Artist Spotlight: Jim Spendlove

Did you grow up in Sheffield?
I grew up in Burton on Trent, a small town just below Derby. I moved to Sheffield around six years ago to study fine art at Sheffield Hallam University.

How did you first get into illustration?
I’ve been drawing my whole life, so it was just a natural progression into it. I used to copy frames out of comic books and draw characters from the Simpsons in primary school. In secondary school I spent all my time drawing on my books and folders, every term was a new opportunity to get a full page drawing done on the front of my folder. I went on to college and university then decided I wanted to be freelance; I’ve been working on that ever since.

Where do you tend to find inspiration?
I find inspiration from things in nature, compositions in photography and film and looking at other illustrators’ work. A lot of the time I don’t really find that you have to wait for inspiration to hit though, there’s always something to draw! Sometimes I just enjoy putting my style onto something I’ve never referenced before. Crossing the nature theme with a juxtaposing element is something I find quite rewarding when it comes to concepts for my own work.

How would you describe your style?
There’s a few different things that influence my style: comic book-style elements that I’ve carried over from when I was young, all the graffiti and hip-hop elements that I got into when I was a teenager. This is where the line work became so important for me; my colouring style has only recently caught up with the line style I’ve been developing since my teens. Concept-wise, I like to add an unworldly feel to it. It’s almost like real life but not quite. I find it really interesting to offer the viewer things that they’d recognise but just slightly more abstracted.

Any works in particular you’re particularly proud of?
Anything that gets released on vinyl I’m always super proud of, there’s something rewarding about seeing your artwork on a big sleeve while you’re watching the vinyl spin. All the work I’ve done for Abbeydale Brewery I’m proud of too. Walking into the pub and seeing my artwork on a can in the fridge or someone sending me a picture of it on Instagram is great!

See more of Jim’s work at jimspendlove.myportfolio.com

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