Graphic Designer, Artist and Entertaining Thing Maker
Here at Sounds et al we’re interested in different mediums, art forms, creativity and craft. A project we’re working on this year is talking to people in various industries including fashion, design and music, to try and better understand how they work.
Rory Doona is a graphic designer, comic illustrator and game artist, and has spent time living in both London and Tokyo, and is now based in Bristol, UK. Rory’s ‘Share Your Vulnerability’ comic mixes pop culture, politics and personal reflection, already building up 250,000 reads online. He’s now moving into video games, recently releasing a concept for Space Therapist – “can you save the galaxy by therapizing aliens?”
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m teaching myself game design and currently working on my first simple game. I also started a webcomic a few years ago and it’s been really popular, I’ve got around 4,600 subscribers and 250,000 reads so far. We’re in an amazing age where the tools and resources to make and publish our own work is accessible to most people, much like the internet allows new musicians to share and potentially monetize their music independently, the same is happening with games and webcomics.
Of course there’s a sting in the tail though that’s talked about a lot less, an over saturated market lowers demand, so the odds of making a living solely from it are stacked against me, that’s why I also freelance as an artist and designer for hire in the week.
What do you enjoy the most, and the least, about your work?
I enjoy the autonomy, mastery and purpose, I’ve read that it is these 3 things that make us happy at work and I can say it’s true from a personal perspective. There is a huge list of stuff I don’t enjoy, self promotion can be really tough and constant economic pressure for everything to be done as fast as possible and yet be simultaneously exceptional in quality is frustrating sometimes, but you can’t change the weather.
In what ways do you consider the end-use, or user, of your product?
I think it’s great to consider to who and what you’re communicating, artists tend to look inwards when making their work which has lead to art largely being considered a personal statement of abstract emotional feeling, I wouldn’t go as far as to say I disagree with this type of art, but I think it sets a very low bar for what can be achieved with visual communication. So to provide a less pretentious answer to your question – I consider my work as visual communication with a type of person in mind and with a message, these are variables that change on every project.
How do you work, or how do you approach your work?
If it’s a personal project I make the things I want to see exist, things that really excite me, but I also consider whether others really want it to exist, or are excited by the idea as well. If they don’t then why would I make it? It’s always better just in my imagination anyway. If It’s a paid job then I listen very carefully to the client and make sure it meets their expectations and communicates what they need, I don’t get emotionally attached to that stuff as I think it hinders my ability to deliver what they need.
I’m increasingly working with more strategy and less emotion, I used to think inspiration was worth acting on, I’ve since realised inspiration can be very transient and misleading, in the end the world doesn’t care about your effort, only the results of what you make.
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How has your work, or attitude to your work, changed since you began?
I started working as a graphic designer 10 years ago, I was interested in making things I felt looked good. Now I’m interested in making things that have good results. I used to define making a nice looking image as a success, but now whether it’s paid or a personal project, I see it as visual communication, there’s far more to that.
Finally, what stimulates your creativity, and what influences do you draw upon?
My creativity grows from boredom, suffering, fear, poverty and loneliness.
These days I’m a very creative person!
Find out more about Rory —