Illustrator Interview: Jamie Jonathan Ball
Jamie Ball made the most glue-consuming EardrumsPop cover-art ever, the cardboard-constructed cover for our “Birdsongs, Beesongs” volume A.
Here is our interview with Jamie.
1. Can you give me a presentation of yourself and your art?
Upon graduating BA (Hons) Media Arts (First) two years ago, I have consistently developed my Illustration Design style. I feel like it is continually changing, updating, regurgetating itself, this excites me on a daily basis. I always enjoyed the biological process my work took, if I lost this I think it would be time to look for another job. I am 24 and currently live in Nottingham, a mid-sized city in the East Midlands. I spend alot of time in my garden, working, listening to music, drinking wine, life is great!
2. What are you working on right now?
At the moment I am learning to balance between multiple projects, which I find more enjoyable as of the variety but takes a great deal more planning. I have been working on a piece for the Swatch Young Illustrators Award 2010 for Illustrative Berlin (which has been on-going for a number of months), I’m also working on regular pieces for the London-based fashion blog Alex Loves, and making sketches and plans for a new Children’s book based on Peter Doig’s painting “Red Boat (Imaginary Boys)”. I’m also continually writing for the Little Kingdoms Eu Visual Journal, where I aim to provide concise and inspirational information to young and aspiring Illustrators (like myself), I find it helps me address in more depth what I like about a piece; aesthetically.
3. What are your favourite tools?
These days I mostly work vectors in Illustrator, but I’m never without my Moleskine and pencil when I go out or travel. The local libraries are the most useful tool I know, here I can find books and photos on any visual subject matter I wish.
4. How do you begin / conceptualise a project?
Normally it begins with sketches, although I work predominantly with vector I always prefer to work from a sketch, I’ve tried to work directly onto my Mac but it never goes quite right. When I work on colour-schemes I often have a basic idea then go and visit painting and decorating shops to build up my collection of colour swatches (half the time I work with limited primary colours anyway). I try to create myself a brief if i’m not provided with one. I love the exploration and my work rarely follow the original ideas anyway.
5. Who / what are your greatest Visual Inspirations?
Visual inspirations change daily as I seem to expose myself to so much. I constantly seek out great works to write about and its a great habit to get into. I have began to pinpoint different illustration styles from different areas of the world. These days I would say that my own works are largely inspired by a more Graphic European Illustration style (The Human Empire or Andreas Samuellson), Geometric shapes and wooden toys. Something I have grown up around, a blend between my parents careers of Architecture and Nursery School Teacher.
6. Is music or other forms of art an inspiration? If so, what do you listen to?
I constantly listen to music, whether in the studio, on the move or in my garden. Generally I find it inspiring how music and environment can co-exist and have a distinct effect on each other. When I get an album I love to try it out in different place and formats (on headphones / speakers, outside / inside, moving / static). I often find songs with rich descriptive lyrics indirectly inspiring to my works and the formulation of ideas; its geeky but I love taking a line from a song and formulating a story around it (image and words). Joanna Newsom is obviously great for this, also Bill Callahan / Smog and mewithoutYou. I also listen to a heavy amount of Motown and Post-Rock, i’m pretty eclectic and always open to suggestions! I collect Morr Music Vinyl for both the love of the sound and the artworks!
7. Describe an average working day.
My average working day begins at 5am (its easier at the moment because its light at that time of the morning). I put some coffee on and do an hours work on whichever project I feel in the mood for. Following this I spend some time writing for the Visual journal, get some breakfast and a shower. I then take two buses to get to my current job as a Creative Content Designer / Illustrator for a Software company (my day job). On the bus I try to learn some German. I work until 4pm then take the bus home again. I usually try to get out for a run after work as it helps me put things into perspective, collect my thoughts and get away from the screens for a while. I eat and then sit down in the evening to work again (usually 2-3 hours). Last thing at night I either study some more German, watch some television or lie in my garden and listen to some tunes (usually Stars of the Lid at that time of night!). At the moment its quite a heavy schedule but soon I expect to rebalance my time a little.
8. What are your future plans? Any exciting things you are looking forward to?
In September I will finish my current job and move from Nottingham to Berlin (hence the German studies on the bus). Here I will concentrate more on my own Illustrations, signing to Kinky Illustration Agency and also continue / hopefully progress the Visual Journal. Eventually I plan to develop Little Kingdoms Eu into a brand which will allow me to live, work and travel in harmony with each other. Sometimes it sounds cliché but a 9-5 job is not the dream!
9. What question and answer would you like to end this interview with?
What would be your ideal ‘Illustration’ Holiday?
Next year I would love to spend some time in Africa. Lions, Giraffes and Elephants have become a recurrant theme in my works and I would like to spend some time watching them in their native environments! Making sketches and living a Jules Verne inspired lifestyle for a week or two. My friend told me about Ethiopia, it sounds lovely.
You can learn more about Jamie Ball on his websites:
(Some questions are stolen with permission from Jamie Ball’s own interview series on his Visual journal).