Illustration by Ian Hill-Smith

After spending time in various towns and cities throughout his education, Ian Hill-Smith has now returned to Cheshire with a graphic design degree and specialisation in illustration. Now working in a residential school for young people with complex educational and behavioural difficulties, Ian still finds time to express his creativity in the form of caricatural and illustrative work.

“I decided last year that while all this variety has been fascinating, what I really want to do is create images for a living. Over the last few years I have produced caricatures for friends and family, initially as gifts, but of late the number of commissions I have been getting has increased and this has set me thinking that perhaps there’s a liveable income to be made, so I set up my facebook page and a couple of blogs and joined twitter. This latter saw me exhibiting at The Great Liverpool Art Fair where, alongside showcasing my caricature work I produced some editorial drawings. I really enjoyed doing these quick moment grabbing illustrations and I am currently thinking that this is where I want my career to go. I love doing the bespoke originals, but the prices I would have to charge to make a living make it seem a little unrealistic. For now at least.”

“As regards influences, I grew up devouring 2000ad and Mike Mcmahon has always been a bit of a hero. Also Jamie Hewlett, who I first came across in Deadline, drawing Tank Girl. Quentin Blake and Ralph Steadman stand out for me as well, but there’s so much great work out there, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I get from where. I suppose it’s fair to say that I hugely admire anybody who is producing stuff that is creative and true to their vision – even if the work doesn’t necessarily do much for me personally. I’d much rather see something produced with passion and imagination that I don’t really care for aesthetically, than a technically brilliant pastiche of what’s gone before. Strangely, perhaps a bigger influence on me than visual artists are the likes of Lemmy, Tom Waits and Nick Cave, and any number of less successful musicians who put themselves and their work out there and unflinchingly follow their creative ideals with little thought for trend or fashion, they produce what they’re driven to.”

See more from Ian Hill-Smith in his portfolio, cartoon blog and on Facebook.

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