|"Adam Hancher reveals the inspiration behind his illustrations for July Therapy Today" |
Adam Hancher describes what inspired his illustrations for the May issue
Behind the pictures
While working on your Therapy Today illustrations, did the ideas develop gradually or did you know from the outset the direction you were going in?
I usually get a strong idea in my head from the beginning, which can either be a good or bad thing. Sometimes it’s hard to shake my initial thoughts, as my mind begins to wander down that route before I realise it. Most of the time though, it’s the strongest idea that forms in this way and then that idea gradually evolves to something a little more interesting when you play around with it.
What was your brief for your Therapy Today illustrations?
I was given three different articles, one of which needed to be the cover illustration and an inside illustration. The articles were both summarised and sent to me in whole, and then ideas were shared as to what direction to take them in.
In addition to your brief, can you describe what informed/influenced/inspired your Therapy Today illustrations?
My personal work is inspired by many things. Most of my ideas evolve from a person’s interaction with their surroundings. I often like to parallel a person’s emotional or physical state with that of their surroundings. I am very inspired by authors such as Cormac McCarthy and Ted Hughes, who can create an atmosphere that (I think) is truly believable and enveloping. I think that this aspect of my work translates into my editorial jobs, such as this issue’s cover article for Therapy Today. Simply put, the character’s emotion is expressed through the environment in which I have placed her.
Did illustrating these particular subjects throw up any challenges? If so, what were they?
The subject matter can be quite difficult at times, as I am unfamiliar with what it is like to work in a therapy-related field. It can be quite easy to illustrate fiction and fantastical tales, but the everyday workings of a profession are a little trickier. I have to be imaginative, while being considerate and relevant.
Can you describe in a nutshell what you were trying to convey with each image?
The cover article centres around group counselling and the idea of ‘sculpting’: re-enacting a traumatic experience with the aim of understanding the cause of an issue. The cover illustration has a contrasting inside image that illustrates the ‘re-imagining’ of the cover scenario in a positive way.The ‘Counselling in the community’ image depicts the counsellor visiting a client at home, aiding her with her work in the garden. The flourishing vegetation symbolises their counselling success.The Dilemmas illustration shows the therapist and soon-to-be counsellor avoiding potential pitfalls while progressing deeper into the fields of their profession.
How do you feel about your finished work? What do you like most about your images? Do you have a favourite image?
As an illustrator I produce so much imagery that I can’t really hold any as precious. As soon as one job finishes I am on to the next one (I hope so, anyway!). Having said that, I am very pleased with the cover image. It has a similar feel to an Edward Hopper painting – an artist whose work inspires me a great deal. He famously painted the ‘Night Hawks’ image that you have probably seen around, even if you do not recognise his name.Apart from Therapy Today, where else might we see your work? I regularly work with the Seattle Met, a great magazine based over in Seattle, of all places. I've also worked with GQ, Wired magazine and the Times newspaper, to name a few.You can see more of my work online at www.adamhancher.co.uk