Monday, 21 January 2019

Welcome to the Plum Family, Jordan Wray!

We are very excited to welcome the fabulously talented Jordan Wray to our punnet of Plums... get to know him in our Illustrator Interview! 

Where do you live/work?
I live in Canada and the UK, what I love about living in two places is the change of scenery and culture. Living in England I was born and raised in Sheffield, Yorkshire where the Peak District is right on my doorstep and Yorkshire puddings are always on my plate!
Whereas in Canada, I live in Vancouver where the mountains and pine forests call me to run with the wolves and be wild. In each country I work from home where I have learned to transition my nightwear into day wear…that’s right, the glory of writing and illustrating in my pyjamas all day has got the better of me!

What do you like about working there?
The thing I love the most about working from home is the fact I can switch myself off from the outside world, close my door and play my music and really get into my little whimsical world of creativity. Also the fact I get to sit at home with coffee and my cat, Iver!

What do you love most about being an illustrator?
The thing I adore the most about being an illustrator is how I get whatever happens in my head out onto paper, it’s almost as if I share my world with everybody to see which is quite amazing actually, especially when I receive a new brief and how I interpret or visualise a manuscript.

How do you work – what are your techniques?
The techniques I use to create my work are both digital and hand drawn. I feel the world is so full of technology these days that I like many others desire to get back to more natural, artisan-like roots and creating hand drawn compositions gives an unpolished, imperfect look which I love!

What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
My most favourite thing to draw must be animals. I’m a HUGE animal lover and love the different personalities that shine through when watching them. I always try to capture this in my character designing and my main subject for this is my little cat, Iver.

Do you have a particular favourite character that you’ve illustrated?
I don’t really have a specific character I have illustrated which is my favourite but in my first authored book, ‘Rosa Draws’ the characters from Rosa’s mind are pretty out there, whacky and really fun to illustrate! I mean, who wouldn’t love to draw a plum-tastic moose?

What or who are you most inspired by?
I’d say nature. I’m a huge, huge fan of nature. To get my creative juices flowing, I love to go on long walks with my music where I collect pinecones and inspiration, shells and ideas. The world around me is definitely something that feeds my creative process.

Do you have a favourite illustrator?
I don’t necessarily have a favourite illustrator but what I DO find fascinating is setting up workshops in Waterstones or other bookstores for kids to join in with. My latest workshop was a ‘create your own charater’ crafternoon session and I LOVE seeing what the kids come up with and how their minds work.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
Away from my desk, as mentioned I do love going on long walks but if I don’t feel like using my legs on a hike I tend to go travelling, surfing, longboarding, taking care of my houseplants, taking photos or simply sitting on my windowsill and daydreaming.

How did you get into illustration?
Illustration has ALWAYS been a huge part of me, since being small I was always found with colour pencils in my hands either drawing small critters or writing little stories.
I took my love for storymaking into adulthood where I studied Illustration at Plymouth College of Art and after receiving a First Class Honours, landed my first ever illustration job, designing greeting cards for Hallmark where I worked for roughly two years before plunging into the world of freelance.

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
Oh this is a tough one!
Okay so, my first tip would be to stalk. Stalk, stalk and stalk. If you have your heart set on a company you want to for with or for, don’t leave them alone! Ask about potential internships, freelance work or positions coming up in the near future, your determination will get you further than your actual work will.
My second tip is to use your time wisely. In the rare case of sat twiddling your thumbs between briefs, make sure you practice and brush up on skills you haven’t used in a while or take the time to create something new or use a material you have never used before. This is always great to show clients that you’re versatile or that you have a new style which could fit one of their briefs…It could also take you down a new avenue of developing your style and creative identity.
Finally my third top tip is keeping your confidence. The publishing world can be quite competitive at times and you may get many setbacks or rejections of manuscripts and portfolio viewings. Keep your chin up, put that smile back on your face, get back to the drawing board (literally) and persist to kick ass!

What were your favourite books when you were younger?
The books that I always remember reading as a child are the ‘Dilly the Dinosaur’ books by Tony Bradman. Back in the 90’s my teacher first started reading these books to us in class and I LOVED them so much that my mum and I HAD to go out and by them so that I could hear the same chapters twice in one day, once at school and again at bedtime.

What was the last book you read? What did you think? 
The latest book I read was ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed. It’s definitely a tear-jerker I must admit but the journey the main character goes on, through the desert, mountains and pine forests of the Pacific North West (from California to the boarder of Canada) is so eye opening and profoundly adventurous, it was difficult to put down! I’m actually finding it hard to find a next read to live up to it.

What are your aspirations for the rest of the year?
For the rest of 2019, I’d say my aspirations are to eat less doughnuts (way less) and to try and be a better adult!

What’s your ultimate dream?
Oh, this is to definitely one day visit the moon!

Welcome to the family, Jordan!

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