Robert Ball for Wired Magazine

In conversation with… Robert Ball

Every month we feature a different artist in our 3×3 Instagallery. This month, our artist in residence is designer., illustrator, stuntman and liar, Robert Ball.

So Rob, we’re a storytelling agency, how important is storytelling in your work?

Most of my work has to imply some kind of story, whether it’s a book cover that has to sell the inside pages, or an illustration to accompany an editorial piece it’s vital to try and get a sense of tone that’s in line with whatever my illustration accompanies.


What gets you inspired and in the mood to create something?

Deadlines, fear and black coffee!

On a more practical level, how do you produce your illustrations, and has this changed at all since when you first started?

It changes all the flipping time, because I don’t have the discipline to stick to a process, and because I’m always curious to try new things out. I used to work solely on the computer, no sketches, no nothing – straight in. As time has gone on I’m getting less and less digital. At the moment I’m doing a lot of upfront pencil sketches, and working through problems at an earlier stage, which means a lot of work at the start of the process that helps later on. At least in theory…


What would you love to see more of in the creative industries during the next five years?

Like everyone I want to see originality and risk taking, and as a member of the creative industries that has to start at home. I would like to be more original and take more risks!

Got any winning tips for upcoming creatives you wish someone had told you?

I started illustrating full time around my fortieth birthday, after working in branding for umpteen years. It can sometimes feel like your career is a self driving car the destination of which you’re unsure. You can change, explore other areas, take risks. You will be a more rounded and better creative because of it. Sabotage your career!


And last of all, what’s next? Any big plans for the near future?

I’m hoping to build a studio this year, fingers crossed. Ideally, I would like to pay someone to build it for me, of course. I’m a designer, I have no practical skills whatsoever!


Thank you Robert, good luck with the studio!

See more of Robert’s work at