Cover Profile: Daniel Savage

Cover Profile: Daniel Savage

February’s FFF cover image was created by Los Angeles based designer & animation director Daniel Savage. He took the time to answer some of our questions about his work.

Tell us a little about you.

I’m from NY but recently moved to LA with my wife. We have a dog named Pinot Dogio. I’m a Leo. I went to college for drums but quit to make dumb pictures instead.

How do you approach a new project like this cover illustration?

When it’s an open brief I usually do a variation on something I’ve been exploring on my own. So these characters climbing on top of each other has been evolving over the past few months. It’s sort of a reaction to my NYC -> LA migration. I still walk everywhere and I’m usually the only person on the street. It’s peaceful but I sometimes miss the chaos, so I’ve been adding it to my drawings.


How does this compare to your approach to client work?

I try to be clever with my client work. So I’m usually trying to find a visual pun or metaphor to express within the thing I’m designing for, whether thats an article or an ad. I try to be obvious about it in a smart way. The personal work is more abstract and open to interpretation.

Do you try to get feedback from the client at an early stage?

I’d say it varies. With animation it can be more of a collaboration, sharing the process as it goes. With illustration once they pick a sketch I like to show something I’d be fine with going to print.

Do you focus on one project at a time or are you a multi-tasker?

Right now I count 5 at various stages, they are all relatively small so it’s not too much to manage. Plus I run Mixed Parts.


Do you think it’s important to find time for personal projects and why?

It’s important if you enjoy it. I know plenty of people with admirable careers who never do personal projects.

What do you listen to while you work?

Usually nothing. I can’t think while music is on. If I do have music on its mostly jazz like Coltrane or Monk. Or something folky like Doc Watson.

What would be your dream project?

If we’re talking hypothetical, I have a billion dollars to do anything I want? I guess I’d design a theme park or a kids museum. But it would be reminiscent of old Disneyland, politically incorrect and unsafe.


What’s your workspace like?

It’s the second room in my LA apartment. I had a separate studio space in NYC but now I have a big apartment and I like to avoid traffic. It’s a total disaster right now so no photos.

What do you do to switch off?

I see stand up comedy at least once a week. It’s an escape for a couple hours and any bullshit you were stressing about vanishes.

Finishing off with a classic but always useful question, what’s the most important piece of advice anyone has given to you about your work?

“Freak your key frames” Salih Abdul-Karim showed me how to add exaggeration and contrast to my animation when I was 21.

Glenn Garriock

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