Sitting in a church meeting practicing life sketches, illustrator Andrew Beck, of Mesa’s Valley View Ward, uses one of the speakers or the child in the next pew as his model. In this, he is as Victor Hugo, who wrote something every day.
Andrew’s message is that if you love something, you’ll be good at it. He says, “I want kids to think about what makes them happy and eventually think of how they can make it a living.” Andrew believes it’s possible for everyone.
Andrew marches to the beat of an artistic and creative drum. He explains his drive for art by saying, “I’ve got to be doing something creative since it’s a source of happiness for me.”
His mother, a single parent, valued his opportunities to explore the world around him and to find his interests. She opened up as many opportunities for him as possible.
Basketball wasn’t his thing. As for piano, Andrew explains, he always detested the lessons, but now he’s grateful for this foundation. In high school, he was in rock bands, playing guitar, keys, bass, drums, singing and writing songs. He and his friends enjoyed script writing and filmmaking. Through it all, Andrew always drew.
He’s married now, and a young father. Mostly his work these days is made up of editorial illustrations, which are drawings that accompany stories in magazines or newspapers. Companies give him a concept and he works to encapsulate that idea into an image that draws the viewer in. Currently he is working on an animation project for ESPN.
Some work he receives comes from his agent, who receives a 30% of commission, and some from his personal contacts. His work varies based on projects; spot illustrations, he’ll produce 3 to 4 in a week, but bigger projects take about a month at a time. Some larger projects will last 4-5 months, while portraits which include no ideation, he’ll do often. For portraits, his goal is to make faces look remarkable using geometric styles.
Andrew credits his graphic design courses at BYU for helping him capture the principle of conceptualization. Following an internship in New York City and one in Amsterdam, he graduated. Andrew took a job with the Edenspiekermann firm, his second internship. His family lived, worked and played in the Netherlands for around a year. He did illustrations on the side, began developing his own style, and built his portfolio.
Andrew’s wife, Ashley, proposed the idea that he work from his laptop as a freelance illustrator, so they decided to quit his job in order to explore the world with their young son. While traveling he was introduced to his agent through his favorite illustrator, Olimpia Zagnoli. After she signed him, opportunities began rolling in. He has done work for GQ, The Boston Globe, Men’s Health, MIT, PayPal and the New Era amongst others.
As a young man, Andrew recalls listening fellow students describe how they enjoyed watching movies, listening to music and looking at art. On the flip side, he enjoyed making movies, making music and making art.
“It’s fun to wake up and by the time you go to sleep there is something new in the world that didn’t exist before because of you,” he says.
To see more of Andrew’s work, visit his website at http://andrewcolinbeck.com/