I don’t know about you, but ever since I saw the work of M/M cofounder Christian Furr, I’ve been in awe of how a simple drawing – be it a sketch or a line drawing – can speak so much. It was as if Furr had a way of bringing the visual world to life through his drawings.
Furr is best known for his character work, which ranges from whimsical creatures to terrifying villains. His portfolio is filled with incredible creatures, including some that are quite possibly the best monsters ever drawn. This includes such villains as Pennywise from Stephen King’s It, which Furr drew in 2014; the Xenomorph from Ridley Scott’s Alien; and most notably, The Joker from the DC Comics. All three of these characters are instantly recognizable and have become some of the most iconic figures in their fields. And it’s all down to Furr’s ability to bring something unique to the table when it comes to character design.
Aside from character design, Furr is a renowned graphic designer. He started his own studio in 1979 and has since worked on everything from corporate identities to book covers. He is also well-known for his whimsical creatures; however, he has also designed some pretty scary creatures. One of his more recent designs is the villainous Pennywise for Netflix’s It, which we have talked about a bit already. The entire series is centered around a group of kids fighting off a pack of bullies led by the infamous clown.
I had the chance to speak with Furr about character design and how it all started, as well as his thoughts on the coming year in graphic design and storytelling.
How Does Graphic Design For You Begin?
When I was a kid, I always drew. My parents always made me feel that art was a necessary part of growing up. So for me, graphic design began as simply drawing and experimenting with colors. I would doodle and then move on to designing logos or packaging for companies. It wasn’t until much later on that I began to see the deeper meaning behind my designs. At that point, I had already designed quite a bit of work, so it wasn’t difficult for me to find my calling. Before long, I was doing all sorts of graphic design. For me, it’s all about having fun while also being able to communicate ideas and information clearly.
How Would You Describe Your Own Design Process?
For a while, I would do a lot of research online before starting a new project. I love diving into other people’s work and reading about their creative processes and how they arrived at their design decisions. This allows me to get a better understanding of how my own brain works and how I can adapt my process to fit my design needs. One great thing about this is that I can then apply what I’ve learned to future projects. The biggest part of my process is probably just drawing and experimenting with colors. Sometimes I’ll draw a quick thumbnails to get an idea of how a design might look or to figure out where to start layering. Then I’ll slowly move towards more detailed drawings with each new revision. Usually, I’ll do several revisions before I feel that the design is good enough; however, sometimes I’ll go back and forth a few times before landing on something unique and successful. There is no set process for me. It just depends on what I’m imagining and trying to bring to life.
Why Do You Think Pixar Is Such A Big Influence On Film And Design?
There is a reason why Pixar is such an influential company. Not only do they make incredible animated films, but they also hire the best creative minds in the industry to help bring their visions to life through animation. It’s almost like they have their own secret agency that finds the best people for the jobs they have and then cultivates their skills. I think a lot of people can learn a lot from Pixar’s films and design. Not only do their films always teach you a new thing, but they also make you question the status quo and think outside the box. It’s a combination of everything wonderful and stimulating.
How Does Graphic Design Play A Part In The Creative Process Of Film And TV Production?
In the past, graphic designers mostly worked on logos and packaging for companies; however, these days, they are more involved in the creative process of film and TV. Thanks to the advent of computers and the Internet, designers are now able to work remotely and make quick revisions to their designs. This is great for directors and producers who need someone to change a few things quickly and for the overall quality of the design. It also means that designers can work at every step in the production process, from pre-production all the way through to post-production. This is a great advantage for designers because it means they can add polish and a final touch of professionalism to their work. In fact, many times, graphic design is the final step in the creative process before the film or TV is sent to print or screened for an audience. It’s not always the case, but for the most part, graphic design helps to finish off the overall look and feel of a project; and that, as we’ve established, is nearly always important.
What Design Medium Do You Prefer?
I prefer Photoshop. It’s an invaluable tool for me. I am constantly using it to develop ideas and for the occasional simple task. However, I also love to go old school and use crayons, colored pencils, or even paint to doodle on a piece of paper. It really depends on what vibe I’m trying to create or what look I’m going for. Sometimes I will use all three together!
What Is Your Opinion On The Future Of Design?
Since the end of last year, there has been a huge shift towards design as a standalone field. Not only do more and more people consider themselves architects, but there are also a lot of freelance designers out there. The number of individuals or companies who offer professional services has increased by almost 20%. While this is great news for those who want to break into the field, it can also pose a problem for those already in it. This is because the competition is now much greater. Thanks to the growing number of freelancers, the going rate for basic designer services has increased by 15%. So, if you’re looking for work, you might have to start your own professional practice or become a freelancer yourself. Design is here to stay, and that’s a good thing. Everyone needs a creative outlet, and why not give it a go?