We Talk to Michael Arnold as he Works on Tees for Our Next Collection

Work by Michael Arnold

Work by Michael Arnold

Michael Arnold is a self-taught designer and illustrator. At the tender age of 21, he has established a bold, iconic style that lends itself perfectly to the fashion industry. His patterns and colours are ideal for t-shirt art and will appeal to kids as well as adults.

Michael also writes a column for the Design & Culture site called The Fox is Black.

Michael Arnold is represented by George Grace Represents.picame largest header

The Fableists > Tell us a bit about how you got in to this crazy world of art and design.
MA > Well, I left school and initially wanted to get into Graphic Design. At that point I wasn’t interested in going to University and was just eager to get started so I set up a small print shop online called ‘The How To Project’ – the aim being I would teach myself along the way whilst finding my way into the industry. After a while I realized I much preferred creating the images themselves and made the move into Illustration. I picked up a few clients here and there and started to build up a portfolio and a style – I rather ambitiously started to contact agents which is where I met George who decided after some practice he would take me on.

The Fableists > What, or who are your influences?
MA > I have quite a lot of influences but it’s never one person wholly. My main influences are artists that work quite boldly like Julian Opie and Lichtenstein – Lichtenstein did a whole series of works later on that many people aren’t as aware of as his others and I love those ones. Current artists like Kevin Lyons and Kate Moross who have been able to translate their style into many different areas and ‘canvases’ are also a great inspiration to me.

Tommy TID WANT Les 2

The Fableists > Where do you live and do you take inspiration from those surroundings?
MA > I live near Cheltenham, near the River Severn (Gloucestershire, England). Generally I don’t take too much inspiration from my surroundings however these days there seems to be more of a creative vibe around here notably with the Cheltenham Design Festival which I went to during the Summer and the opening of the Cheltenham Art Museum which I’m definitely going to visit. Also, Bath Spa is quite near me and I often go to visit my sister there. They also have an awesome creative community round there.

The Fableists > What is your work process? Do you draw every day?
MA > My process is a difficult one to really nail down. It differs from project to project in terms of ideas but with illustrating it’s pretty much the same: I’ll take out my notebook and usually write the idea out rather than sketch anything, I may doodle some very rough (read: terrible) line drawings to put some shape to the words. Then I’ll take it straight to the laptop and begin blocking out shapes and colours at the same time, gradually refining and tidying and tightening areas up until I’m happy with it. For typography – that’s all hand drawn, scanned and then redrawn digitally in the same manner as my other work.

I do draw every day. I have quite a backlog of ideas already in my head so whenever I have a free moment I begin on one of those. I think it’s important to draw or design every day, I’m of the mind set that it’s similar to being a sports player – you have to practice to build up that fluency and confidence if not just for your hands then for your ability to visualise things. Malcolm Gladwell once wrote a book about having 10,000 hours of practice to be considered a master at anything – so that’s what I’m aiming for.

Michael Arnold's First Design for The Fableists

Michael Arnold’s First Design for The Fableists

The Fableists > Your designs for The Fableists are already proving very popular with our team. What was the inspiration behind them?

MA > Well, after being given the new tagline which is ‘Play Hard, Live Forever’ it made me think of that ‘Live Fast’ phrase that was associated with bikers and rebellious youth! I played around with the type first as I knew that I wanted the ‘Live Forever’ part to be illustrated in a script like style – the kind you might see on a biker patch. From that it sort of clicked and the image of a biker with a Wind-Up key came to mind, the idea then leant itself to series with other wind-up toys that could be illustrated in the same manner.

The trickiest part was creating the humour in it, balancing out the reality of the motorbike being a child’s toy with the fantasy of it riding into the sunset. It was as much for the children to enjoy as it was for their parents to appreciate. A throw back if you will!

The Fableists > Which is your favourite t-shirt from The Fableists’ first collection and why?
MA > I really like Crispin Finn’s Dress Good design, it’s one of those ideas that’s so simple and makes you jealous you didn’t think of it. In terms of design I feel it’s strong enough to stand on it’s own but subtle enough to be able to work with the other collared shirts and clothes you have to offer.

The Fableists > What do you think about The Fableists’ mission to make sustainable clothing for kids?
MA > I think it’s great. There are so few interesting companies that involve the kids themselves in the ideals of the company. Most children aren’t aware of how their clothes are made and the brands that try to educate them often come out as preaching to them – and in most cases in a way the kids won’t understand. I think there’s a fine line between creating something that will make kids aware whilst making something they will wear. That was quite pithy! I think you’ve nailed it.

