My name is Jordan Andrew Carter and I’m an illustrational hustler/graphic wizard based between Northamptonshire and Essex. I like radical block colour mashed with soft pencil work and making people smile. My dream is to live near the sea and own a pug called Frank.
I always use Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils when I am at my desk, I like how raw and natural it feels when your’re drawing and you need to sharpen something and it gets smaller over time! I’m a massive fan-boy of the 2B and mine looks like a little wooden nub right now. When I’m away from my desk though, I use a mechanical pencil with HB lead just because its easier and I don’t need to sharpen it every 2 minutes.
What appeals or attracts you to working in pencil?
Pencil is the ultimate creative tool! It’s dry so you don’t have to set up your work space in anticipation of mess, its small so you can take it on all your gnarly adventures and it comes in a variety of flavours depending on the look you want to get. Also the amount of control you get over the lines and tones you create is immense. How can you not love pencils!?
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process from initial image to final piece?
Everything always starts off in my little A5 sketchbook as either a bunch of naff sketches or a load of scribbled notes. This helps me get whatever I’m thinking out my brain and onto some paper, then I take a break and come back to it all with fresh eyes and pick out elements I like. I always try a blend real graphic harsh lined colour with pencil work so the next step is to draw out the pencil piece which I scan and clean up in Photoshop. The next stage is the graphical colour, for this bit I usually just go with the flow and vector it up until I think it looks acceptable! I make it all sound quite orderly and easy but it’s not really, I often get horrifically lost in my own ideas.
How do you conceptualise a piece? Do you think of it as a story, snapshot or abstraction?
I guess if you really break my work down its a combination of all three, the pencil work often be
ing the snapshot and the colour being the abstraction then within that a hint of story. I like to create something outrageous that can stand alone as an image and just be itself. I’m not a comic artist and I’m terrible at story telling but I do like to translate some sort of underlying narrative through my work, whether people notice it or not.
Right or left handed?
What makes you a wizard, specifically a graphic one?
When I was a bright spunky youth a huge grizzly semi-giant with a homeless mans beard broke down the door to my home, put a Wacom pen in my hand and said ‘You’re a graphical wizard Jordan’. Unfortunately I can’t grow a huge radical wizard beard to show off because of bad genes, but I definitely am a graphical wizard.
Yeah a small one for really rough sketches and notes mostly and a larger one for final drawings that end up being pulled out and chopped up for scanning.
What size do you work at? Do you have a preferred scale and why?
Typically I work A4 to A3 dependent on what I’m drawing or if its specific to a brief. More often than not I draw A4 in pencil because that is the size of my scanner, but when I take it digital I’ll place it in an A3 art-board to allow space for the colour part of the work. I prefer to work larger scale because you can fit in crazy little details that tighten up when you scale it down.
Favourite city in the world?
I went to university in Norwich where I had a really amazing time and met my girlfriend, so it’s pretty special to me. I would like to visit Tokyo, it looks so colourful and full of life!
Favourite city to create in?
I haven’t visited many beautifully inspiring cities really, I need more city sketching experience.
What materials do you always find yourself using?
Pencil, vectors and Posca pens! I can’t stand having to maintain brushes and prepare a space to work in, I love the fact I can just pick up a pen or pencil and blitz it for 6 hours and not have to wait for anything to dry, I’m impatient like that! You can get some pretty sweet stuff when you take your pencil work in to digital territory too. All clean and no waiting!
Can you tell us about your favourite piece or a favourite creative experience?
My favourite creative piece and experience was in my final year at university, where I created an interactive story book app for adults! The whole year I kind of slacked off and didn’t do much then in the final term I really went for it and scripted, coded, illustrated and designed the whole thing.
It was a mega rush but I was really proud of the final thing, unfortunately not a lot of people saw it because there was issues displaying it in the degree show. I would love to work on something like that now though!
What records or pieces of music are stuck in your head right now? Do you listen to anything while you work?
To just grow away by The tallest man on earth and Holy grail by Jay-Z are my tunes right now. I’m always listening to music when I work, sometimes I get frustrated by my own choice of music and go for a podcast. But I can’t stand the radio, I need to pick what I want to listen to.
What is your favourite image or photograph? What brings you back to this picture?
One of my recent favourites is a spread that Bjorn Rune Lie did for wrap magazine’s winter 2012 Issue. It looks and feels so warm because of the rich colour and textures, it makes me want to wear layers and go for a wintery stroll in the snow.
What was the last film you saw in the cinema?
Despicable me 2. I want a minion.
Do you have any early memories of drawing or, what is your first memory of an image?
I remember when I was in infants school drawing my mum an Easter card in class that had the full on crucifixion of Jesus christ on the front, complete with roman spearing him in the guts with lots of blood and HAPPY EASTER written at the top. I think I must have just learnt about it at school but apart from that the thing I remember most is my great grandad teaching me how to draw. I sat in his garden for hours with him while I learned how to use perspective and drew his cottage. I really wish I still had the drawing.
Which artists influence you?
There’s a whole bunch! Miss Lotion, Zetka, Os Gemeos, Edik KatyKhin, Remed. I’m not purely inspired by street art I get excited by print too. They are both so vibrant and physical, you just want to touch, smell and look at them.
Mr Bingo’s Hatemail. The best books are the ones with no words and profanity.
What are you working on now? What can we look forward to from you next?
I recently took part in the ‘Not For Rental’ exhibition at 71a in London which was rad and currently I’m working on launching an illustrated lifestyle brand called Woodless! A brand that combines contemporary design and illustration with traditional processes and products. It’s taking a while but watch this space =]
Why do you prefer warm blooded creatures as a subject matter?
Inanimate things aren’t my bag man, everyone loves a good ol’ mammal. I was going to say that I’m working on some portraits to mix it up but people are warm blooded mammals too. I can’t get enough!
Coffee, nicotine or booze?
Coffee’s good but I love me that sizzurp.
What directions are you interested in exploring in the future?
I would love to do some real large scale mural stuff. It has been a while since I’ve done something that large in scale and I think my style now would really translate well to a blank wall, it’s just a case of finding someone to let me have it it I guess!
What would be your ideal location for this mural and what would it feature?
If it were up to me I would do it somewhere away from the crowd, tucked away in a secret little nook somewhere. That way when someone happens upon it they can just pause for a minute and appreciate the work and the moment they discovered it. But then again I would equally love to do it somewhere were a hoard of people will see it like a shop window or something. It would of course feature some sort of warm blooded creature haha something insane and intriguing…
Where can people get a hold of your work and find out more?
Jordan’s work appears in Issue 2.0 of Tiny Pencil, the summerzine Monsters, Mammals & Mars! Available to buy here.