Dan Mumford: The Devil is in the Details

If you do not know Dan Mumford’s work, then you have not been paying attention to any recent metal shirts. He has done designs for Suicide Silence, Carnifex, Killswtich Engage and like a million of them for Black Dahlia Murder. His bright colored and detailed line work based art may be the most copied style currently in the metal scene. He hails from Central London where he works on posters, CD cover and shirt designs for bands as well as his own clothing line. He took time out if his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Metal Band Art.

How did you get your first paying art job?
I was just working for some friends in a band, and they got signed to a small label. So I ended up doing some CD work for them, and it went from there working for labels and bands.

Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
I used to work a lot more with actual ink and paint, it’s a lot more focused now with me mainly working on the computer using a tablet, but I still like to work in some real textures where I can.

Who are your artistic influences?
I don’t try and take too much influence from other artists, I look a lot more to films like Blade Runner and Aliens, they had a big impact on me when I was growing up, so I think they bled a lot more into my subconscious as a teenager and that shaped my work quite a lot.

Tell us about your studio space?
Its a fairly large space with a couple of desks and some shelving units and small plan chests, my space is just one of about 18 in a large warehouse with other artists and a couple of studios, its a huge space overall, but we all have our own individual spaces within it.

Take us through a typical for day Mumford?
Generally I’ll be in the studio from 10 onwards, ill go through some emails, check the internet for anything interesting and then get working on whatever projects currently my focus, I wont leave the studio till around 7-8 normally, dependent on how pressing work is. But I try not to be there all night!

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
It’s fairly simple really, I’ll find out what the client has in mind, take their ideas and work it up into a quick sketch on photoshop with colour so they can see what I have in mind, if they approve the idea and the execution I will then work that design up into a finalized drawing ready for them to use. It’s a two step process.

What materials do you use? How much is done on the computer?
Right now its all done on the computer, but I am a lover of working with pens and ink as well as screenprinting, with time when I can afford to spend more time on work I will get back to that way of working a bit more.

Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
No, I definitely use references for my work, I like things to look like they are meant to, and I’m not good enough at anatomy straight from my head, so I need reference to help me get things looking the correct shape and proportion, if it’s something that doesn’t exist though, a monster/demon etc then that’s obviously far more from my head as there is no reference.

Do the bands give you any direction?
Yeah, I insist on it as well, its impossible to second guess what someone might want from a design, so I always ask they have at least one idea of what they want, its how the bands going to represented, they should have an idea and an opinion beforehand.

Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Try and carve your own niche in the artwork world, there’s a lot of repetition going on right now, be true to yourself and draw what you enjoy as opposed to what’s popular

What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m trying to put some big things into motion, it takes time, but hopefully should be worth it. Alongside that I’m working on the usual band artwork. But that’s not my primary focus right now, with time things will come to light though!

Do you have any dream projects?
I think my biggest dream is to be working primarily on my own work as opposed to working for clients, I have a lot of ideas and theories I’d love to explore in my work, one day hopefully ill get that chance.

Who are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
My favourite bands of all time…Shai Hulud, Meshuggah, Adamantium, Opeth..that’s a few. Right now I’m listening to the new Cave In album, big Cave In fan, so its great to have them back, its a strange album, but I’m enjoying it.

Check out his shirts at Mumford Clothing & his portfolio

About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.