Tom Jennings, award winning illustrator, designer and animator

Pleasure to introduce you to Tom Jennings, an award winning illustrator, designer and animator living and working in London, UK.

Tom has over 20 years experience of working in the creative industries as an illustrator and designer for a broad range of applications including publishing, editorial, animation, website design, packaging, advertising and video games.

Illustration clients include Penguin Random House, Wired, The Guardian, One Aldwych, Pavillion, Land Securities, Google, Walker Books, Waitrose, Reiss and Volkswagen.

Here’s where we find out a little more…

When did you start illustrating?

I’ve been into drawing for as long as I can remember, both my parents were / are artists, so I grew up in that kind of environment. I think it was really on foundation course that illustration became the focus.

Who has been the most supportive in your illustration career, perhaps your teacher, family, friends?

My parents have always been very supportive, and I’ve been really lucky throughout my career to have found clients who like my work and enjoy working collaboratively. Projects are always best when it’s a partnership rather than just executing someones idea. My wife has been amazing, and my daughter is always an enthusiastic assistant and desk mate.

Did you always think art was something that was going to be a major part of your life?

Yes, there was never a question about that. Even if I weren’t working in a creative job I’m sure I’d still be drawing and making things.

What is your favourite subject matter to illustrate?

I like drawing people a lot, and characters of all kinds. Monsters are fun. Did I mention I appeared on Blue Peter once as a monster drawing expert? I like to draw things which are fun, relatable, maybe a bit silly.

How would you describe your style?

My work tends to be line based, which comes from working with pen and ink with watercolours, although I often work digitally these days. I like the lines to look quite natural and casual, like handwriting. I’m quite versatile and I like to tailor my style a bit to fit the tone of the brief, whether that means working in a different medium, or colour palette, or quality of line etc.

What is your favourite collaboration to date?

I’ve been really lucky to have worked on lots of really lovely projects with great clients, so it’s hard to pick. Illustrating Jennifer Saunders’ autobiography for Penguin was great fun. I’ve really enjoyed working collaboratively with The League of Intrapreneurs over the years and have made some lovely work for them. Commissions for the Guardian and Wired have been some career ambitions ticked off the list, and I have a really lovely working relationship with some amazing hotels which has been really fantastic. I really love the range and diversity of projects I’m able to work on and am excited about what’s coming next!

What interested you about being represented by Illo Agency?

I was really impressed by the range and quality of Illos artists and by the types of projects they were attracting. I met with Amy and Thomas in Peckham to chat about their vision for the agency and what they had in mind for the future and it all sounded good. I’m very happy to jump on board and see where we go.

Do you have a favourite author, film director, or designer?

I admire so many artists its hard to name favourites but here’s some names that spring to mind: Saul Steinberg, David Lynch, Milton Glaser, Ben Shahn, Brian Eno, Gipi, Raymond Briggs, Kurt Vonnegut, David Gentleman, Posy Simmonds, David Hughes, Ralph Steadman, Paul Hogarth, Lorenzo Mattotti, Christoph Niemann, and Tomi Ungerer.

Are you working on any personal projects you can share with us?

I have a couple of children’s book ideas which have been rolling around the sketchbooks for a little while, ideas inspired by having a young daughter. She’s seven now and she has plenty of ideas and suggestions. She would make a formidable art director.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you have a favourite?

I love to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Hanging out with audiophiles with Jamie Liddell is really great. He often starts the episode with a nerdy sound design section where he explores an idea hes had and takes you through the journey. There was a great one where he uses super high definition microphones to record the sound of salt crystals falling, then slows it down to find hidden sounds. Or something like that, its really interesting and he’s really funny and engaging, and he chooses really interesting artists to talk to as well. Very good. I also like BBC Radio 4, Dear Joan and Jericha, Invisibilia, that sort of thing.

If you’d like more info, please contact: [email protected]

At illo agency, we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.