Sam Hadley Interview


After graduating from Falmouth University, Sam launched into a successful freelance illustration career. He’s worked on a huge variety of projects, from advertising and packaging to publishing and editorial. He’s inspired by classic movie posters and illustration from the mid century era, but chooses to create his work digitally.

He’s worked with clients all over the world (Coca Cola, Adidas, Time Out New York, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sony Music, Aardman, Rockstar) creating book covers, billboards, editorials, posters, and anything else an art director can dream up. As an experienced illustrator he's comfortable with the most challenging of projects.

Having recently worked with TBS to create a series of posters to promote the U.S. television series ’Search Party’, Sam is keen to continue this kind of work and would love to create posters for the film industry.

Sam has recently relocated from the U.K. to the beautiful south west of Ireland with his wife and two young children.

Tell us a fun fact about you I can make my eyes vibrate. More weird than fun but there you go.

How did you get into illustration? Comics and toys- especially the airbrushed Transformers on the toy boxes. I wanted to know how they'd been created, and as a kid I tried to copy them.


Who or what inspires you the most? Old masters with true understanding of lighting. Also illustrators who seem to just draw/paint on instinct in an un-selfconcious sort of way.

What does a typical day look like for you? I have young children- so I'm up fairly early for the school run. Then I do a normal 9-5ish day in my studio at home. I take a break and spend some time with the kids, have dinner etc then it's back to work until the small hours. I work long hours but I really enjoy it.

What do you do when you have a creative block? I usually have a few jobs on at the same time. If I get stuck on something I'll move across to another piece of work for a while and then come back to it. A change is as good as a rest or so they say. Resets the brain.


Top three clients you've worked with? I recently worked with the T.V. studio TBS on season one and two of a show called Search Party. I did ten posters for each season which was a lot of fun. I have a long standing work relationship with Taxi Studio, who are an excellent design/branding agency based in Bristol. Through them I've worked with a lot of great clients like Coca-cola and Adidas. I did a fun billboard for Madison Square Garden in NYC to promote their theatrical production of 'Elf'. They have a huge digital billboard on the side of the building and it was very satisfying to see my work up so large!

What tools (digital or not!) do you use to create your work? Pencil and paper for sketching obviously. But otherwise I work almost exclusively in Photoshop. Early on in my career I painted everything by hand on board but over the years I've migrated to the mac. Of course this has led me to want to do more by hand again, but as a commercial illustrator the deadlines often don't allow the time it would take to work that way.

What's your favourite resource for inspiration? I'm a sucker for instagram, but I follow a lot of artists who don't necessarily work in illustration.


Do you have any tips for artists thinking of doing freelance? Self discipline is key. [But a rumbling stomach and a mortgage to pay will concentrate the mind!]. I'd advocate a slow transition from employment towards freelance. It can be a precarious path and building up a portfolio and a reputation can be a long game. I have always been freelance since I graduated so I don't really know anything else. It is very rewarding to be fortunate enough to be able to earn a living doing something you love.

What would your dream project be? I'd love to do a proper old school Hollywood movie poster.

How can fans keep up-to-date with your work? Instagram


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