Gospel According to Hughes - Hughes began by telling us a story from way back before he'd made much of a name for himself. He had taken 2 days to drag a huge slab of drift wood 4 miles up the coast back to his car. Within which time, he had had to steal it back from picnickers and hide it with more effort. The need for the wood? To pin one of his untreated dead seagulls to and present to a client. They bought the piece (but subsequently destroyed it, much to Hughes dismay, upon discovering it to be alive with maggots). He also told us of how as a child he had taken a school trip (to the National Museum of Health and Medicine I suspect)and how he had been so totally engrossed in drawing a jar of conjoined twins. He had stayed with the exhibit long after his class had moved on. I suspect the point of all this was to communicate that obsessions had been the fuel of his influence and inspiration. It was a topic he referred back to throughout the presentation. Something that every practicing speakers' talk I've attended this semester has touched upon. It was thought provoking in the least, and made me wonder about my own obsessions, and reflect on how they have affected my own work.
"The idea really is the most important and dictates the drawing."
Traveling chronologically, his next big break-through in understanding his own process came when he'd forced a tight deadline upon himself. Left with no more time than to make one attempt at illustrating the endpapers for his first children's book, he acted spontaneously. Where in the past he would have light-boxed his work several times per stage in the process. To his surprise, and no doubt relief, he'd achieved a result that both he and his publisher where overjoyed with. At this point on Hughes work changed drastically, and larger commissions began to come in. He worked regularly for major national and international editorials.
"leave it to the last minute... Just as the office is being locked, slide it under the door"
Hughes often through no decision of his own continued to have restrictions posed upon his working methods. Working small for stamps, ruining entire finished pieces through mishaps with spray-mount, having work rejected or deemed offensive. And of course, coming time and time so close to missing deadlines to be forced into the digital world via email or photoshop.
So this is what I have extracted from Mr Hughes visit. Utilize obsessions to your advantage, embrace spontaneity and serendipity and of course the stress of a tight deadline.