We're constantly looking for interesting artists on Instagram. We will be introducing them every tuesday in a series called Introtuesday. Please meet Philadelphia, USA based illustrator and printmaker James Heimer.
What are you working on at the moment? I'm pulling reference of 1950's kitchens for a short comic story.
What is your work process like? I'm a strong believer in the traditional thumbnail process. I love the immediacy of a pencil on paper. I have a tough time drawing in tiny boxes so my brainstorming phase starts in my sketchbook in a loose stream of consciousness fashion. I tend to draw all over the page and on top of other drawings focusing more on getting an idea down than on composition. This is really my favourite part of the process. The feeling of discovery is always exciting. It may be odd coming from an illustrator but I don't love creating finished drawings. Its terrifying.
From my sketchbook I refine on tracing paper until things start to come together. I tend to keep my sketch presentations fairly loose in an attempt to maintain spontaneity in the finish. The level of polish in sketches certainly varies from client to client but the nuts and bolts are all there.
My finished work is composed in pieces the same way one would colour separate for screen printing. Everything is drawn in layers in black ink on marker comp. I try to use a brush but lately on some shorter deadlines I've been relying on the Pentel pocket brush and some Tombow pens. I'm a terrible draftsman and my hands shake when I draw. Over time I've learned to embrace my raw lines and slips in colour registration. I love the way shitty printing can unintentionally enhance a printed image. I try to emulate that even in work intended to be viewed on a screen.
My final separations are scanned and colour overlays are added in Photoshop. I don't do colour comps instead opting to think in terms of value. Each level of value corresponds with a spot colour that builds to the full finish. Once everything is composed and coloured I add some textural elements and it's off to the client.
Do you approach client work differently than personal work? I'm not sure I believe in personal work or at least I don't know that it exists for me. The vehicle for all of my projects determines the outcome. Although I keep a sketchbook and create uncommissioned work it all ends up somewhere whether it's self promotional or a print for a gallery show or my store. I have a hard time letting good ideas go to waste and keep a running file of sketchbook work and killed concepts for later use.
Favorite work snack? Ha, I had to think about this for a couple minutes. I don't think I ever eat while working but I have a cup of coffee in front of me at all times.
Any personal projects on the side that you're excited about? The comic mentioned in question one is sort of a personal project. It's part of an ongoing collaboration with writer Eric Margolis who thankfully has been patient as his scripts pile up in my inbox.Between client work, teaching, and being a Dad, it's tough finding time for self generated work.
Follow James on Instagram and check out his portfolio at www.jamesheimer.com