Guy

Shield

My name is Guy Shield.

I think of myself as an obscenely technically-minded person who was put on this planet to file tax returns, but got derailed into drawing for a living. One of the most formative experiences of my career was ditching the security of my full-time job to become a freelance illustrator.

I make illustrations for magazines, books and advertising. I can’t imagine not spending my days drawing for a living.

My work is all about using colour and shape to tell interesting stories. What interests me most about illustration is its ability to tell stories that other mediums can’t and its intrinsic ability to convey so much with so little.

I’m most known for silly levels of detail and dense light you could cut with a knife.

The key to my success as an illustrator is proactiveness, efficiency and a heavy amount of guilt when I’m not at my desk.

I grew up in Richmond, but I now live in Northcote, where someone with a big beard is probably brewing kombucha for Boston terriers. I studied graphic design at RMIT in Melbourne. It lead to a career in publishing where I learned how to be on either side of the illustration fence. As it turns out everyone is a goddamn graphic designer—I yearned for a career that fewer people could do for a living.

I spend a lot of time cooking, because when I’m not drawing I like to keep my hands busy and my stomach sated.

The three things currently inspiring me the most are Yoshida Hiroshi’s woodblock prints, Adrian Tomine’s graphic novels, and watching my son taking in the brand new world around him. While I’m not doing client work, you can probably find me kicking it with my son Lachlan.

The best thing about working on commercial projects is collaborating with creative people all over the world to help tell visually arresting stories, no matter how small.

Here’s a recent banner I created for Prism Printing. I loved working up the colour and texture in this piece along with the early morning lighting.

One of my favourite projects recently was a series of billboards I created for World Vision. The brief was such a strong concept and it was great to work on something meaningful.

One of my all-time favourite projects was created for Drinkwise. I worked with another illustrator and Flutter to create a series of awesome animated TVCs and billboards.

I really loved working with Kill Your Darlings on most of their covers. I’ll always remember the quarterly freedom to depict whatever I wanted to create an engaging cover image for each release.

Here’s another piece I’m really proud of. It was created for The Ride Journal.

Not long ago I created this editorial piece about sex trafficking at Cannes for The Hollywood Reporter. It was great to work on a serious subject and provide a cinematic styling to the narrative.

Most of my work starts with a variety of digital sketches and concepts, either depicting a variety of scenes, or the one scene from a variety of angles, determening which composition tells the narrative the most engagingly. Then I refine the work digitally in Adobe Photoshop, tightening up the linework, adding in colours and then creating a sense of depth to the illustration by adding layers of shading and highlights.

I often get asked how much of my work is digital. The answer is that most of it these days is digital, if anything for the speed and flexibility it offers. I still love working with brush and ink, however deadlines aren’t always supportive of that endeavour and there’s no undo button!

People are often surprised to learn how quickly I can work for the amount of detail is depicted in my scene, here are some of the pieces I’ve turned around in a day.

Lately in my personal work I’ve been exploring short animation loops and more interesting compositions.

I’m really excited to experiment more with animation because I love telling stories through time. Recently I’ve been playing around with Procreate to see if I can work more mobile.

I’ve always wanted to work with Mondo. I think something like this would make a great movie poster.

If you want to find out even more about me, here are some recent interviews about my practice by The Conversation, Kill Your Darlings and The Wheeler Centre.

Here is a video offering an in-depth look at my processes.

That’s me! If you want more, check out my full folio and Instagram. Got a brief? Contact me and the good folks at Jacky Winter.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.