Cute dogs, friendly trees and adorable pigs: can Tom Jones’ illustration get any cuter?
… not possible! We chat to the illustrator about his outrageously sweet creations and how he came to land on this particular style.
- Ayla Angelos
- 16 July 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
When we first heard from illustrator Tom Jones – and no, not the singer – it was a time before the word lockdown became a vernacular part of our everyday vocabulary. Strange times have certainly passed and still linger among us, but now, it seems like a good time to bring out these wonderfully sweet drawings.
If the little fluffy sheep with extra long tails, big ears and happy faces don’t brighten up your day then we’re not sure what will. Not to mention the cute dogs with heartwarmingly droopy eyes, adorable pigs, nice looking aliens, friendly trees and various other joyful characters going about their everyday life of being… well, cute.
Having initially started drawing over two years ago, Tom saw the medium as more of a hobby that him and his girlfriend would do together – “it’s kind of grown from there,” he tells It’s Nice That, and little did he know that things would take off and become a bit more serious. A special thanks can be made to his illustrator friends who he says have been “really and supportive and encouraging” from the get-go, meaning that this confidence was nourished in a way that made him present his work to the world (through Instagram). But, surprisingly, he didn’t really have much of a creative background after all; “it wasn’t really on my radar as something you could do before I started.”
The creative world can be somewhat mind boggling for those just starting out to say the least, especially if it’s a new medium that you’re getting to grips with. We’re thankful that Tom made the leap, however, and now he’s working hard to keep his sketches going as much as he can during the week. So in terms of his inspiration and how he finds these sweet ideas, he looks towards that which surrounds him: “I like nature and going for walks always seems to trigger ideas. Stuff from childhood as well, like shiny Pokemon cards, toys from cereal or kinder eggs – that sort of thing.” Alongside song lyrics, which he marks as “good prompts” for drawing, Tom’s also recently discovered Monchhichis – an American animated series based on the stuffed toy line of dolls from Japanese company Sekiguchi Corporation. “I’ve been trying to capture their cuteness ever since.”
After working effortlessly throughout the week to fill his sketchbook, come the weekend and he’s got a whole roster of illustrations to soft through. “I trace those drawings in fine liner using a light box, and then colour them in with pro markers,” he says of his process. What’s more is that the weekend’s freedom allows him to toy around with different materials like torn paper, paints, “whatever”. Then, once he’s had enough of the experimentation side of things, he’ll scan his works and begin building the layout in Photoshop. “I’d like more time to explore different things but I work a pretty standard nine-five office job, so this routine works well with the time I have.”
Tom now points out one image [below] that resonates with him the most. It’s a blue-huge image of a cute chinchilla or “flying squirrel type of creature”, placed with a few vases and some people “hanging out”. It’s important to note that there’s not much narrative or concept behind in his works, rather it’s a “stream of consciousness” that brings all of his uniquely charming characters together. “I think of all the little elements as little stickers which don’t necessarily have context together,” he says. “Narratives are something I’d like to work on in the future, but I find it allows me down a bit when I’ve tried – I’m a bit impatient.”
When asked how he hopes his audience will respond to his drawings, he replies with a straightforward answer: “hopefully they find it funny and cute”. He’s achieved this goal no less and we can’t wait to see what adorable (and potentially narrative-driven) scenes he puts out next.