James' art education began in 1990 when his Grandma began teaching him to draw. After years of honing his craft, James graduated in 2010 with a 1st class BA (Hons) Illustration degree and has since been working for a wide range of commercial and private clients.
Often intricate and rich in pattern, James' illustrations are hand drawn using pencil, giving them a unique style and feel. He later adds colour digitally, whilst carefully ensuring the work still looks like it was created by hand.
James' illustrations can be found on a number of restaurant walls throughout England as well as in magazines, websites, album artwork and on gifts and home-wares.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? James: I am a creative person, love drawing and solving problems. Seeing ideas come together and fulfilling a brief is really satisfying. Question: Do you have any formal design training? James: I studied illustration at the University of Lincoln. Question: Where are you originally from? James: I was born in Gloucester, but grew up in the small town near Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? James: Exeter. It is a beautiful and lively city - I'm still getting used to the novelty of being fifteen minutes from the beach. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? James: I divide my time between my home studio and a co-working space in Exeter city centre. There are lots of other creative types and crucially a table tennis table for breaks. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? James: I used to spend hours with my Grandma having fun learning to draw – she had a great sense of humour. I still find now that the best work happens when you're enjoying yourself.
Question: How do you get your ideas? James: Usually once I start drawing, the ideas start flowing and one drawing informs the next. It all has a basis in observing the world around me though. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? James: I have sketchbooks, which help with developing ideas and approaches. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. James: I created three giant parts to a map of Ipswich for the local Zizzi restaurant – each section was around two metres square and held up by pulleys and a dock crane which I also drew. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? James: Bloomsbury would suddenly decide that they want me to redesign all the Harry Potter books for them, including a new trilogy about the life of Dumbledore. Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? James: An architect, or possibly a writer of bad cracker jokes. Question: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into illustration? James: To succeed you need to truly believe in what you are doing and understand it is a business, not a privilege to draw for a living. Question: If you could take a holiday leaving tomorrow, where would you go & what would you do? James: I would catch up with my friends, play some music, surf a bit and laugh a lot.
Zizzi Ristorante, Kopparberg, Bloomsbury, The Pharmaceutical Journal, The Psychologist, Penguin India, Exeter Living, Hoburne Holiday Parks, Abu Dhabi AirportsFavourites
: Boston Tea Party
, Queen Street, Exeter
: Melt-in-the-middle chocolate pudding!
: A good cup of tea
: No Guts, No Glory
, Fore Street, Exeter
: Design Inspiration
: Computer Arts
: North Cornwall – the bays surrounding Padstow