Interview with Dave Hughes from Ammo Magazine

Ammo magazine first came to our attention via Twitter. A great illustrator (who we hope to feature on these pages in the very near future) Uberkraaft had been featured in the second edition and out of curiosity we thought we’d check it out. The cost was £5 and while that may seem a little expensive to some we can tell you that Ammo is worth every penny.

The magazine itself is compact but incredibly well made and in full colour. Inside features a wealth of illustrations from different artists as well as insightful interviews with a select few. We loved the issue so much we went back and purchased the previous issue too! Cat On The Wall’s Jo Whitby caught up with magazine creator Dave Hughes and had a quick chat about how the magazine came about and what the future holds for Ammo magazine…

Cat On The Wall: Ammo magazine is now up to its third issue already! How time flies! Where did the idea come from to start the magazine and how has the journey been so far?

Dave Hughes: It’s great to make it to our third issue! When I first started there was the very scary prospect of not selling any mags at all… Luckily there seem to be a lot people out there with a love of illustrations who have really taken to Ammo and who continue to support us.

I’ve always been interested in self publishing and Ammo was created after several years of making zines and one-off publications. I also felt the need to make something that enabled me to become a more active member of the creative community. So far the journey has been really exciting and enjoyable.

COTW: You’ve been inundated with submissions since issue 2. It must be quite a challenge to select artists to be featured (and I expect quite exciting to see so much work too). What do you look for when choosing illustrations?

DH: The hardest aspect of the magazine by far is choosing who to feature. The response to our call for entries has been amazing! I think that being a printed publication is one of the main reasons for the amount of subs we receive. Everyone wants to see their work in print and have something they can actually hold in their hands.

When selecting artist’s to feature in each issue we try to choose a wide variety of people who represent a broad range of contemporary illustration. As the magazine only has limited space this sometimes means that really good artists don’t make it to print. We try not to feature too many artists with similar styles in each issue to keep it interesting. It’s a real shame that we can’t feature more artists as there are so many we’d like to include. Hopefully we’ll eventually be able to increase the page count.

COTW: Are you an illustrator yourself? When did you discover your passion for illustration?

DH: Yes, I love illustrating! I started drawing when I was quite young which was always confusing for my mum and dad as there aren’t any family members who are even slightly arty. I’m not sure what kicked it all off but I’ve been creating artwork using various methods for as long as I can remember. My tools have changed over time and now I only draw rough sketches by hand before moving to the computer via the wonders of my Wacom.

COTW: The magazine also features interviews with artists, why do you feel it’s important to speak to the artists?

DH: Ammo’s primarily a showcase magazine but the interviews help to add a bit of depth and substance to the mag. A lot of the people who buy the magazine are studying various creative disciplines so the interviews give them a little insight into the life of working artists. A lot of freelance designers and illustrators also buy the mag and will hopefully find the interviews a source of inspiration. In the future I’d love to add more editorial content to the mag and also increase the length of the interviews.

COTW: Why did you decide to release the magazine in a small format? It’s quite original!

DH: The size of the magazine was really all down to the cost of printing. I only had a limited amount of money to start the mag with and quickly found that I simply couldn’t afford anything larger than A6. I did make things slightly harder for myself by deciding to publish the mag in landscape format instead of portrait. Most printers seem to be set up to output A6 publications in a portrait format. As I’d chosen quite an uncommon size and format this severely limited the amount of printers I could actually use.

In the end I think the size restrictions were really beneficial for the magazine. Its unusual size and shape make it more of a collectible than simply another art mag. I’d love to increase the page count but at the moment I don’t think I’d want to increase the A6 dimensions. This pocket friendly size helps the mag to stand out.

COTW: Finally, what does the future hold for Ammo magazine?

DH: Hopefully lots more issues filled with even more illustrations. Maybe a book at some point? Ammo exhibitions? There are lots of things I’d like to do with Ammo but it’s too early to know which ones will be achievable.

One of the best things to come out of starting Ammo is the founding of The Publishers Club. Alongside Bec from Blanket Magazine & Jules from NewSugar I’m part of something that I feel could really grow and in turn help our respective magazines to grow too.

Issue 4 is also going to be released at a secret event later in the year which I’m really looking forward to. Fun times ahead, that’s for sure!

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