I emailed the wonderful Patrick Hruby but I didn't really expect an answer as he's a very busy man! However....he replied! He was so lovely and gave me some really good answers. It made my day and I was astonished he wanted to look at my work! Anyway, here's his email:
I am really touched that you would reach out to me. I would be happy to answer your questions.
I understand you are currently based in Los Angeles, does living there have an impact on your work?
Living in LA has definitely influenced my work. It is a land of perpetual summer. Ironically I prefer the winter, but there are definitely a lot of bright colors in this vibrant city, not to mention we have Disneyland (my parents used to take me every few years for my birthday.)
What are your inspirations? Do any artists/illustrators inspire you?
Strictly speaking my inspiration comes from the place where nature meets mathematics, but also I grew up on fairytales and I try to get to that place of wonder and magic. Idols of mine are Charley Harper, Alexander Girard, Mary Blair, and Kay Neilson.
Are you ever stuck for ideas? If so, how do you overcome this?
I get stuck for ideas all the time. But I have learned that a lot of times I am just afraid to try an idea that might seem crazy at first. I try not to edit myself in the beginning.
Would you be able to tell me about your working process? How do you get started on a brief?
Even though all of my work involves software (mostly Adobe Illustrator) I will start with a pencil. Sometimes I try to resolve the design before I resolve the concept. Sometimes the concept is revealed to me as I work out the general composition is strict geometry. When I get a brief I usually just take a bit of time to daydream and imagine what the finished project will look like. I think about colors and composition then I start brainstorming ideas. I make a lot of lists. I put them away and come back to them after I have had some time to see it with fresh eyes. I try not to resolve everything in the beginning so that there is still a little room for surprise.
What media do you use in your work?
Like I said before, all of my work (except my paintings) are somehow rooted in digital media. Depending on what the final outcome of the work will be, I will either deliver purely digital files, or I will silkscreen the designs into a physical object, scan it and send that.
Have you always loved using bright colours in your work?
I have always loved bright colors, but I wasn't always brave enough to use them. When I began my studies at Art Center College of Design I was painting watercolors which were much more ethereal. As I grew more confident in color and design my work began to become more and more direct.
I notice you have created several alphabets. Where does this love of typography stem from?
I have always loved typography. It was a bit of a mystery to me, and I am ashamed to say so, but I didn't take very many graphic design classes in school. I thought that type had so many rules that I just steered clear of it. Then one day I just decided to start making alphabets as best I could just to demystify it for me. That began a new love for me.
Is there any advice you would give to an aspiring illustrator?
The best advice I can give you is not to limit yourself by what you think an illustrator should or would do. Think of your work in every application you can imagine, don't be afraid to discover that you may be a completely different sort of artist that you imagined you would be. Above all, protect the quality of your work.
I hope that helped. I would love to see some of your work if you have a site or if you would like to send me some work.
Good luck in your studies!