Darcy Clelland draws comics and designs video game and app interfaces
It's been 9 years since you graduated from IDEA School of Design. What did you do immediately after grad?
Well, the first thing I did was freak out for a while. Our class had the amazing fortune to graduate immediately after the last Great Recession in 2008 and we finished up in 2009. So, that was nice.
There were not very many jobs out there. Particularly in the creative community.
We were talking about it in class one day, and the instructor said, “Well, the best of you might get work. The rest of you probably won't”. I thought to myself “Well, forget all that noise. I’m gonna get work anyway”, and I promptly became a freelancer out of no choice whatsoever.
I did that for a year or so. And then, through my friend I was hired on at an architecture company. That job was easily the second worst job I’ve ever had. Which made it very easy to quit, and take my first job in video games. Which I actually think of as the actual start of my career. The rest was just ramping up and riding it out until hard work and some luck got me into a space that I was very happy in.
When did you move to Vancouver Island and what prompted the move?
I was working at a video game studio 10-14 hours a day, and for some reason I still had a shitty apartment with no heat or hot water. So, in 2013, we realized that Vancouver was just getting too expensive to live there anymore. So, I started applying on the island. And got a job with a video game company over here. It's so nice here!
Your website says you are a User Interface artist/designer and that you also do graphic design, illustration, and branding. What type of projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working at a company called Farmer’s Edge. It’s a new company that is doing some really exciting stuff in the farming industry. They are taking big data and agronomy and giving the power to growers to make more food with less fuel, land and chemicals.
It’s mine and my cohorts task to build the apps that will make this possible for our users.
I also pick up freelance here and there. I’ll do some logos around town, working on a small game concept with another company. I help my friend’s bands out with their materials. I’m also working on a silly illustrative book about a young Beholder. If I ever get time to finish it!
Basically, whatever comes across my plate that sounds like it might be fun.
Damn. I work too much.
Do you have any favourites or upcoming projects that you are excited about?
Well, I’m very excited about the potential of the FarmCommand suite of apps that we are working on for sure.
It sounds dumb, but I get real excited when I see the records, shirts, hats and general merch that I make for my friends bands. Can’t help it. I love my friends and making rock n’ roll shit is just plain fun!
Describe an average day?
I like to get up real early, drink some coffee and then I walk ten feet to where my desk is.
Then I ignore all my emails and get to work! I’ll divy out work to some folks, get work from others, and kinda just get to it.
The day is then broken up with several projects, communicating with the other teams, such as Product or Marketing and Management. Oh and lots of cracking wise. I’m lucky enough to work with a team of my friends that I have worked with for years. So, that’s nice.
Then I go to the gym and then walk the dog for a break and then sometimes I do some freelance. I'm trying to limit that. I'm old now.
Describe your process? Do you use Sketch, InVision, or related?
I usually start with bopping the ideas around with my cohorts. Not SUPER easy all the time, since we all work at home. But we’ll meet up at coffee shops and stuff.
Then I get to sketching with plain o’l paper.
I do most of my digital painting and inking in Photoshop still though.
What are some of the more memorable highlights from your time at IDEA School of Design?
Honestly the people. I was an older student and had spent my life until then trying to jam my stupid square head into several circumferences of roundish holes. Most of them gave me a stomach ache or broke my body.
Here, I found people who I could be myself around. Other people that couldn’t do simple math. People who liked off-colour jokes and just being silly and talented.
You’d be surprised how this can help you out.
Out of that group of people, I not only met my girlfriend of 10 years, I also made a pack of friends that I still spend time with whenever the chance arises.
Also, I lost a tooth, and had ankle surgery.
Oh, and I talked my way into visiting DC Comics. Fred wanted to come, but had to go to a museum with class that day. He let me steal half the class to come with me.
We are now a 4 year Bachelor of Design program where students can choose their concentration. What advice would you give to prospective students considering applying for IDEA School of Design, in particular, those who may not want a 9-5 agency job or those in our Interactive concentration?
Find what you want to do. Don’t worry about awards. Don’t worry about the jobs your peers get. Do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do.
You’ll have to take jobs you maybe don’t want. You’ll have to work harder than you want to. But, you will get better at doing what you like to do. Provided you keep doing it. Hell, I got hired in Victoria for a video game studio, because of a Dungeons & Dragons piece I did. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t get a real good grade on that piece.
Drawing monsters and making video games has gotten me all of my work in one way or another.
Wait! What? You have an Interactive concentration now? Man, that sounds awesome.