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Dreams – an illustration based on the story Moth by Chris Powici. You can read the story here.

Seb Jay is an Illustrator/Artist hailing from the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. After earning a BA Hons in Illustration from UCLAN and spending the last few years working in Graphic Design, he has recently decided to re-enter the world of art and illustration. He enjoys creating artwork and illustrations that capture the seemingly ordinary, trivial or even mundane elements of everyday life.

Instagram: @sebjayillustration

Website: https://sebjayillustration.weebly.com/

Email: sebjayillustration@gmail.com

We’re very pleased to be able to have a chat with Seb Jay, an artist we’ve worked with on a couple issues now, and whose style continues to blow us away. I can remember when the more recent illustration from Seb, the gorgeous image that would become the cover art for our latest issue, Bandit Fiction Presents… Issue Threecame into our inbox: I immediately screenshotted it and sent it around the group, and the way we all reacted is the way we hope everyone reacts when they see Seb’s work, left totally in awe. So please, check out what Seb has to say, and if you like his work (and you really should, I mean look at it!) then let him know.

If you’ve been inspired by Seb and his work, we’re always on the lookout for more artists to work with. All the information can be found here.

When did you first become interested in art? Was there someone who found particularly inspiring during this time?

I remember that I enjoyed drawing at a very young age, maybe 4 or 5 and kept drawing from there really, having been told that I had a natural aptitude for it. As I got older and started going to college I became more inspired by fine artists and painters such as Francis Bacon, Hans Holbein, Salvador Dali and a few others as well.

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From Bandit Fiction Presents… Issue Two: Underdog, based on the story Lost Time by Patience Mackarness

You studied Illustration at UCLAN – how did you find that? And is study something you’d suggest for up-and-coming artists?

The course at UCLAN was alright, though the use of social media and online promotion was never touched upon and it is crucial these days for illustrators/graphic designers to have some sort of social media/online presence. During my time there I developed a paint based style but the styles that I like to use now are entirely different from what I did at university. In terms of study for artists, I think that it is entirely down to the individual. It may be more beneficial to go to university in order to learn about the more technical aspects of art and design but I know of illustrators who studied illustration at university, illustrators who have studied graphic design and then have subsequently moved into illustration and illustrators who have not have had any formal training whatsoever, so it’s entirely subjective.

You do artwork in a number of very distinct styles – from your sketches which our readers might be more familiar with, to your illustrations, and your strong use of yellows, among others. Which is your favourite style to work with?

More recently I have been creating illustrations that are much more digital orientated, however I really enjoy the immediacy of sketching and using traditional media. The digital illustration allows me to illustrate a wider variety of subject matter than my sketch style, but I would say that I prefer that process of drawing freehand with pencil and ink, keeping the whole thing as organic and as natural as possible.

I read Crimson Petal and the White a while ago and was taken with how vivid a portrayal of London he painted.

What’s on your current to-read pile?

I’ve not got anything lined up at the moment, however I have recently finished Stephen King’s IT and thoroughly enjoyed it. I like to compare books to films and I wouldn’t mind reading some of his other books. Also I would like to read more of Michel Faber’s work. I read Crimson Petal and the White a while ago and was taken with how vivid a portrayal of London he painted. I would really like to read Under The Skin after recently watching the film, which I thought was extraordinary.

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From Bandit Fiction Presents… Issue Three, based on the story Honey and Home by Hannah Ewing

In the past we’ve always offered you a choice of story to do artwork for – what factors decide which stories you pick? Is there anything, or type of story or particular author, you’re particularly keen to do artwork for?

If I am engaged with the story then I find it quite easy to create ideas for it. In the past I have been given stories to illustrate that have been quite abstract or surreal. In those instances I have sometimes created an illustration that may almost seem separate from the text but might contain some sort of reference that brings it in line to the story. I wouldn’t say that I have a preference for any particular genre but I really like creating illustrations featuring a particular character from the story. I think it would be really interesting to create illustrations based on work by Dickens or Robert Louis Stevenson, both of whom have created really memorable characters in their books.

What’s on your current to-read pile?

I’ve not got anything lined up at the moment, however I have recently finished Stephen King’s IT and thoroughly enjoyed it. I like to compare books to films and I wouldn’t mind reading some of his other books. Also I would like to read more of Michel Faber’s work. I read Crimson Petal and the White a while ago and was taken with how vivid a portrayal of London he painted. I would really like to read Under The Skin after recently watching the film, which I thought was extraordinary.

I really like creating illustrations featuring a particular character from the story. I think it would be really interesting to create illustrations based on work by Dickens or Robert Louis Stevenson, both of whom have created really memorable characters in their books.

Where would you like to be in five years time? Where do you see your artist journey taking you?

I would like to say that in five years I am still illustrating, having developed my work and style of work further and maybe eventually moving into a more educational role, but we’ll see.

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