Ally to Watch: Ben Wills Design

U.K. artist Ben Wills has been designing most of his life. After his recent win in our Tom Chaplin design contest, we decided to find out a bit more about this creative Ally!

How did you feel after your Tom Chaplin win?

I was elated with the Tom Chaplin contest win because I love his music and grew up listening to Keane.

I create plenty of work I enjoy and feel proud of but things like this really stick with you!

Why are you a designer?

I’m obsessed with creating things and as a result, it makes me happy.

How did you get started?

Similar to a lot of other creatives, I always loved drawing and sketching logos from the age of 4. I decided to study Illustration at University and but spent most of my time networking and printing t-shirts to sell at Art fairs. Before graduation, I was very lucky and landed a couple of large commissions which helped kick-start my professional career. It all sounds quite straight forward and easy but there’s been a lot of sleepless nights and some low points but it’s all been worth it and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Right now, I’m in a really great place with my work.

What do you like best about being part of the Creative Allies community?

The Creative Allies community is a fantastic platform for someone like myself, as it offers creatives the chance to work with their favorite bands, which would be very tough to do alone.

How do you start your process for working on a piece?

After I get an idea, I sketch it up loosely, then ink in the lines, and then tweak it slightly or add a dash of color in digitally. I think the best ideas come when you’re not consciously trying too hard to think of them. It’s always handy keeping a small notepad on me at all times, especially in the bathroom! I can’t tell you how many ideas I’ve had whilst singing in the shower.

What kind of contests would you be really excited to see?

Bands that are looking for something different that could probably push you out of your usual comfort zone.

What does it mean to be creative?

Someone can be creative in almost any shape or form, weather it’s designing posters for bands, baking cute little gingerbread houses, or coming up with an alternative business plan for a large corporation.

Tell us about your design style. Where do you pull your  inspiration?

A lot of my inspiration comes from alternative band posters, album cover art, and graphic novels. I like to work mostly with ink and then use limited amounts of block colour which I then add digitally. In addition, I also love screen printing so my style is also shaped by creating work that would suit this traditional printing technique.

What are some of your favorite design tools?

Pencil and ink pen. Nice and old school.

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