly related to the effort I put in. That itself is a great motivator. Knowing my livelihood is dependent on how hard I work is very humbling and it always keeps the drive to do new things high. I also get to work and collaborate with some extremely talented people and creative minds. There is always something to learn.
The worst thing is probably thinking about the future. With design, you always have to fight to stay relevant. Which is one reason why I never want to stop evolving. There are a thousand people out there competing in the same industry for the same types of jobs and it's up to me to stick out enough to keep those jobs coming in.
7) Do you have any heroes? What make them your heroes? (please send us pics just in case they're not popular persons)
It might be weird, but I honestly don't have any personal heroes.
8) Tell us in one picture how you're feeling about your life right now (please send us the picture).
9) Now for some quick and short answers:
- Food: Spicy tuna on crispy rice.
- Animal: Boston Terrier. We have one so I'm biased :)
- Color: I'm a big fan of coral/salmon type reds right now.
- Tool: In the office, my Wacom Cintiq. In the garage, my Ryobi impact driver haha.
- Person: My girlfriend
- Place: Kyoto, Japan
- Song: "Dakota" by the Stereophonics
- Movie: Aliens
- Book: The Art of Pixar's Monsters, Inc
- Quote: "Draw to live. Live to Draw" - Invisible Creature
10) Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for the ones who are starting out on this kind of business, tell us something we should expect.
Take the initiative to really find your individual voice in this industry and never lose the love for what you're doing. Being successful in the design/illustration field is a combination of raw talent and a little luck so expect to pay your dues early on, work hard, and know that you may not land your dream client right away.