N EW BEGINNINGS
F BELOW: Brighton-based illustrator Joey Everett’s colourful character designs are earning him new-found success in the publishing world, as Simone Hellyer discovers
or all the bad news that Brexit generates, Joey Everett of Chum Designs is in the strange position of thanking it for his big break into the world of book illustration.
The Brighton-based illustrator recently worked with author Sarah Bee to create
Will of the People: A Brexit Bedtime Story
that “tells the story of Brexit in bright pictures and simple words that even a UKIP voter could understand”.
“I was working with Red Door, a publishing company in Burgess Hill, doing standalone jobs here and there and then they approached me to illustrate a book they had coming out. The story wasn’t my idea, but I worked with Sarah to bring the book to life,” he explains.
Joey is still finding his feet in the world of illustration since leaving his job as a designer to go freelance, but says that working on Will of the People has given him the desire to create a book of his own.
“The dream job for me would be to become a children’s book illustrator,” he says. “Working on Will of the People was a learning curve and there would be things I would change next time. I would definitely want to be more invested in the story and have a hand in creating the character from the start.”
One thing he is certain of is his drawing style, which he developed and perfected while still at university. He says: “At the beginning I was drawing in a more time-consuming style, so it was very detailed and took a lot of commitment. By the end of my course my style was almost the opposite, with very big loose lines. I do feel like lots of people can spend ages looking for some sort of style, but I seem to have found it quite easily.”
Joey credits American caricaturist Al Hirschfeld as one of the major inspirations in developing his looser drawing style: “He could draw a caricature of someone with just three lines and really inspired a real less-ismore philosophy in me.”
artists around the world creating one ink drawing a day for the entire month.
“I do enjoy Instagram and I recently did the Inktober thing. Character design has always been my biggest passion, so I drew a different one every day. And things like that I love social media for, but it can be a bit of a slog at times,” he admits.
“Anything character-based is where my inspiration comes from, so the characters that I draw are often inspired by people that I’ve spotted walking around,” he adds. Joey also creates a range of prints, posters, mini zines and stickers that he sells on his website and at illustration fairs.
“I love attending fairs and selling things,” he enthuses. “I make little ‘doodads’ really – like little stickers, prints and zines. I really love attending those because you get such a great sense of community with other illustrators and everyone helps each other out. That’s probably the most enjoyable part of it – meeting the other illustrators.”
For Joey, attending the illustration fairs and engaging with the local artist community has helped with his confidence and made him realise that everyone is in the same boat: “I did [Brighton illustration event] Fair Play this year and that was always a bit of a goal for me because I’d attended it as a customer. Once I got there I realised that all the other people doing it were in the same situation that I was in.
“I often build it up in my head and think these people have got it down, they’re so organised and know exactly what they’re doing with their lives. But then you get there yourself and realise that everyone is just blagging it. And that’s a lovely feeling, you can look at that negatively but I’ve always seen it as a positive.”
One of his big goals for 2019 is to exhibit at the Brighton Illustration Fair – something he hasn’t felt ready for before. He also makes a point of writing down his achievements at the start of the year, “so when you see them all in front of you, you think ‘oh okay, I have actually achieved something here’”.
Which is surely a top New Year’s tip for us all to live by.