Illustrator Of The Week: Jim Dewar

Illustrator Of The Week

Our Illustrator Of The Week is Jim Dewar, a recognisable name to regular readers of the “Friend”.

You can find two of Jim’s latest illustrations in our September 21 issue.

Welcome to Illustrator Of The Week, Jim. You used to be the Illustrations Editor on “The People’s Friend” — what’s it like working for the magazine on the other side of the fence, so to speak?

It has its good and bad points.

The best part is that I can do the work when it suits me, which is usually in the evenings, giving me all day to enjoy doing other things.

Also, having only my own deadline to concentrate on is great.

I’m sure Sarah will agree, that on occasion the Illustrations Editor’s post can be quite stressful, juggling the deadlines for every illustration that appears in the magazine. The main downside is the lack of rapport with colleagues. I miss having a laugh with Alan and Tracey.

Do you prefer one type of story illustration commission over another, or are there others where you think – oh no, not again?

An easy illustration is always appreciated – thank you, Sarah. Having said that, some of the more challenging/complicated illustrations give a great sense of accomplishment. I find I enjoy doing most illustrations, but if I were pushed for an answer, I’d say period illustrations are my least favourite to do. However, when they’re finished, I’m often most pleased with the result.

In the art world, who influenced you the most?

My biggest influence was a fellow illustrator. I had just turned seventeen when I started working in DCT Art Department and, fortunately for me, I was seated beside Peter Moonie. He was a great influence during my first few years in the job. Peter is probably best known for illustrating Pop, Dick and Harry in “The Beezer”. John Blockley and Tony Couch have been an influence on my watercolour painting. I’m also a big fan of Jason Seiler’s digital caricature illustrations.

How important is it to be in the “zone” in order to illustrate and paint to your creative best?

I find it important to be in the right frame of mind when I’m painting because watercolours are not very forgiving. It is easy to overwork a painting and, before you know it, it’s only fit for the bin. Illustrating for the “Friend” is very different. Without a doubt, being in the “zone” helps, but these illustrations are done digitally, and it is so much easier to experiment with colours and textures. If something isn’t working, you can change it over and over till it works.

Apart from working on the “Friend”, what other types of illustrative work do you do?

I enjoy painting landscapes, mostly in watercolour, which I sell in galleries around Scotland. Also, I enjoy doing caricature work on my iPad and computer, mostly for pleasure.

What’s your one top tip for an aspiring Illustrator Of The Week?

Endeavour to illustrate every day – practise, practise, practise.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.