Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Hi! I’m James and I’m a Yorkshire born illustrator.
Are you right or left-handed?
What appeals to you, or attracts you to, working in pencil?
I love the immediacy of making a mark in pencil and the array of textures and tones you can create.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process, from the initial image or idea to the finished piece?
I find influence from all over. I often have many ideas drifting around my head but fail to get them all down on paper. I am never stuck when I want to start a project but often fail to follow the idea through.
How do you conceptualize/construct a piece? Do you think of it as a story, snapshot, or abstraction?
I usually take a broad theme and expand on it from there focusing in on a particular idea and often creating a story around that.
What size do you tend to work at? Do you have a preferred scale? Why this preference?
I like to work fairly large and reduce the scale, things always look nicer scaled down.
You have a series of drawings entitled The Big Sleep. Are you a Raymond Chandler fan, or a fan of noir? What appeals to you about these stories or, aesthetic?
I haven’t read much Raymond chandler but I really like the cool vibe of noir and the interesting moody visuals.
Do you have a favourite subject matter? What’s the particular attraction?
I often like to create landscape scenes with an interesting viewpoint. I find I like to put lots of detail in and the interesting viewpoints give a strange perspective to my work. I also like find interest in everyday things.
What was the thought behind Voyeur?
This was a zine in which I wanted to explore the feeling of being a voyeur and peeking into another’s life/home I found the quote ‘The principal characteristic of voyeurism is that the voyeur does not normally relate directly with the subject of his/her interest.’ really interesting and wanted to recreate this feeling for the reader.
Why do primates figure so predominately in your work?
I guess I just find them funny, a monkey is funny in any situation you place it.
What materials do you always find yourself using?
Mainly pencil and paper at the moment but I hope to try experimenting more with printmaking again.
What’s your favourite pencil? Brand? Wood? Mechanical? TELL ALL.
I like mechanical pencils and my favourite is a rotring tikky with 2b lead.
Can you tell us about a favourite piece of yours, or a favourite creative experience?
I particularly like my circus project, I really liked creating this work at the time and still enjoy looking at it.
Do you have any early memories of drawing or, what’s your first memory of an image?
One of my favourite drawings from my childhood is a drawing of a helicopter, my Dad still has it on his desk at work!
Coffee, nicotine, or booze?
Favourite city in the world?
I think this would be Amsterdam or Berlin so far, I intend to do more travelling though as I’ve still got lots to explore.
Favourite city to draw/sketch/illustrate/create in?
I’ll have to be boring here and say my hometown, Huddersfield.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
I usually have one but have increasingly found I work on loose sheets of paper, you can’t beat a big book full of ideas though!
Can you name your favourite, real life circus attractions? Or, alternatively: what would like to see/experience that you haven’t yet?
I’d definitely like to see a motorbike wall of death!
Your work has a real texture – or grit. Is this your natural style, or a deliberate choice to more accurately display the mood of your subject matter?
I think a bit of both, I have always admired naïve artists and the way they work so I try to embrace this side of my drawings.
What directions are you interested in exploring in the future?
I want to create more editorial illustrations as I find it such an interesting way of working.
What are you working on now? What can we look forward to from you next?
I’m currently working on some editorial illustrations and have a collaborative zine with a friend about retro game nerds.
Where can people get a hold of your work, or find out more about your previous projects?
All my details can be found on my website (www.jamescarrollillustration.com), feel free to drop me an email too!
James’s work appears in Issue 2.0 of Tiny Pencil, Monsters, Mammals & Mars! Available to buy here.
This interview was brought to you by The Tiny Pencil – fine purveyors of the pencil arts and mishmosh artist Heather McCalden.
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