Drew Southwell truly is a Renaissance man. He currently plays for an Australia-based alternative pop band called Drawing North, who have been endorsed by Joel Madden of Good Charlotte and played at Vans Warped Tour Australia. On top of contributing vocals, piano, drums, synths and guitar to the band (no way!), Southwell is a graphic designer responsible for Drawing North’s visual content, including album art, flyers and logos. He has also done outside work in the entertainment and fashion industries for “James Bond,” the 2016 Australian Bachelorette, clothing line ASILIO and much more. We were lucky to get an inside look at Southwell’s busy life in this exclusive interview.
[FIDM Digital Arts] 1. What does being a graphic designer mean to you?
[Southwell] “I grew up as a very visual person. I was drawing before I started learning music and I always said as a child that I wanted to work for Disney. As I grew up and found a love for music, it was a great medium for me to incorporate my design. I loved that I could control the creative aspect of the music and also the visual content. As far as graphic design on its own, I love being able to work with a brand or a company and develop a visual style to compliment and grow their business. It’s a really fulfilling feeling to walk around a city and see a bustling cafe with my design and branding all over it. I love being able to do that for a client.”
2. How do you find inspiration for designing art with a musical background?
“The musical background actually helps a lot. Different songs evoke different feelings and I actually picture various colors and shapes when I’m listening. It’s also an incredibly visual industry so with every song, there is always artwork incorporated. Some of my favorite artists and songs have inspired my own work through either their music or art.”
3. What made you want to pursue graphic design?
“I wanted to initially do drawing and as I grew up and everything became digital, I figured I should learn how to design. I studied at my local technology university and then taught myself a large amount of what I now know. It’s actually been an enormous blessing in disguise because I can work from anywhere in the world. With music, I travel a lot but that doesn’t hinder my ability to create and work with new clients.”
4. What has been the most rewarding part about being a graphic designer?
“Being able to create my own art that goes with my music. It’s fun when people realize I wrote a song and created the artwork myself. I take pride in the entire creative process and I’m lucky enough that I have the ability to do it all. Another reward is the fulfillment from creating a brand that a client loves. There’s no greater feeling than helping other people and when that’s achieved, I feel like I’ve done a good job.”
5. Are there similarities between graphic design and music or are they different?
“There definitely is. The biggest similarity would be between designing, say, a poster and producing/writing a song. With both I start with the foundation, or backbone, eg. the beat and the chord progression for music and the background and color scheme for design. I then build on both until I have something solid, adding finishing touches like additional melodies or additional textures. It’s essentially the same process with different elements, which is great because I feel like I get better, the more I do both!”
6. Who else do you design for?
“I’ve worked with numerous clients throughout my career, some that stick out would be the “2016 Australian Bachelorette,” “James Bond: 007 Spectre” (merchandise), finalist on “The Voice (USA)” and merchandise design for fashion label ASILIO. My favorite work to do is definitely illustration. I love doing detailed drawings and then converting them into digital pieces.”
Drew Southwell Design’s Website: http://drewsouthwell.com/
Follow Drawing North:
Drawing North’s Website: http://wearedrawingnorth.com/