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20 | Nicholas Frith, Illustrator

I've made it my duty to track Nicholas down after seeing a tee he designed for a local coffee company. 4 years on and I got to pick up some cards and a mug at the most recent South Coast Makers Market. We caught up for Co.:

El: What has it taken to make your illustration a full time gig?

N: Time. And any number of verbs, nouns, adjectives etc:

Compulsion, commitment, aspiration, focus, planning, faith (not of the organised religion sort), patience, support, money, hard work, freak outs, a little luck, and so on and so forth.

I’ve been working as a full-time illustrator (and sometimes writer) for 9 years now! Wow, even writing that down make me pause a little.

Just putting myself, and my work, out there, was the biggest thing at the start. And treating it as a ‘real’ job before it even was one, really helped me make time for it and filled me with purpose, whilst I was still working a full-time McJob. That seems a long time ago now.

But like so many things, it is in the doing, not in the thinking of doing. Isn't it. I find that that is as true to me today as it was 9, 10, 11 years ago. I look at ‘making it’ as a continual thing.

El: What’s your dream project?

N: One that pays lots of money, so I never have to work again - and when I say ‘work’ I mean taking jobs with the consideration of having to pay the bills.

But the less crude answer is: to just keep illustrating and writing books (and getting published).

Oh, I’d love to illustrate Roald Dahls’ James and The Giant Peach. That would be very cool!

El: What is your inspiration and motivation to draw?

N: Mainly a compulsion to flesh out the ideas and stories that ferment in my mind. But I’m also driven by the desire to keep working professionally.

What actually inspires my work, as in influences, is different:

There are a lot of Mid-century illustrators, such as Dahlov Ipcar and Roger Duvoisin. And 1930’s British artists like Edward Bawden, Eric Ravillious, Barnet Freedman.

Then there is the inspiration of the world around us, especially the natural world. Plus film; music; some of the usual, I guess.

El: What do you love about Dorset?

N: What do I like about Dorset… hmm.. My family are here. We have a nice coastline. The sea. Locally; places like Velo Domestique cafe, in Southbourne, make me happy to live in the area. And I like the pine trees.

You can see Nicholas' dreamy work here and on Instagram - you can find a few pieces and cards stocked in everyone's favourite local gallery and design store, Pen Gallery in Poole.

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