Illustrator, Aspiring Snazzy Vegetable-Grower, Ninja-in-Training: have a read about our new Plum Joseph Namara Hollis!
Where do you live/work?
I’m based in a village on the outskirts of Nottingham. I work from home in a little cottage.
What do you like about working there?
My partner Julia (who is also an illustrator) usually isn’t too far away. So I can always call the cavalry if I need an extra pair of eyes on a job.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I tend to draw in a way that allows me to be playful and respond to text organically.
I always like to designate time for the subconscious to work it magic, this usually means
exploring ideas on big pieces of throw-away paper without too much consideration. Exciting
things can happen when you’re feeling carefree and spontaneous. It’s absolutely necessary to return to these piles of drawings with fresh eyes after some rest and cherry pick the drawings that still agree with me when I’m being more critical. From there I’ll compile my work and colour digitally. I make my own digital brushes based on mark-making and textures I’ve made in the print room so that the digital part of the process still feels organic and experimental.
|Part of Joseph's illustration process|
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I love the boundless opportunities to create, invent and nourish the imagination. When I’m deeply engrossed in drawing I often enter a flow state which feels immensely fulfilling and therapeutic.
Do you have a particular favourite character that you’ve illustrated?
No favouritism but my characters appear to be going to great lengths on journeys of self
discovery so hats off to them because I’m finding it all very helpful.
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
I enjoy drawing animals most, there’s something humorous and surprising when they capture a human expression. Thinking about it, anthropomorphising anything is an absolute delight.
|An illustration from Bear's New Hair by Joseph Namara Hollis|
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
I like searching for mushrooms and training to be a ninja.
What or who are you most inspired by?
There’s too many wonderful inspiring people to list only one so let's go with nature. The
symbiotic relationships in nature show us it's entirely possible for everyone and everything to work together.
How did you get into illustration?
I think it's probably more a case of not getting out of illustration. “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up” -Picasso
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
Ah, spoilt for choice! The list would be too long. But Ben Shahn and Saul Steinberg are two of my old favourites.
|Works of Ben Shahn and Saul Steinberg|
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1) Don’t think too much.
2) Learn some yoga and meditation.
3) Remember to leave the house.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
I liked anything by Richard Scarry.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
I tend to dip into several books intermittently. There’s lots of books under my bed (I’m not sure that's good Feng Shui). Recently I finished David Lynch’s Catching The Big Fish. I’m
impressionable, it made me think; wow I’d better go meditate, draw, then watch a David Lynch film to celebrate. By the time I had finished drawing I was ready for bed, at this point, the thought of a David Lynch film was too taxing.
What are your aspirations for the next year?
I hope I can share more of my passion for illustration and the creative process with others.
Meanwhile growing some snazzy vegetables.
What’s your ultimate dream?
Ultimately the dream is to draw as much as possible, but if I can do that closer to an organic
vegetable patch, some indian runner ducks, a log burner and perhaps a border collie in an
off-grid earthship that would be grand.
Welcome to the family, Joseph!