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Member of the week: Christopher Neal, illustrator

Neal illustration

Our member of the week is Christopher Neal, an illustrator and designer. Chris has a fascinating website that often documents his artistic process--his work is a mix of hand drawn and digital. He creates editorial art for magazines and news publications; designs book jackets, record covers, and posters; and creates illustrations for packaging and advertising. Chris has done work for the New York Times, Knopf/Random House, Rolling Stone, The Fillmore, and Texas Monthly, to name a few. For more on Chris and his illustrations, take a look at his Freelancers Yellow Pages profile and read our interview with him below. What has been your most exciting project? I'm not sure I have a "most interesting" project. Most of my projects are interesting for a variety of different reasons. A few of my favorites, though, are: a book cover for Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Wangari Maathai, music posters for The Fillmore in San Francisco, the cover of the New York Times Book Review. One interesting project that ended up not getting printed was a redesign for Salinger's Catcher in the Rye for a Danishpublisher. A very exciting and simultaneously intimidating assignment. In the end, it turns out Salinger has signed a deal with his publishers to have only type on his covers, no art! I like those simple Salinger covers and am happy to keep the tradition going, sans my illustration. Why did you decide to go freelance? I wanted more creative freedom and more control over my career. Before doing Illustration, I was working full time as a graphic designer. I enjoyed it and learned a lot but felt limited creatively. I also wanted more freedom to run my work schedule as I see fit. That's hard to do while working for someone on salary. Running my own business can be difficult but at the end of the day, it's gratifying to know everything I earn and everything I accomplish is a direct result of my own efforts. What tip would you give to a new freelancer or someone who is considering going freelance? It could be the best decision you've ever made. It's worth the risk. What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live? I live in Fort Green and love the park. I work in Greenpoint and love The Garden, an organic grocery where I get most of my lunches. What is your inspiration? Life.

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