Let us introduce you to Jake Hollings, a freelance illustrator who graduated just over two years ago from the University of Huddersfield. Find out more from his social media – Twitter, Instagram and Behance and find out below and what ticks his clock…Tell me a bit about you and your background: where are you from/ where did you study?
I’ve lived in West, East and North Yorkshire so that was fun. Then I packed up and moved to London in September of 2015. Having studied illustration at Huddersfield University, I graduated just over two years ago!
When you started working ‘professionally’ how did you develop your distinctive visual language which we see in your work today?
First of all I started out printmaking back in college, and the passion has stuck with me since. I’ve since taken that ethos and process and ‘transferred’ that into my commercial portfolio. The thing I most enjoy building are my visuals through layers, as though it were a screen print/risograph print. Combining sharp graphic elements with relaxed free flowing organic shapes and textures is a really fascinating combination. I’m a fan of illustrators with a naive style, and those who have the confidence to let the weirdness of their sketchbook work feed into their commercial work. Over recent times I have tried to create work that is bolder, sharper and more confident with colour combinations.
What social media platform do you find the best to pose your work on, or is it a mixture of all of them together?
I prefer Instagram as I’m fairly new to my Twitter account but I’m beginning to use it more frequently now. The simplicity of Instagram is refreshing and I like the sense of community it has. It’s almost where you sort of feel as though you know your fellow illustrators even though you may never have met them. Their ‘@’ name seems so familiar now, if that makes sense. Oh and Behance is really great, a good way to get your professional portfolio seen by the right people.
Talk us through your prep for a guest lecture/workshop at Huddersfield that you’re going to run. What level are the students and what will you be teaching them?
The workshop was held on a Thursday and it was based on the process of print; using those ideas to take the concept and to create an actual illustration. The theme of the workshop was Halloween, which I wanted to keep fun, simple and relevant. I prepared for the workshop by creating my own illustration to give them a visual reference, in which I talked about the process of print and the correlation to my work.
The bulk of the workshop was to create a series of layers using various collage and drawing techniques in only black and white. They had a range of materials such as black card, pens, ink, pencils and paint. Getting to grips with this technique is valuable for those who have an interest in print or are simply looking for a new technique to work with. The group was a mix of 1st, 2nd and final years, as well as some MA students.
You entered ‘Secret”7’ earlier this year with two samples of work – how strong are they through your eyes, and if you were able to re-do them again now, how would you approach the songs?
Yes, although unfortunately my work didn’t get selected this year – despite that I did learn a thing of two from the experience. Overall I was happy with the work I produced, more so for ‘The Jam – Art School’. Looking back I could have made them stronger. A record cover should be bold and memorable and I wouldn’t say I achieved that. If I were to start the brief again now I’d strip it back and make something with a colour background rather than white, and with less fuss them before. Simple is probably best in this instance. Let’s see how I get on next year eh?
Right – I want you to dream you wildest dreams and imagine you’ve just been given your dream commission. Firstly, what is it and what do you need to create?
In my wildest dreams I’d be asked to create an animated music video for maybe for Kurt Vile or Mac Demarco. They would let me go crazy with it. I’d like to work on it with another illustrator or animator and spend ages on it. I’m not used to working on a long drawn out project, so that would be a real challenge for me. Also, it would be really cool and refreshing to work in a team.
Coffee? I’m not fussy, a cup of tea would be spot on though.
Publication? Illustration Next.
Mediums to work in? Pencil, felt-tips, oil pastel, spray paint and gouache.