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

Sussex Life - - Front Page - Split by Joey Everett Flowa by Joey Everett Bikey by Joey Everett

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.

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