Picture the bulgiest, bounciest, brightest animated dog you can imagine, and then multiply it by ten. The result will probably look a lot like the absurd and awe-inspiring work of digital artist and all-round cool dude, Julian Glander. Julian agreed to temporarily halt building his colourful 3D empire, and chat with us about the inspirations and methods behind his growing portfolio and internet fame.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself…who is Julian Glander?
I like that we're starting off on a profound, philosophical note. Okay, I'm a digital art person based in the USA. I make goofy, gloopy 3D work that takes the form of illustration, GIFs, comics, short films, games, basically an ever-expanding list of media.
How long have you been working in digital animation and illustration? What inspired you to start?
I started making t-shirt illustrations for Threadless when I was 14. I was pretty addicted to it, mostly to the loop of making something, getting feedback and tips from other artists, and making another thingy. I submitted something like 100 designs, and a handful of them ended up getting produced. That led to a bunch of cool commissions from big companies while I was still in high school. I went to college and studied creative writing and kind of forgot about it for a little while. But just when I thought I was out, I got pulled back in--started posting GIFs on Tumblr for fun, and decided to try and make it my job (spoiler: it worked!). I think if it weren't for social media and all of the cool people I have met online I would probably be doing something else.
When you are creating something new, where exactly do you begin? Can you describe your creative approach?
Oh gosh, I don't know. It's really intuitive, I try not to overthink things or "get conceptual" with it. Because I find that the most exciting ideas emerge naturally during the work part. Sometimes I'll open up the computer and draw like, a circle attached to a square with a triangle on top and an idea will come out of the shapes. If I have a brief from a client, I think about the coolest possible thing that I would want to see if I wasn't the one making it; for some reason that takes the pressure off. I rarely find myself *uninspired* because, at the end of the day, you can always take an inanimate object and draw a face on it, and it'll probably be at pretty good.
You've produced content for a range of different companies, magazines and media outlets; is that process collaborative or free rein?
It's different every time but I've been super lucky to land clients that are open to my style and ideas. My longstanding working groove with Giphy is a good example; over the last few years we've done about a dozen projects together where Jess Gilliam (Giphy's Studio Creative Director) gave me a brief and just let me go nuts with it.
You've also designed some rad apps and video games in your past work. Talk us through the game "Lovely Weather We're Having".
"Lovely Weather We're Having" is a goal-free exploration thingy that responds to your local weather conditions. I'm hesitant to call it a game because the gameplay consists of walking around a really tranquil landscape, and having goofy conversations with other characters. It's meant to be a super relaxing alternative to a lot of the high-intensity games and media out there…basically it's a digital zen toy. Also it has a cute dog that follows you around the whole time.
Are there any upcoming projects we can expect from you to keep us on our toes?
With any luck, 2016 is gonna be a banger for Glanderco (and for everyone else in the world). I'm really pumped because I'm in the early stages of putting together an animated series right now, and that's been my big dream for a while. I'm going to be super coy and mysterious and not say anything else for fear of jinxing it. Stay tuned!
Finally, if you had to choose one piece of music that captures the essence of your work, what would it be?
I thought long and hard about this one and it's probably gonna be "Uncontrollable Urge" by DEVO. Yeah yeah yeah yeah YEYEYEYEYEYEYEYEAH!
If you'd like to enter the dizzying but ever-charming world (and you really do) of Julian Glander yourself, visit his website here. Alternately, give your social media feeds a much needed GIF injection by following him on Instagram or Tumblr!