How Colin Bunner uses Adobe mobile apps for his illustrations

We’re on the lookout for artists using Adobe mobile apps to facilitate their creative process and enhance their work, and Colin Bunner is a great example of someone who’s started experimenting with them – and now he just sees them as part of his own workflow. His project ‘Nicey Micey Cat Food’ caught our attention, and we caught up with Colin to talk a bit more about it, his work and how he sees the illustration process evolving. This is a summary of that conversation, which has been edited for clarity.

You define yourself as a “quirky digital illustrator with a leaning towards children’s content”. What is it that you enjoy the most about designing for children?

Drawing for kids is fun! I love the fact that you can illustrate an everyday task using animals, add humour and generally let your imagination run wild. I’m still a big kid inside and it’s an opportunity to really push the boundaries with your ideas, however crazy they might be. It’s also the only style of illustration (with a few exceptions) where the image is just as important as the text it supports and is therefore generally more appreciated. Kids want to be entertained and have no preconceived ideas about what visual boundaries exist. It’s the illustrator’s job to facilitate those visual boundaries.

Which apps have you used so far? Do you have a favourite one?

I’ve probably tried them all, but I keep coming back to the drawing apps: Adobe Illustrator Draw and Adobe Photoshop Sketch. I’ve probably used Adobe Sketch more because I’m using it primarily as a sketch book and for developing ideas on the go. I use a number of styluses depending on which app I’m using. I love the fact that I can sketch on my phone while travelling on the train in Adobe Draw, develop it further when an iPad is more appropriate and then finally take the same sketch into Illustrator on a desktop machine.

How do you feel your routine has changed or will start changing with the Adobe mobile apps? For example, is a walk on the street just a walk on the street anymore or do you tend to stop and capture more things you find interesting, and more often?

Since the apps were released I’ve found myself drawing more without having to search around for a pencil and paper. I always carry a phone and can now sketch whenever I have an idea, by using the Adobe mobile apps. In the same way there are more people taking photos than twenty years ago because of the flexibility a phone camera brings – which can only lead to more creative work! Creative ideas materialise when you least expect them, but if you have the tools at hand, the ideas will have the chance to develop.

Preferred sketching canvas – Photoshop Sketch, classic notebook or a mix of both?

I love drawing on paper, it’s the most natural medium in the world, but if there’s an app that can recreate the experience I’ll be the first to embrace it. Basically I don’t have the space to store all the work I want to produce. A few years ago I had to declutter during a move and found 20 years’ worth of old sketch books and bits of art, taking up real estate which were unlikely ever to see the light of day. It was a life changing moment. Sketch books are great but where do you keep all that paper? I would much rather have the same experience using just a mobile device and a stylus with only minimal deprivation to my digital storage and instant access to publish online.

What hardware do you use to bring your illustrations to life, both on desktop and mobile?

I work my ideas out on the iPad using an Adonit Jot Touch Styli. These days I’m trying to work exclusively through a digital process. When I have a finished sketch I import it into Adobe Illustrator and then build the composition using the pen tool. My hardware at this stage is an iMac and Wacom tablet. I’m a Mac devotee. I think the Apple Pencil could really change our approach to the way we draw in the future.

We love knowing how artists are making things happen. So what are you working on right now?

Aside from commissions, I’m always working on personal projects with some developing more than others. I’m about to start illustrating a children’s book that my wife is writing. It’s early days but it’s an exciting long term project. She also gave me the idea for the ‘Nicey Micey Cat Food’. Our cats wouldn’t eat their expensive cat food but would prefer a take away from the woods. “Why doesn’t anyone make mouse-flavoured cat food?”, she would ask.

If you could go back to when you started and give yourself a piece of creative advice, what would it be?

Think more, look more, listen more – draw more!

About Colin Bunner

Colin is a UK-based, quirky digital illustrator, visual designer and animator with a leaning towards children’s content.

Check out his work on Behance.