All images © Jade They
London-based illustrator and printmaker Jade They provided the powerful illustration for the issue 10 Incidental column ‘Loft of Hidden Dreams’. We spoke to Jade about her art background and her method for approaching commissions. More of her illustrations follow below the fold.
Can you say a little about your art background?
I studied at the University of Westminster and graduated with a first in Illustration and Visual Communication in 2012. My work has appeared a number of publications, with recent features in Boneshaker, Lost in London, Strike! and Delayed Gratification magazine, amongst others. I have taken part in a number of shows and exhibitions including 2013 Design Junction, 2013 Members Summer Show at London Print Studio and 2012 New Blood D&AD.
How do you approach illustrating a piece of writing generally?
Generally when illustrating a piece of writing I need to make an analysis of the imagery described in the text as well as subjects and atmosphere. I then develop an idea based on those three things. Then I make a working rough using hand-drawn elements, which gets refined along the way. I cut the final from lino and print it. Sometimes the image will then go through minor changes in Photoshop, but I try to keep to the original print as much as possible.
And for the piece you did for us specifically?
For this particular piece in Structo I made quite a few different finals and chose the best. I did this by cutting away the background on the lino, starting with a largely dark image and ending up with the central figure on a white page with the books at varying amounts. However, I decided to go with one of my first prints, which is often the way.
Do you have a favourite medium?
My favourite medium, as you can see from a lot of my work, is linocut and I’ve started experimenting with woodcut as well. It’s a process that takes time and planning but can have great impact and has a feeling all its own. I also like the relief print process because of its roots in Chinese culture and the moving artworks that were made in China during the twentieth century. Being half Chinese myself, these artworks influenced me a lot growing up.
Is there anything that indie magazines and presses can do to improve the process of collaboration with illustrators?
I think generally the process of collaboration between illustrators and indie magazines is a good one but some magazines tend to be more respectful of illustrators than others, and likewise some illustrators can be unreliable and unaware of the effort it takes to put together a decent publication. In general both illustrators and magazine publishers should do their best to understand each other and respect where each side is coming from culturally.