The Interview Series: Illustrator Andy Carolan, CorelDRAW user, Norwich, Norfolk, England

Andy Carolan and I are both illustrators and graphic designers – and CorelDRAW Graphics Suite users.

I came to notice Andy via the public official COREL community forum www.coreldraw.com. We have come to know each other a bit, and we tweet each others form time to time.

I personally like and enjoy Andy´s work and its a pure pleasure for me that he like to participate in my ongoing interview series. in which I personally interview people & professionals who touch the same business like myself. He is also the first interviewed who is not a beta tester of CorelDRAW and Corel Photo-Paint, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. But with no further ado, I present to you – Andy Carolan

Your Name:
My name is Andy Carolan


What type of work do you produce?

Well, I like to consider myself multidisciplinary but my main focus is cartoon illustrations including comics, character development and mascots. I don’t limit myself however and have also produced logos, artwork for craft products and promotional material, even a popular board game.


You like myself is a user of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. What was it that made you discover and ultimately drew you to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite?

I have used several versions of CorelDraw over the years and am currently using X5. The main reason that I am attracted to Corel Draw Graphics Suite is that the tools are very powerful, yet intuitive. With Corel Draw, I find that I can do my work without the software getting in the way. Actually, it helps make my workflow easier in many ways

What year was it?

It believe that it was around 2004 that I discovered CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

Which computer software do you use, Corel and none-Corel programs?
Well, I use Corel Graphics X5 as my main go-to suite, but I also use Corel Painter 12 for much of my bitmap work. I find Painter is especially good for sketching and building characters, scenes and ideas. I then either transition across to Corel Draw for vector work or carry on building the work in Painter if it would be more appropriate for the piece to be finished as a bitmap. I also occasionally use Artrage and Photoshop. I would also like to mention Evernote as I find it invaluable for planning projects and keeping files and information all in one place.


Do you use any non-computer aided tools in conjunction with your work?

I mostly work digitally but I do sketch using traditional paper and pencils as I can do that just about anywhere.

Which year did you start your business?

I started working as a freelance illustrator in 2007.

Would you recommend CorelDRAW Graphics Suite?

Most certainly a huge YES! I cant imagine using anything else for my work. I have tried the ‘other’ software, but found that it simply wasnt as nice to use as Corel Draw Graphics Suite.


What made you begin working with the work you do today?

I had been in retail sales for sometime and needed a change as the industry I was in was changing rapidly. So I decided to do something that had always made me happy. I really am living the dream. Sometimes I have to remind myself how lucky I am being in this industry.

What is it that you like with your work?

I especially like the fact that each day has the potential of bringing a different project with it. I also enjoy the freedom of expressing my own creativity in the work that I do. This is the type of work that I enjoy the most.

In an interview in the Digital Artist Magazine (it seems to have been renamed Fantasy Artist), who interviewed me a few years back, I was asked what I would like to see in future versions of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. Is there anything you would like to see?

For me, Corel Graphics Suite currently has all the tools that I need. I feel that the biggest improvement that Corel could make to the suite at this point would be to Bitstream Font Navigator. Introduction of new font management features such as user defined groups perhaps?


Do you drink coffee or tea in the morning?

I have for a long time started my day with coffee, but I’m now trying to move over to Camomile Tea.

What do you think is important to think about running your own business or in your line of work. Is it discipline or and something else?

There are many things that are important in this line of work but I feel that you really have to genuinely enjoy what you do as your emotion is naturally visible in any work produced.

For someone just starting out, what do you think they should think about?

Develop your own style and be unique in your work. Try to offer something that others cannot.


Is there any big change in how and what you worked with when you first started out. Have the business changed in any way?

Although the Internet has been around for a while now, I have found in recent years that more online tools and services have been introduced that make communicating and working with others around the world far easier and more rewarding. I have met many of my current clients via Twitter and have found that various services linked to the social network make it a great place to promote my work. There are also opportunities using services such as Etsy for selling unique pieces and Shutterstock for stock images.

You being a comic artist as well, what do you think about self publishing comics?

It’s not something I have actually done myself, but I feel that it is a great idea. There are lots of talented artists and storytellers out there and self publishing is a great way for their work to be distributed. Although eBooks are now very popular, there is nothing like reading from a traditionally printed comic.

When creating comics, anything you particularly think is important to have in mind?

I feel that the story being told is the most important part of any comic, no matter whether it is a single panel or a series of books. Some of the best comics that I have read have been relatively simple in design yet draw the reader into the story. It is no good to simply rely on illustration, no matter how good it is, you also need to be a good story teller.

You are from Norwich. Now had you been from Nottingham I could have asked you about the Robin Hood forest. Is there any local historical figure in Norwich you like to bring up? Any forests around?

Nottingham really is a lovely place, I have visited there a number of times and yes, I have been to Robin Hood forest. There are a few historical figures linked with Norwich, including the novelist Anna Sewell who was born on the Norfolk coast. She lived in a small village called Old Catton when she wrote “Black Beauty”. What used to be her house is about 15 minutes cycle ride from where I live. One of the hobbies I enjoy is Mountain Bike riding and I love to cycle with my wife on the trails in our local forests. Its a great way to unwind and enjoy the countryside and get some exercise 🙂

And lastly back to coffee. Do you like myself go out and brainstorm and sit and work at cafés. And if so, do you bring only a sketchbook and pens or do you even bring the Wacom tablet?

I do visit cafés, I love getting away from my desk for a while and enjoy being among others. I generally use the time to plan projects and respond to emails.Although I have tried sketching on an iPad, I still prefer to sketch out ideas in a moleskine 🙂

Thank you Andy, always nice to talk to you!

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, graphic designer

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