Graphic artist Pâté on leaving advertising for illustration

Graphic artist Paul Pateman (Pâté) discusses his work and why he left a career in advertising to become a freelance illustrator in a new short film commissioned by portfolio website service Format.

The film is the second in a new series, InFrame, which looks at the career paths of different creatives. The first (below) featured New York-based documentary photographer Jessica Lehrman, whose images capturing hip hop culture and a road trip across the US with her family have been featured in the New York Times.

Both films were directed and produced by Bas Berkhout, a Dutch documentary film-maker and the creator of Like Knows Like, a video series profiling creatives with a large online following, from James Victore to Jessica Walsh.

Pateman studied visual communications at the University of Central England before joining AMV BBDO, where he worked for ten years. He joined TBWA/London as a creative director in 2012, but left to become a freelance illustrator in 2013. He’s since worked on campaigns for TfL, Virgin Media and the Discovery Channel, and is represented by Blink Art.

Speaking about his decision to leave his job in advertising, he says: “For the first four or five years, I felt like I was learning the craft [of advertising], and I was really enjoying working with photographers and directors and going on shoots…then I realised I’d spent five years learning the advertising craft, but I wasn’t drawing anymore. I had no head space to draw.”

He also discusses his charming 2008 campaign for the Museum of Childhood, which we covered here, and the difference between agency life and working freelance. “My new career is much more rewarding, in that I don’t have to execute somebody else’s idea, or somebody else’s thought of what a good idea is,” he says.

You can see more of Pateman’s work here.

Director and Photography: Bas Berkhout
Production: Like Knows Like
Brand and Motion Design: Andrew Vucko / Roger Dario
Creative Director: Lukas Dryja
Audiomix: Peter Stoel