Into colours and doodle art? Check out INKD’s collaboration for CÎROC Vodka with Mister Phil, an avid doodler and image creator based in Brighton. Using his exceptional creativity and impressive drawing skills, Mister Phil has created a series of funky doodles, featuring original characters imagined by the artist himself, for the project. Buyers will be able to mix up the doodle and customise a one-of-a-kind CÎROC Vodka limited edition.
INKD’s latest collaboration sees Brighton based illustrator and doodler Mister Phil as the designer of a limited-edition CÎROC Vodka bottle, available in a range of CÎROC flavours.
For the project, Mister Phil has created a series of funky doodles featuring original music inspired characters which are dancing their way around the bottle.
Previously worked with Fender, Netflix, Tumblr and The National Gallery, Mister Phil in this Q&A shares his journey as a budding artist, his aesthetics as well as his inspirations. Find out his story with us below.
In your 2015 ‘Reasons to be creative’ presentation speech, you explained how your career as an illustrator began with your ‘doodle a day’ project. How do you think these kinds of projects can be key in artists launching their careers? Why do you think it worked for you?
The beauty of doing a project like the Doodle A Day is that you’re freeing yourself from the idea that you have to produce a finished, complete and perfect piece of work. You take the pressure and expectations off yourself and, by doing so, allow a different creative process to flourish. Knowing you have to get something up online by the end of the day makes you work in a different way and allows you to try out new ideas - day by day you’re fine-tuning a style or a voice without realising at the time. I guess it helped launch my career for a few reasons. On a simple level, I was suddenly creating a lot more work than I had been before. I was also putting the work out there so people could actually see it, and, although I wasn’t gathering many followers to begin with, it caught the eye of the creative team at Tumblr where I was posting the work. This turned into a job for Tumblr which helped give me the confidence to keep going.
You describe your work as “lively, expressive, characterful, yet logical”. Has your artwork been this form since a child? Or would you say it has evolved into this composition over the years?
I would say my work has always been characterful and lively - I used to enjoy creating additional scenes around the models during life drawing classes (little people climbing on top of the resting life model, small Lilliputian helicopters carrying the body around). Much earlier, as a child, I would copy images quite meticulously without adding anything in, just seeing if I could replicate them. I think the logical aspect entered when I became interested in computers and the rules defining how images could be made on those early devices - it was limiting and logical. I still apply rules to the way I work - this references back to the Doodle A Day during which time I refined those rules and thereby my style. It’s always been expressive - I’ve strived to create something that comes from my personality so that people will hopefully be able to look at it and say “That looks like a Mister Phil!”
What would you say is integral to a successful work/life of an artist?
Creating your own working process through experimentation was crucial for me. Producing work that isn’t good and realising that is a direction to avoid. Responding to your own judgement on the work to help push it in the right direction. The ability to take on new challenges is important too - if you’re asked to paint a giant snail say ‘yes' then work out how to do it. If you’re asked to give a talk in front of 800 people say ‘yes', then worry yourself to death until it happens but feel great for having pushed yourself to do it, you won’t let yourself down. Talking with other artists is also a great help - most of us share the same concerns/worries/anxieties about our work and by having those conversations you realise it’s perfectly normal and that you should just keep on going - if the desire to do what you do is there then that’s reason enough to do it. Take pride in what you’ve created and allow that to push you forward.
You’ve said how “everything can inspire you, a colour, a word, a shape or an idea”. What were you inspired by for this collaboration with INKD for CÎROC?
After studying the brand in more detail the themes of fun and relaxation really came across so I took those as my inspirational words. The characters fall into one of those two camps, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to go for a drink with Dr Spannernose? Or relax with Easyman? And I think Boombox Bill is a fun addition to any social gathering ;)
You have worked with a variety of different brands and on a variety of different projects – is there one piece of work that stood out for you or that you really enjoyed?
I have to say that getting a call from Fender to customise an 11ft giant Stratocaster was pretty special. The process of painting it was great fun too, especially as I had to fit it in my studio - luckily there’s s skylight above me which I could poke the neck of the guitar through. To have covered such an iconic object with my artwork was most enjoyable, as was seeing it arrive at the venue and watching people’s reaction to it.
What excites you the most about working with INKD and creating your own Mister Phil x CÎROC bottle?
I love the idea that people will be able to customise their own bottles with my artwork, placing the patches where they want on a background of their choice. The idea that those bottles will then be shared around at parties or social gatherings is really exciting. I hope that people will spend time studying the bottles and discover some of the hidden characters in the backgrounds too.
What’s a better way to stand out at a party than bringing a customised vodka bottle covered in exciting and trendy doodle work? It’s unique and it’s entirely yours!
Doodle up your favourite CÎROC flavour and shop Mister Phil’s creations here.