Inspirer Talk – Ian Pollock

Words: Aimee Plumbley 

Ian Pollock’s work is collaborative, playful and irreverent. It is fitting, therefore, that we have Ian delivering one of our Inspirer lectures. It is in the spirit of Unit X.

As part of the Inspirer series, esteemed illustrator Ian Pollock gave a lecture to a packed theatre of students. Ian is a Manchester Metropolitan University alumnus with an extensive illustrative career spanning from clients such as Rolling Stone; Playboy; The Guardian; GQ; the New York Times; New Scientist. Most recently he collaborated with the Pixies to illustrate their album cover. With such an extensive career, it was no wonder the session overran.


Throughout the talk, Ian detailed the ups and downs of being a freelance illustrator, from having no work to having a constant cycle of brief after brief. It became apparent throughout the session that despite his high profile success, Ian’s work is underpinned by a constant flow of self-initiated drawing and scribbling on themes as a source of inspiration.


After the lecture, the students were invited to a Q&A with Ian. One student asked Ian about how he transitions from working to briefs to having his more personal work curated, such as Parables of Christ.  Ian answered that the two in fact run parallel to each other:

“there’s something about the illustrator in me that likes to pick a series and to see the development and progression of my work”

Ian found pursuing more personal work an “antidote to the straight, serious briefs”, that sometimes hindered his creative freedom. It is cathartic.

Thanks to Ian for giving us such an intimate insight in to his career. Check out some of Ian’s work on his website.




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