We’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of illustrators at Standard Issue and thought it was about time we offered a proper meet and greet. In the first of a series of profiles, allow us to introduce Claire Jones.
Age: 42 going on 17
Official job title: Illustrator/Student
What was the first thing you wanted to be? A vet, until it became clear that I’m quite squeamish.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist/illustrator? When I’d tried everything else and hated it. Always loved drawing though.
What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Breaking a sink by sitting on it in my first week at a primary school. Great start.
When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? Walk my collie. Obsessed with YouTube. People showing off their shopping is compelling viewing. Lately I’ve become quite adept in the art of the day trip. Alone too. All that that entails. Eating in a lovely restaurant, getting from A to B, sitting at stations, everything. I’m quite the gadabout.
What would you like to erase from your past? The usual: ridiculous boyfriends, bleaching my dark hair to a bright white. Then watching it all break off a week later.
What brings you the most joy? I have two sons, 23 and 16, and honestly, when they are sleeping safe and sound and seem OK, that’s when I’m OK.
Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? As a child, Arthur Rackham was my first hero. I had a dog-eared copy of Aesop’s Fables I took everywhere for 35 years. It fell apart a while ago, and it broke my heart.
Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Everyone. I fall instantly and deeply in love with anyone who passes conversation with me.
What advice would you give a woman who wants a career in illustration/design? Do it right now. Start young or, failing that, today. Go to college and mix with the right people. Practise every day. Draw everything you see. Draw what other people see. Take a pad and pen everywhere and don’t be self-conscious. In the end, these things are what you will leave behind, and how you will make your mark on this world. Make every drawing your personal best.
How do you define success? People knowing your work? Word of mouth recommendations? Knowing you did the best you could every time? Whatever level you may be at, if you’re happy, you have exceeded success.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Stop thinking about what might go wrong. Just do it.
What’s your favourite illustration? (And can we see it?) I’ve attached a life drawing sketch I did at uni that was my breakthrough as far as realism goes. It’s really hard to do illustration AND fine art at the same time, and this sketch represents me not giving up until I got it right.
Where did you go on your favourite holiday? Devon when I was 15 with my best friend and her family. Rained every day and I got stamped on by a horse. Best. Holiday. Ever.
Who can’t you live without? My sons for sure, but if that’s a given, my best friend up in Yorkshire.
What can’t you live without? Wi-Fi, coffee, stationery.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Apart from getting my sons relatively unscathed to adulthood on my own, re-training my dog from an aggressive head case to a pleasant addition to the family.
Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler. Deffo.
Of all the illustrations you’ve done for Standard Issue Magazine, which is your favourite? The one with the old women giving advice on public transport. The article was so lovely and it inspired me to become a little more minimalist in my illustrations. I always want to connect with a reader and the author, to further humanise a story or gag, and so I focused more on the message and less on the situation, if that makes sense.