I love the Look Book you’ve shot as well. It captures the mission perfectly, I think!opumo 2 small800

The Fableists > How do you hope that kids will see your t-shirt designs?
MA > I hope they’ll see it how I see it – as an image that gets their imagination going. When illustrating it I tried to strike that balance of how a child would see those toys in their imagination – the bike with the sunset cruising down the highway but at the same time not taking it too seriously. I hope they’ll get a feel of wanting to go on adventures with it on.

The Fableists > Can you tell us about one of your favourite pieces of work you’ve done? What was it for and what was it?
MA > My favourite piece so far was a pattern I designed for shoe company Bucketfeet. It’s finally going into production this spring and I’ve been able to see some product shots of the samples they had made it looks amazing. As an illustrator the best thing in the world is seeing something you’ve made on a screen become physical. Getting a shoe made was one of my dream jobs and I’ve been able to cross that off a lot sooner than I imagined.

cara 700

Advertisements

Our Look Book for the First Collection – A Few More…

Sonny is wearing 'Brain' t-shirt by Gregori Saavedra and French Chore Coat in Blue

Sonny is wearing ‘Brain’ t-shirt by Gregori Saavedra and French Chore Coat in Blue

The t-shirts will be available from our web site very soon while the rest of the collection will be for sale later in the autumn.

Amelie in the Western Shirt

Amelie in the Western Shirt

Mimi wears 'Happy Factory' by Anthony Peters

Mimi wears ‘Happy Factory’ by Anthony Peters

 

Missy in Classic Cut Jeans and French Chore Coat in Taupe

Missy in Classic Cut Jeans and French Chore Coat in Taupe

 

Sonny in another Gregori tee, this one is called 'I Don't Want to Be Like You When I Grow Up'

Sonny in another Gregori tee, this one is called ‘I Don’t Want to Be Like You When I Grow Up’

 

 

 

The Look Book – We Can’t Get Enough!

Amelie is wearing the Western Shirt and Crispin Finn's 'Made to Wear Well' Tee

Amelie is wearing the Western Shirt and Crispin Finn’s ‘Made to Wear Well’ Tee

Here are some more of the shots taken of The Fableists’ first collection by photographer Sam Robinson. We were on location at Netil House and Victoria Park, both in East London.

Sonny is in the Chore Coat and Gregori Saavedra's 'Brain' Tee

Sonny is in the Chore Coat and Gregori Saavedra’s ‘Brain’ Tee

Henry wears the 'This is a Flag' Tee by Gregori Saavedra

Henry wears the ‘This is a Flag’ Tee by Gregori Saavedra

Sophia wears Crispin Finn's 'Dress Good' Tee with the Western Shirt and Classic Denim Skirt

Sophia wears Crispin Finn’s ‘Dress Good’ Tee with the Western Shirt and Classic Denim Skirt

Mimi is in the Smock Top and Classic Denim Skirt

Mimi is in the Smock Top and Classic Denim Skirt

Missy Wears Classic Straight Cut Jeans with 'Tough but Fair' tee by Sami Viljanto

Missy Wears Classic Straight Cut Jeans with ‘Tough but Fair’ tee by Sami Viljanto

Jhango in the Parisienne Smock Dress in Red

Jhango in the Parisienne Smock Dress in Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some More Shots from The Fableists Look Book

Jhango in The Fableists' Breton Top while Amelie is wearing the Denim Skirt, Western Shirt and 'Made to Wear Well' Tee

Jhango in The Fableists’ Breton Top while Amelie is wearing the Denim Skirt, Western Shirt and ‘Made to Wear Well’ Tee by Crispin Finn

A few more of Sam Robinson‘s shots for our first collection Look Book. The t-shirts will be available on our web site in a couple of weeks and the rest of the collection will be out later in the autumn.

Sonny is wearing the 'Make Art Not War' Tee by Anthony Peters

Sonny is wearing the ‘Make Art Not War’ Tee by Anthony Peters

Henry is wearing the Classic Jeans and French Chore Coat in Taupe with the 'Wear Me Out' tee by Anthony Peters

Henry is wearing the Classic Jeans and French Chore Coat in Taupe with the ‘Wear Me Out’ tee by Anthony Peters

Missy wears Classic Jeans and the Western Shirt

Missy wears Classic Jeans and the Western Shirt

Apache in 'You Are What You Wear' Tee by Gregori Saavedra and the Western Shirt

Apache in ‘You Are What You Wear’ Tee by Gregori Saavedra and the Western Shirt

Sophia in 'Recycle' Tee by Sami Viljanto

Sophia in ‘Recycle’ Tee by Sami Viljanto

More great shots to come!

