Max Scratchmann was born in India to British parents. Brought "home" to Scotland as a small child he hated the cold climate and surgical grey light, and couldn't wait to get back to India again.
Max graduated with a degree in English Literature, and, after various jobs, became a full time freelance illustrator and writer in 1984.
His book about life in the Scottish Islands, Chucking It All, was named one of the 10 best travel books of 2009 by Worldhum.
Max now lives and works in Edinburgh, a city said to be rivalled only by Venice for culture and architecture in the entirety of western Europe.
He has written for a plethora of magazines and newspapers since the late 1970s, ranging from The Guardian to Nostalgic Scotland and is the author of the following travel books:
* Chucking It All - How Downshifting to a Windswept Scottish Island Did Nothing to Improve My Quality of Life (2009) Selected by Worldhum as one of the 10 best travel books of 2009 * The Last Burrah Sahibs - Memories of a Colonial Childhood in India (2012) * Scotland for Beginners - The Changing Face of Urban Scotland (2013)
Max is also a popular performance poet and can be seen at many Edinburgh poetry venues and slams. He is the author of two books of verse and several works of fiction.
Max leads seminars for designers and is the author of several books on animation and illustration as well as being a contributor to Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market.
His most popular graphic design title is Illustration 101 which is currently in its fourth edition. He is also the author of How to GRAB the Attention of Art Directors with the Simple Use of Postcards.
His illustration client list includes The Guardian - The Wall Street Journal - The Korn Ferry Institute - Reed - IPC - Longman - Serino Coyne Advertising (New York) - Scottish Opera - Scynchrono Crossings (Tokyo) - Ms London - Girl About Town - Sugar - Catch - City Life - Midweek - Attitude - XL - Tigerprint - Marketing Week - Graphics International - Yes - Vox - New Moon - Desire - Village Voice - the Big Issue - Metropolitan - Football Management - Insider - Entrepreneur - Incognito - Naxos Audio Books - Revels Playtexts - Manchester University Press - Coliseum Theatre - Sunday Herald - Pearson Education - Trader - Moondance Media - British Airways - The Law Society and many more.
Considering a career in illustration as a freelance can be scary, especially in today's image-saturated world. Reading this book effectively buffered those fears and left me with a ton of helpful advice and a clear lineup of the options I could pursue and how to go about them. This is NOT a book about motivating creatives to do their work (there are plenty such books and, frankly, I have had enough of this type of patronizing), you will NOT find advice on how to get ideas or how to create stunning illustration. In effect, this is not a book about illustration at all. What it gives you is frank, down-to-earth, practical advice on how to setup a one-man illustration business, how to promote yourself and how to get that all important foot-in-the-door to start your career and keep a steady flow of work coming your way. I particularly liked how each method of self-promotion is analyzed in relation to how much it costs, what are the potential advantages and pitfalls, how you can maximize its effectiveness and what was the author's experience with it. It covers everything from making face-to-face appointments, how to behave in interviewes/phone calls/e-mails, how to present portfolios, all type of promotional material and advertisement options. The use of internet showcases and social media is also addressed, but the author does not let you fall into the trap of thinking that these approaches will be enough to make you take off or keep you going. I can perfectly well believe that it takes way more than a fancy web-site and lots of facebook friends to impress the average art director. Self-publishing is also discussed as a serious alternative, highlighting its advantages as well as its risks. Overall, the book is very nicely written and full of extremely useful, directly applicable advice. It does feel like a long chat with a friend who has been through it all and is eager to give you the best possible start. Highly recommended.
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Everything I Wanted To Know...25 April 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
If you pick up Illustration 101 thinking it will be chock full of gorgeous images and art, you'll be disappointed. There are virtually no images whatsoever in this book. What images there are, are small black and white, almost clip art type images. Don't order this book and then complain there are no pretty pictures. Because there aren't. Fact.
No what you do get from Illustration 101 is page after page after page of straight talking, no B.S, excellent advice on how to start selling your work. I honestly and truly love this book. I've sat and laughed, giggled and slapped my head all the way through this book. Laughed and giggled - the straight talking is just so to the point it's funny. But you feel like you are sitting listening to advice from a trusted friend - someone who's been there, done the hard work, done it well and is now telling you how to do it too. Why slapped my head? Some of the advice is so downright obvious... you can't help but think "why am I not doing this already?"
I think this book would be so useful not just to Illustrators but any creative hoping to get into selling their work. I don't think I'll be phoning publishers anytime soon but you know what? After reading this, I'm not ruling it out totally. Why shouldn't I have just as much chance as anyone else? I like that you aren't made to feel that if you didn't go to an Art college or University then you might as well not bother. Max Scratchmann believes if you've got the passion, if it's all you think of, then you've got the drive to do it.
I honestly can't think of a base not covered in this book. From setting up your own website, marketing yourself, making a portfolio, making contacts, how to use social media, making sure you get your money... I could go on and on.
Now, I have to mention a couple of bits. When you start reading the book there are some sections called "Insider Info" These are basically Top Tips. I was a bit confused when I started the book as these Insider Info's are on the left hand pages. So as I'm reading and I turn the page, my eye automatically starts on the left hand page. But you don't read the book like that. The main bulk that you are reading carries on over on the right hand page while the Insider Tips are scattered throughout on the left hand pages. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this clearly. I found that as I got used to turning the pages and mainly looking straight to the right hand page I was reading correctly. Then, when I had finished that section I would go back and read all the related Insider Info on the left hand pages. I think it's just where the book is so jam packed with information, they've tried to cram it into every available space.
To be honest, this initial confusion was so easy to adjust to and the information within these pages is just... it's everything I ever thought I needed to know. And then some.
As someone living in the UK, I particularly like how this book is British. So all the contact info, recommended websites etc. are relevant to us in the UK. How refreshing.