Featured Artist – Jim Peacock (aka ‘Mr Flexible’)

Jim was first introduced to illustration while studying for his degree in graphic design in the early 1990’s and has been a freelance illustrator ever since. He believes that this foundation in graphic design has proved invaluable to him in his career as an illustrator.

Initially working almost exclusively in watercolour, a shift in market demand prompted the transition of Jim’s work to predominantly digital format.

Jim’s work is very diverse, from an advertising campaign for a haulage company “Best of British” to “Snappy Tails”, a range of children’s novelty books.

Much of his work has been in children’s publishing including interactive, early learning and educational books and he is regularly commissioned by children’s magazine publishers including the BBC, John Brown, Macmillan and Scholastic.

Jim prides himself on his efficiency and ability to turn work around quickly and feels some of his best work has been done under the tightest of deadlines.

Although Jim’s work generally starts with a pencil sketch, the techniques he uses from that point can vary greatly.

“for example, the difference between an illustration with or without a keyline gives very contrasting results”

“my style and how I work is very adaptable and often develops during a job especially when designing new characters – which is perhaps what I enjoy doing most – the characters almost decide for themselves how the artwork will turn out”.

A recent job Jim has completed is for Westmead Children’s Hospital, which is the largest children’s hospital in Sydney and each year runs a teddy bear’s picnic. The hospital was looking for a fun, colourful, dynamic and vibrant style which would reflect the nature of the event – Jim’s work was perfect. Jim created artwork for the poster and other printed matter.

Now living in the Hunter Valley in NSW Australia and inspired by his surroundings Jim has once again washed out his brushes and dusted off his inks “I find the looseness of watercolour painting to be very satisfying but leaving the precision of digitially generated work behind can be a challenge and I have to remember in watercolour there is no ‘undo’ command.”

In complete contrast Jim has more recently taught himself to weld, initially to restore his collection of vintage vw’s, he hopes to develop some of his cartoon characters into 3 dimensional metal sculptures.

Jim makes the most of his freelance lifestyle working from home. When not illustrating, painting or welding Jim enjoys the good life growing veggies and maintaining his small orchard of fruit and nut trees. “I’m not sure what I prefer the most, the cultivation or the consumption …… definitely the consumption.”

So what’s next Jim? “Illustration is my passion and I continually strive to develop and improve my style. However, I’m always looking for new artistic outlets. I recently watched someone carve a giraffe from a tree with a chainsaw …. perhaps that will be next”.

Categories: The illustrators