Some of Sam Robinson’s Shots of The Fableists’ First Collection

D’Ahngo is wearing the Parisienne Smock Dress

Jhango is wearing the Parisienne Smock Dress

Photographer Sam Robinson has gone and made our clothes look really fab on some amazing kids who we roped in to modelling for our first ever series of looks. We’ve told you a bit about our locations and what we got up to but we can now reveal the results.

D’Ahngo is wearing the Smock Top and Denim Skirt, Sonny is sporting the 'Dress Good' Tee and Apache is in the Western Shirt, Classic Jeans and 'You Are What You Wear' Tee

Jhango is wearing the Smock Top and Denim Skirt, Sonny is sporting the ‘Dress Good’ Tee and Apache is in the Western Shirt, Classic Jeans and ‘You Are What You Wear’ Tee

Amelie is wearing Breton Top, Classic Jeans and Chore Coat in Blue

Amelie is wearing Breton Top, Classic Jeans and Chore Coat in Blue with Vejas

Smock Top and Denim Skirt on Mimi and Classic Jeans, 'Tough but Fair' Tee and Western Shirt on Missy

Smock Top and Denim Skirt on Mimi and Classic Jeans, ‘Tough but Fair’  Tee and Western Shirt on Missy

Apache is wearing the Classic Jeans with Baseball Shirt and Veja shoes

Apache is wearing the Classic Jeans with Baseball Shirt and Veja shoes

Missy is in the Classic Jeans and Western Shirt

Missy is in the Classic Jeans and Western Shirt

Outfit as Above

Outfit as Above

The Gang of Fableists

The Gang of Fableists

Credits:

Photographer: Sam Robinson (sam-robinson.com)
Photographers Assistant: Ross Brind
Retouching: The Laundry Room (thelaundryroomlondon.com)
Fashion Stylist: Jenna Riddle
Props Stylist – Gemma Pharo
Props Assistant – Nadia Tahari
Brothers & Sisters Producer – Lu Howlett
Brothers & Sisters Creative – Liz Moss

Thanks to:

Veja for the loan of shoes
Rachel Lincoln @ Netil House
Kat Sinclair (facepaint/makeup artist)
Djamila Hocini @ A+R
Shervorn & Cara @ The Laundry Room
Laura Vent @ Wicca

The Countdown Has Begun

headerwebsite

Thanks to everyone who has been following us on the journey to launch The Fableists. We are now getting very near to launching our web site (sneak peek of the header above!). We will confirm the exact date soon but it will be in the next couple of weeks.

We will launch with our first thirteen artist-designed t-shirts. They are all made of 100% organic cotton and are sustainably produced from start to finish. We are very thankful to the four amazing artists who have produced such amazing work for our first collection of t-shirts.

Soon after our launch, we will begin to take pre-orders for our first collection of clothes, which will be available for shipping in October.

This blog will be changing with our launch as well, so look out for some exciting content.

Thank you for your support!

The Fableists

Our Photo Shoot Locations

The kids getting some direction from photographer Sam Robinson

The kids getting some direction from photographer Sam Robinson

Last week, fashion photographer Sam Robinson took us on a journey in London. He shot around 5,000 images for The Fableists’ first look book. We’ve seen the untouched pictures and they are amazing. We are so excited to reveal some of them to you on our web site, which is launching in two weeks!

In the meantime, here is a taste of what we got up to.

Victoria Park Skate Park

Victoria Park Skate Park

We got the kids together for a few group shots

Victoria Park

Victoria Park

And then the kids got a chance to run around and explore, while the clothes took a real beating!

The Fableists as Superheroes

The Fableists as Superheroes

We then took to the rooftop of Netil House, with great views over London and some open spaces for running races and obstacles for climbing on and jumping off.

Netil House, London

Netil House, London

Finally, we were in a kitchen in Islington for some messy sandwich making and lots of laughs.

Kitchen Scenes

Kitchen Scenes

Big thanks to everyone involved, especially Sam Robinson and his assistants Ross Brind and Ben Deamer. The team at Brothers and Sisters, under the leadership of Lu Howlett pulled off a great day and the kids really want to mention stylist Jenna Riddle, who was a big hit!

You’ll hear more from some of these people soon.