Posted Sep 26th 2010 by

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An interview with
Georgios Xanthoswords by , September 2010

Georgios Xanthos! A talented illustrator from sunny Greece. His work is full of colors and weird creatures that enjoy life. We totally love his new personal project “The Daily Finger” and also “The Greek Crisis Explained” animations for which he created amazing characters! We finally found him somewhere around, and made him say everything we wanted to know… And we wish him good luck on his transition from Greece to UK!

Hello George! How are things for you in sunny Greece?

Hello! Things are crazy right now! I am actually doing some packing up while I’m writinh this. Oops! I meant writing. I am really excited to tell you that I will be relocating in London in a few days! It’s a big deal for me returning again to England after all these years, a life changing decision really. I am always up for a challenge and I could not say no to this one.

I will have to work on toughening up against the cold though :)

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and WeirdInk in few words?

Right! I was born in bred in a small village called Platanos, spend my childhood and teenage years there, but I guess my daily drawing in the class didn’t help me being a doctor or an attorney! After finishing school I decided to take a course in Graphic Design, which I did in Vocational Institute of Applied Arts in Volos. So after the completion of my studies, I won a scholarship and flew straight to UK and Nottingham Trent University to study for a Bachelor in Graphic Design.

That’s what I thought, at least! But as the course was advancing and more modules were introduced to us, right away I knew I wanted to do illustration and character design! And that’s how the “Weirdink” moniker was born.


Drink Yer Milk

There was an assignment in my 3d year where it was about storytelling and bookmaking. So I came up with an illustrated story called The Weird Ink People. It was about some strange doodle dudes that live in my pens and come out every time I use it. It went down very well, my tutors loved it and I loved the idea of making an alter ego for my self, Weirdink sounded so nice the first time I thought about it!

What was your motivation to become an illustrator?

I guess, the environment I was brought up into in the first place. And the fact that I hail from an artistic family as well. My great grandfather was a great accordion player, my uncle was the person who gave me the first tips on painting and drawing, and my mother was a fashion designer.


The Daily Finger Exhibition

I still organize my “treasure hunt expeditions” every time I visit my mom and grandma in my family home. And I keep finding stuff I drew from every age I went through, my mom always stood by me and endorsed my efforts.

What is the process you are following to create a character?

Aha! Magician’s code, sorry cant tell! Well, as with anything being created, firstly you have to research. Observing is one of the most important skills in my opinion. Then you have to decide. What is it gonna look like? How does it sound? What about its temper? Can it walk? Where does it live? What does it eat? Things like that.


Retro Ape

I have this enormous pile of daily sketches and doodles I do. I go through them every time I research for a new character. These pages are filled with things that are full of leisure, these are sketches that I am doing in my free time, that’s why I believe that makes them special and important intergrating them in my creative process. And you can find all sorts of gems everytime!

Then you go on to the paper, and put down all kinds of doodles. Some are loose, some are tight. Some of them you crumple. And from then on it always looks like two things: Beside your feet there’s a graveyard and near your hands there is a beauty pageant. And not a single time are there two winners in the end!


The Daily Finger

So when you kinda know from your refined sketch how it is gonna look, and it’s just a matter of time to render it accordingly to it’s requirements, whether it’s a character that is gonna be animated in 3d or After effects and sometimes Flash.

But its a loving process every single time. Ups and lows, problems rising, problems being solved. It’s magical!

Which is your favourite piece artwork and why?

It is always the new piece, the one that is waiting for me to create. This happens naturally in the process of exploring yourself and the set of skills you are honing. I am always eager to find more and more about what I can actually achieve.

The Little Bird Project

What is your favorite cartoon character?

I always loved the Pink Panther! It always amazed me how ingeniously stylized it is. But its a long list. The Martian, Tigra from Thundercats, Mr Magoo. They have all made it in my personal hall of fame.

What is your favourite place on earth?

I’ve visited a few places in the world and I love travelling. Each one has it’s own beauty. But to me, its all about the people that surround you. These people can turn any place into your favorite one.


Soundcreature. Work done for Nomint Athens.

If you were a song, what song would you be?

Ok, so you shoot straight to my soft spot here. I could waste my time making lists, crossing out songs and switching places. No. So I guess, and it’s mainly due to my love for playing the claw hammer banjo, I would be a rough and passionate claw hammer banjo noodle, full of improvised moments and all. The kind of song that you never play exactly the same way every time.

An illustrator you love?

Without any hesitation, Mr Jim Flora. I am a huge fan of his wide range of work. The man is a fountain of inspiration and has been my hero for a long time.

What are your future plans?

Right now I am in full-time freelance mode! Apart from working for motion design and animation projects, there are so many great things i plan to get my hands on, like a video game starring a diamond holding a sword and a shield (wink wink), a new picture book filled with not too old pictures of tentacled entities, more exhibitions and anything else that sneaks in my list.


The Greek Crisis Explained. Work done for Nomint Athens.

Have you been part of any exhibitions lately?

I was really happy to be among the artists that participated in the Zootrope Exhibition in Athens. I was there exhibiting a selection of my Daily Finger characters. It was great fun!

Where can we see some of your work?

I thought you would never ask! My new portfolio site is launched and waiting for you all! And when you are done you can always come by The Daily Finger, a blog dedicated to my ongoing side project. It’s about me drawing stuff on my smartphone on the way to work.

Check out more of Georgios’ work over on his site, and follow his blog over at The Daily Finger.


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