A self-proclaimed ‘illustrational hustler/graphical wizard’, Jordan Andrew Carter uses detailed pencil drawings and contrasting block shapes to ‘mystify and amaze your human see-globes’. This rising star graduated from Norwich University of the Arts last year and has just started to pencil a name for himself in the biz. While illustration is one of his big life aims, he also mentions his other aspirations: ‘my current life goal is to own a pug and live near the sea. I also have a HUGE weakness for biscuits, and believe if you replaced money with biscuits the world would be a happier place.’ Dividing his time between ‘Northamptonshire’ and Essex, pencils and Poscas are his ‘weapons of choice’.
Jordan paints what can only be described as ‘fairytales high on Posca fumes’. His detailed wildlife pencil drawings (which remind me of the work of Ohh Deer’s Jamie Mitchell ) are mixed with bright, block colours. Delightfully over the top and topped off with a sprinkling of humour, Jordan‘s illustrations are visual jokes with lashings of both elegance and fun. There’s a touch of Discworld in there too, in the sense that worlds that are balanced on top of animals crop up more than once. There’s even a smidge of Narnia in another of his drawings. Whether it’s a whale with the weight of the world on his shoulders, an orangutan on a pink bicycle, or a leopard wearing a headdress, the images all bring to mind a fantasy land with a dash of urban life. I can’t help but think that stories would have been much more fun when I was a kid if Jordan was involved. I spoke to this new kid on the block about his latest projects and love of desk clutter.
What kind of projects have you worked on recently?
I recently took part in Inkygoodness and Ammo Magazine‘s beermat character/ Poop Deck Exhibition at the Coningsby Gallery in London which was amazing. It was pretty awesome to take part and exhibit alongside some of the illustrators that I really admire like Hattie Stewart, Yema Yema and James Burlinson. I did a piece for Creative England‘s One Thing I Know publication which sold out last week! I’m also working on creating my own clothing shop/ brand called Woodless.
There’s a definite storytelling element to your work, were you a big reader as a kid?
As a kid I preferred to be outside causing havoc like a little ruffian rather than sitting inside reading. I’m one of those people that need visual stimulation so I don’t really read a lot. If a book doesn’t have copious amounts of imagery then my mind wanders so I tend to stick to magazines. Articles are usually short and sweet with killer images, which is perfect for me.
Does what’s happening in your life affect your illustration?
In terms of inspiration: definitely not. When I sit down to draw it’s a getaway for my brain so I would rather focus on anything except what’s happening in my life. Time and money are the things that affect it most; I can’t currently spend all day everyday drawing even though I would love to so it’s just a night-time pursuit at the moment.
Is there a singular moment that sums up why you decided to become an illustrator?
Originally I wanted to become a Fireman until I realised I was scared of heights and my dreams were dashed. I don’t think there was a specific moment when I knew I wanted to become an illustrator. I’m not really a planner, I studied Fine Art at college and then Games Art at university so I guess I only knew I wanted to be an Illustrator when people started calling me it. It’s something I’ve always done and enjoyed so I’ve kind of naturally fallen into being an Illustrator.
You use mixed-media a lot in your art, is there something that compels you to mix-it up a little?
I’ve always been able to sort of adequately draw things and people but I became a massive fan-boy of various print processes and anything hand printed when I met my Graphic Designer girlfriend at university. My abilities and influences just seem to lend themselves to creating something that is a blend of everything I know or have learnt; also, it stops me getting bored because I can play about with more ways of making an image.
There’s a lot of humour in your work, do you think funniness is important in contemporary illustration?
For sure! I think if you can make someone smile, then you’re really connecting with them, so I would rather do that as opposed to just creating something that looks nice. Humour is one of the most important things in life, I think it naturally filters through into your work if you want it to or not.
What is your dream commission?
I’d love to do some larger scale mural work in a shop!
Do you really enjoy long starlit walks along the soggy shoreline and apple bobbing in baskets of kittens?
Don’t tell PETA, all the kittens consented.
Describe your desk
My desk is pretty standard to be honest, it’s white and surrounded by clutter and illustrative trinkets. There are shelves next to it filled with cardboard elephant heads, vinyl toys, paper toys, books, a skull, Lego people, zones and vintage illustrations. There is also a cube man called Earnesto Cubeman the First that sits on top of my iMac.
What’s your strangest influence?
Anything on the dark side of Youtube, if you just keep clicking you will eventually come out the other end feeling weird and questioning what you just watched. One time I spent an hour flicking through videos of hornets fighting wasps…
Is there a font you love to hate?
There are a lot of fonts I hate but none that I love to hate. I’m a huge sucker for pretty much anything hand-drawn, it all looks so fresh and natural.
All illustrations courtesy of Jordan Carter. You can view his portfolio here www.jordanandrewcarter.co.uk/
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