An interview with Paul Jackson

By Ed Vinicombe on Nov 5th, 2014

Hi Paul, for those who are unaware would you care to introduce yourself?

My name is Paul Jackson, I am an Illustrator/Artist that has been making a living from drawing weird shit for way too long and I am pretty happy about it. I have a weird thing for apes and old looking people, and i am currently getting into water colours.

How long have you been designing for and where would you say your style originate from?

I have been designing since i was at college, my teacher got me into things like the Tomato Project and David Carson and that started me off in graphic design. I have always been more of an illustrator than a designer, but i do enjoy typography, even tho its not my strength. As far as style goes, i guess i would have to say sci-fi has always played a big part, i have always loved b-movies and horror so that rears its ugly head in lost of my work. I think i am pretty bold, i always try to get an iconic look to my work, i want you to stop and look at it and remember it, i think that's the purpose - especially for album covers.

Your illustrations are incredibly detailed, could you talk us through the transition from paper to screen?

Its a simple process, i draw it then scan it, then i tweak in photoshop. I try to do as little as possible to the drawing on screen, but recently i have been working 50/50 on paper and screen as i am finding the potential in that. Saying that, I don't think i would ever be able to work direct onto the computer, i would miss the pen on paper interaction. I have also started mocking up my images in photoshop first so that i have a solid reference to work from, seems to be working pretty well, wish i had thought of it years ago!!I am trying to loosen up a bit with my work and not get too lost on the details, i want to just work into the part that really requires it then leave the rest to the viewers imagination.

This is one of my favourite pieces. How long does a piece like this normally take you? Do you find you have too many projects on the go at once or do you tend to keep yourself quite organised?

That particular piece took me a day or so? I don't sit there and work on one thing until its done, i usually have 3 or 4 pieces on the go at once as i like to mix things up a bit. I am not particularly organised if i am honest, but i have just enough skills in that area to get by... I don't think you will ever hear a freelancer complain about being too busy...!!

Outside of freelance what do you do to keep you busy?

Weirdly, i draw. I am blessed and cursed in that my hobby is my profession. I love it, but there are two sides to it, i like to just do my own artwork in my spare time, mainly portraits and a bit of sic-fi surrealism. Other than that i guess i like the same as the next man, getting drunk and playing poker. I also play the drums as much as i can, i find it relaxing even tho it makes me angry.

A lot of illustrators slowly creep into tattooing. Ever thought of making the jump?

Yea many times, but i just feel that its becoming a tiny bit saturated. That's not to disrespect any of my many friends that are tattoo artists, they are all amazing at it, but i do think that a lot of tattoo artists these days can't even draw, and that to me is odd, that's the fundamental point to it. Plus it is becoming a bit to 'fashionable' which upsets me a bit, everyone seems to have a tattoo these days and its losing a bit of its charm. Saying that, it hasn't and won't stop me from getting tattooed!! Hypocrite alert.

Where do you go for inspiration when starting a new piece of work?

I have a bunch of folders that i fill with images i find which is a source of constant inspiration. Other than that i get really inspired watching movies, and listening to music with great lyrics, they inspire me. Nature fascinates me, animals, skulls, space, forests, mountains, you name it, i can get excited about it.

Designers you would recommend checking out?

Tons. My man Aaron Hill is an amazing tattoo artist from Toronto, he does some great stuff. Alex Snelgrove is an awesome artist, she has just made the leap to tattoo artist too, but she will be a big name in that world as she is the most naturally gifted artist i know. Richey Beckett is having a great year this year and continues to get stronger which is fun to watch. Tom Gilmore is producing some great stuff too - all are worth checking out...

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