Being from Bolton myself, I already had an affinity for Drew. His beautifully hand drawn pieces have adorned so many things, from band posters to beer labels to t shirt designs - my absolute favourite being the Leeds Beer Festival poster. A stunningly detailed and colourful number featuring an Owl (from the Leeds coat of arms) and Lions which straddle the city hall. I was flabbergasted at the sheer detail of each one of his projects, a where's wally-esque scene depicting many different elements. They're well worth studying, as you can pick out so many different things with time.
I caught up with Drew to ask him a few questions about what made his artistic side tick.
Who are you and what is your occupation?
My Name is Drew Millward. I'm a former child, artist, husband, father and procrastinator. I live in a quarry, up a hill, in The Aire Valley. I draw pictures for a living.
When did your interest in graphic design/art begin?
Probably around the time I started breathing, or certainly when my eyes started working. As a child I loved books and drawing, but it was a long time until I actually realised that it was something a grown up was allowed to do. They don't tell you that drawing stupid pictures is a feasible way of making a living, but it turns out it is. More people should do it.
Did you study an artistic qualification?
I did. I always enjoyed art, in varying forms, so throughout GCSE and A-Level I pursued that. It was the only thing I showed any promise at/made any effort to do. I ended up doing a Fine Art degree, but it wasn't until a few years after graduating that I started drawing.
How do you feel Northern Monk’s Patrons Project is different from other beer projects?
It's been a collaborative process, not just a straight design commission. We say and spoke about the beers we wanted to make and try to approach it in a way that the beer and packaging compliment each other. I love hoppy, fruity beers, so we went down that route. Northern Monk really do make some of my favourite beers, and they are a great group of folks, so it's been an absolute pleasure. There is more to come, but I won't talk about that just yet.
Is there any piece you’re particularly proud of?
Last year I was the Dogfish Head Brewery seasonal artist for the year. That was a lot of fun to do, and great to see how each was revived throughout the year. I was happy with the outcome of those.
Click to Enlarge
What is your approach to a new project?
Every project is different, so they all require different approaches. I'm incredibly lucky to be asked to paint huge murals, and design logos and everything in between. Different work requires getting into different headspaces, and assessing the challenges that present themselves. It's fun, on the whole, and it's usually only my own anxieties that cause problems.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in graphic design?
Train to be an electrician, or a plumber. Something useful.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Everything from being called a "talentless hack" to people getting my work tattooed on them. It's human nature to focus on the negative, but, on the whole, people are pretty nice.
How do you feel Art and Beer are interconnected?
I don't really know any artists who aren't, in some capacity, reliant on beer. I think beer can probably exist without the art, but probably not the other way around.
What is your favourite beer?
Jaipur (Thornbridge), High Wire (Magic Rock), New World IPA (Northern Monk), Mango Lassi IPA (Northern Monk), DIPA V: Series (Cloudwater), Fat Tug (Driftwood), Pretty much anything that Kernel produce..... I could go on.
A massive thanks to Drew for his responses to our questions!
Check out his website here:
Check out some more of his designs below!