Introducing Josh Patterson
We are very happy to be starting our new year by welcoming London based illustrator Josh Patterson to the Brilliant Artists roster! Josh grew up in a creative household destined for a creative life and creates precise yet playful illustrations with a fresh and contemporary feel. He has worked across a range of still and animated projects in both editorial and commercial spaces and we can’t wait to see where illustration will go.
We caught up with Josh to find out more about his inspirations and illustrator life.
1. Do you listen to music while you draw/paint/illustrate? And if so, who or what gets the most plays in your studio?
Yes, music is a must! It’s rare that my home studio is ever quiet. I’d say what gets played all depends on the mood I’m in. It could be anything from Deftones – Doja Cat. I love discovering new music though and making playlists is definitely one of my forms of procrastinating. I think I’ve made around 200 playlists on Spotify now, all very different genres. I do find that when I need to get my head down though, throwing on a mix for an hour or 2 is always good at keeping me focused. Otherwise I get too obsessed with what song I want to play next. And before I know it I’m back down the rabbit hole of making playlists!
NTS Radio is also great if I’m not sure what to put on.
2. Which other illustrators or artists do you most admire and why?
I’m constantly being inspired by the artwork around me. A few artists I’m really digging at the moment are: Jiaqi Wang for her vibrant and bold colour palettes, Vincent Mahé for his moody and atmospheric scenes, and Dave Arcade for his super busy and vibrant isometric compositions. But I would have to say the OG illustrator I fanboy over is Owen Davey – and always will be I think. Everything he does I’m like damn.. wish I could do that.
3. What is the best thing about being an illustrator/creator? And the worst?
I love being left to my own devices and just drawing. The full time roles I’ve had in the past that were closely related to what I want to do but not quite the crème de la crème. Being freelance now, it’s really nice to be able to channel my own interests and personal experiences into my artwork. I guess one of the downsides is it becomes such a huge part of my identity, that I often find myself measuring my self worth based on whether or not I’m producing good work. If I’m not creating artwork that I think is beautiful then it definitely affects my general day to day mood.
4. How do you overcome a creative block?
Usually if a job comes through then that would just force me to think creatively. It’s rare for me to not have anything going on in my head when reading through a brief. If work is slow though I like to set myself briefs from time to time as I struggle to just draw without some form of idea or direction. Sometimes it might be a quick editorial brief, or maybe even redoing an illustration I created years ago. My style has evolved quite a bit from when I first started my career, so it’s fun to rehash some of these old projects sometimes.
5. What are 3 of your favourite films? Which one would you illustrate the poster for?
This is a weird one for me… So my all time favourite film has always been E.T. However it’s also the film that scared me the most when I was a kid. I used to wake up screaming in the middle of the night thinking he was standing at the foot of my bed. To this day if I see a glimpse of his face it still makes me shudder. And yet, it’s still my favourite film – weird. I’m not sure I’d want to create a poster for it though, as it would require too much looking at his face for reference.
I think in terms of what I think would be fun to illustrate I’d probably pick a film like Avatar, Star Wars or Harry Potter. Mainly because of the elaborate costume and set designs. I can imagine having a lot of fun creating a busy scene with lots of little nods and references to things in the film. Maybe I’ll set this as a personal brief one day!
6. If you could work on the book cover for one book, which would it be?
Again, I’m always excited by anything that might require a busy scene. And although I’m not necessarily the biggest sci-fi fan, I do enjoy drawing futuristic/sci-fi scenes. So maybe something like Dune? Although I should probably have a crack at reading it first…
7. Dream studio location and set up?
Initially my head went to ‘a studio with an epic sea or mountain view.’ Which sounds great in theory but I feel like it would just make me want to be outside and distract me from my work. The reality of being an illustrator, or at least in my case, is long hours spent at your desk staring at a computer screen. So I need somewhere where I’m not going to get fomo. I also easily get distracted with people around me so I don’t know if a vibrant bustling studio is necessarily where I’d do my best work either. So to answer this question, a small, solitary, windowless room with no access to the outside world… Seriously though, I think I’d just want somewhere with lots of natural light, plants and loads and loads of artwork hung up around me. And maybe a nice view from the window – why not.
8. Best trip you have ever been on?
I went to Japan for a few weeks at the start of 2020 (that’s right, the beginning of covid) and had the MOST amazing time. My partner and I travelled around 6 or 7 different towns and cities, each one so different from the last. It was such a unique trip, and so unlike anywhere else I’d ever been. I found the people, in comparison to what I’m used to as a Londoner, were so warm and inviting and genuine. Also as it was the very beginning or the pandemic, most places were still open but there were hardly any tourists. So it felt like we had Japan to ourselves!
9. What do you have to have in place before you start work?
A tidy desk for sure. I can’t work with the mess around me – it stresses me out. Even when I’m cooking, I’ll clean the kitchen beforehand so that I have a nice area to work with. And then again once I’m done. Tidy workstations, eliminating clutter and everything in its rightful place is key. I think this is another thing I love about Japanese culture so much – the minimalistic approach to organisation.
10. If you could have any artwork in your home what would it be?
This is probably quite an uncommon answer but I’d have to say my dad’s! He’s an illustrator/designer as well but is more classically trained as a fine art painter and creates beautiful landscapes and still life scenes. He’s been saying for years he’s going to give me one of his paintings but never has. Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting…
I’ve always really looked up to his work though, particularly his sketching. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than someone with a really slick drawing style. Go check him out his name is Barry Patterson – his still life and cold wax stuff is the bomb.
Check out Josh’s full portfolio here.