Craig McCann, aka Fishink, is an illustrator and surface designer living and working on the edge of Manchester, close to a large expanse of land called the Ees. Forests and fields are all 5 minutes from his door, as well as the Manchester shipping canal, and he feels lucky to live so near this and still only be a 20 minute train ride from the city, and Manchester’s rich culture.
He works out of his small studio there, which he loves – it’s a sunny space, and he spends most days working at his Mac or drawing in sketchbooks, or using created textured papers to make new illustrations and characters.
Craig’s surface designs are a mix of hand drawn shapes digitally manipulated, and vector graphics. His colours are sweet and fresh, and you will often find cute animals and birds scampering in and out of his designs.
Always drawing or making something, Craig says he had a busy childhood. He remembers one time making a cardboard theatre with several different sets, scenery and players, and another time he made a whole village for some little handmade characters to live in. Endless hours were also spent drawing and painting his musical favourites – The Eurythmics, Kate Bush and Blondie.
He says he has a huge range of influences, which is one reason he blogs – he loves sharing all the amazing stuff he finds. He is especially fond of vintage children’s illustrations, and mid-century design, but is equally enchanted by many contemporary illustrators and artists (you can check his blog here). Some of his favourites include artists in the St.Jude’s group – Angie Lewin, Emily Sutton, et al; illustrators such as Oliver Jeffers, Chris Haughton and John Burningham. His good friend and papercut artist Sarah Morpeth gets a special mention for her intricate books, sculptures and wall pieces.
Craig is happy applying his designs to all sorts of surfaces – stationery items, ceramics, fabric – and is currently working on a range for use on children’s furniture.
He thinks the best attitude to work and life is to always believe in yourself, and keep
trying new ideas; every now and then, try to look at things from a different or unexpected perspective to keep ideas fresh.