John Holcroft – illustrator and graphic designer from Sheffield. His portfolio includes work for the BBC, Reader’s Digest, Financial Times, The Guardian and The Economist.

Why you became an illustrator?

I started illustrating in 1996. I had left college in ‘92 hoping to become a graphic designer, however the recession in the 1990s meant no jobs and college graduates were starting to set their sights lower by taking whatever job they could get. I decided that the only thing I had going for me was illustration. Starting off this career took determination and money ( which I had none of) I would paint portraits of people’s kids and their homes for meager fees so I could finance my bus trips to London. I would  I would make as many appointments as I could to see Art Directors and art editors, then sleep on a friend’s floor to save money. I started off illustrating for magazines which I did for years until I moved onto different things. At first I would get one commission, then nothing for months. 

Do you finish the course or you self-taught?

I learned the basics at college, but I’ve always wanted to be an artist of some kind. I developed my style on my own.

This is your permanent job or part-time?

I’m full time. Although I’ve hit rocky shores in the past. When I started off I used to work in a supermarket filling the shelves at night, then Work on my commissions through the day. At the moment I’m juggling being a full time Dad, Husband and illustrator.

What motivation of ideas of your works?

Life. Without sounding pretentious, I get frustrated, bemused, annoyed and sometimes baffled by the absurdities of politics, greed and life in general. I believe nothing get’s across the point as well as a good conceptual piece of illustration.

What do you want to say in your works?

Whatever I think needs to be said.

How much time does it take to draw a picture? 

It depends on what I’m doing. Usually, it’s the ideas that take up the time. They can take months to get right. The artwork doesn’t usually take long.

Is it popular and paid job in your country?

Illustration is getting more popular since I left college. The trouble is, there is less work out there. The publishers usually set the fee, so it’s a case of ’ take it or leave it’.

What is your passion in addition to illustrations?

I play a little guitar (badly) and I go to a Taekwondo club twice a week. Other than that I don’t really have any other passions unless you count; spending time with my family.

Writer: Natalie Hitskaya