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Thursday 8 October 2020

Name: Jim Bradshaw

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less. 
Crazy mixed-media cartoon doodles.

What items are an essential part of your creative space? 
iPadPro, iMac, Moleskine sketchbooks, various art supplies, music, and shelved walls filled with inspiration.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
My favorite has always been the good old fashioned pencil. When drawing digitally, there are some pretty good pencils I use in Procreate but I’m always searching for one that looks, feels and does exactly what a real pencil does. So far, nothing beats the real thing. 

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
I can never narrow things down with these kind of questions. There are so many that get left out that way. To help me focus, I will choose contemporary artists with whimsical styles. Christian Turdera, Esther Pearl Watson, Steve Simpson, John Hendrix, Red Nose Studio, pokedstudio (Jonathan Ball) and so much more. Wow! Even after cheating, I left so many that I hugely admire in the dust. 

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why? 
I love the impressionists and the surrealists, but being a cartoony person, I would love to go back to the early 1900s and get to know George Herriman. I loved his line work, witty writing, and the south western world he created for his Krazy Kat comic. Another great artist from that era was Winsor McKay, who took the comic strip medium as far as anyone I can recall, with his comic, Little Nemo in Slumberland. Both were brilliant artists who have inspired me deeply. 

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator? 
When I was a very young impressionable lad, I loved laying on the floor and drawing with my dad. He had cartooning abilities. Watching his sharp #2 pencil move skillfully on the paper was magical to me and I never got over that. There is something about taking a blank page and filling it with whatever dumps out of my head that is highly infectious. It fills me with childlike wonder to this day. I never wanted to do anything else.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
My walls and shelves are filled with fun, beautiful and inspiring things. I’m into vintage electronics and especially clocks. There is something about time that I find cool, fun, sad, frustrating and fascinating all at the same time. Photography, illustration, characters, pics of loved ones and fun things. It’s my eye candy! 

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
When everything is drawn out and the main colors are blocked in. Then I get to just go crazy rendering in all the details. If you look at my work, you will see that I am obsessive about details. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
I want to talk about style. I’ve seen so many artists chasing the latest trends and in some cases totally ripping off other artists and making a career of it. If you want to be fulfilled, your goal should always be to develop your own style and voice. It takes time, consistency and diligence. The more you practice, the sooner I believe your style will develop. Study what and who is successful out there and honestly appraise your stuff to see if it is on the level it needs to be. 

For years, I loved my sketchbook doodles and pencil line style, but felt that my final inked illustrations lacked the spontaneous energy of my pencil work. One day it hit me. Why can’t my crazy sketchy doodle style be the final art? It was a happy revelation. Today, my style makes me happy, but I am always pushing it and trying new things in hope of taking it further. That keeps it all fresh and exciting for me. 

One more thing concerning your happiness. Do what you enjoy and what interests you. Keep pushing it out there. If you love it and feel passion and joy in it, I believe others will too. Don’t try to save time and settle for just getting it out there. Chasing trendy and marketable is not really who you are. Art directors will hire you for what they see you promoting. I don’t want you to end up bored and frustrated. Be happy and be you. 

Jim lived in New Jersey his whole life. He studied at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Jim works at home. He lives with his wife, adult son Steve who is autistic and his Boston Terrier, Annablelle. Jim also loves gardening, the gym, the beach, hiking, hanging out with friends. 

For more information, please visit Jim's website or follow him on instagram or facebook