Hello and welcome to The Llama Post! I am very excited to be chatting with illustrator Aaron Jay, also known as Randy Otter. Aaron has built up an impressive range of design work and has worked with some great clients, including Specsavers to produce their ‘Spot the Difference’ campaign as well as designing a broad range of cute cards for Whale and Bird.
We love Randy Otter’s super cute designs, which often have an underlying rather subversive message. They are available online as prints, t-shirts and cards which are now available in select stores on the high street.
Can you tell us a little about your design background?
I have always been drawing from as young as I can remember, from putting pictures on the fridge to drawing characters for imaginary cartoon shows, I even drew over 600 of my own Pokémon over a summer holiday.
I studied fine art at school with a focus on still life gaining the necessary grades needed to go to university where I ended up studying illustration. I graduated four years ago and became a freelance illustrator straight out of university focusing primarily on t-shirt design and expanding from there.
The name Randy Otter came from fairly simple origins, as it was just something I had written on a pencil case for no real reason. I used it as part of my email address and as a gamer-tag for a few years and when I was In need of an alias the name just seemed to fit my style of work, being kind of silly and light hearted.
How would you describe your unique style of illustration?
I would describe my style as fun, happy and whimsical overlaid with an odd and sometime morbid sense of humour. The main goal with my work is to present a fun or interesting idea that will make the viewer smile. I like to communicate feelings and reactions for objects, animals and people that you would be unlikely to see occur in day to day life.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration for my designs can come from anywhere. I could be staring at the objects on my desk and suddenly I am imagining a scenario playing out between them which I think would work well for a design, other times I may be doing something unimportant when an idea just pops in to my head that I then just have to draw. The last and probably the least fun way I get inspiration for my designs is when I just sit brainstorming for hours scribbling down ideas until something clicks.
Who are your all time design heroes?
I always struggle with this question as I have a hard time picking anyone out, I never really looked up to one designer and aspired to them. I would say my friends and fellow designers have had a far more important effect on my development and continue to do so.
What advice would you give aspiring graphic designers?
First off I would say to work and draw continuously, always be trying to improve your craft in any spare moment you may have. I would also say to make sure you get your work seen, it’s all well and good producing great images but if you aren’t making an effort to get your work viewed and appreciated then it is almost pointless doing it at all.
Lastly take time off! Party, drink beers and enjoy life, for me at least burnout is a real thing and I always feel like I am producing better work after letting off a little steam.
Finally, where would you like to see Randy Otter in the next few years?
At the moment I would love to get a book out. I am currently flooding my notebook with concepts to try and find the right idea to follow up on; hopefully I can get something started in the New Year.
Following on from that I would love to have some short animations and perhaps some Randy Otter branded toys.
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