Jacob has been working with us a Junior Artist since February 2015 and has become a crucial member of our team. With impeccable manners and a positive can-do attitude, Jacob’s used his superb drawing ability to meet all that TBM throw at him, head-on.
After having a year of working with us at Three Blind Mice straight out of university, we thought we would have a catch-up and see what he can reveal about life as a Junior Artist.
So Jacob, how did you come to work for Three Blind Mice?
I’d finished my degree in Illustration at the UWE and was emailing around to anybody and everybody I knew who might be able to help me get a job in the creative industry. After many failed attempts, one of those emails finally paid off!
[Three Blind Mice Project Manager] Jess contacted me saying how she liked the reportage drawings I had done and invited me into the studio to talk through my portfolio. I couldn’t believe it! I later had a portfolio review with [Three Blind Mice Director] Chris and he really liked my sketchbook. He offered me a place here as a Junior Artist.
“I was excited to be working on a live brief… I saw the advert on TV a few months later, it was really cool to see the final outcome.”
I started on the 2nd February, and they said that they would set me some test briefs so that I could practice, but that it would most likely be a while before I would work on any live projects.. Later that same week I was offered the opportunity to storyboard some frames for an advert. I was really excited to be working on a live brief so soon. I saw the advert on TV a few months later, it was really cool to see the final outcome.
Did you always want to be an artist?
My mum is an artist and my older sister has always been heavily into drawing, so I grew up surrounded by it and wanting to get involved. I used to be obsessed with films and games and would spend days inventing whole worlds for films and games; the cover, the characters, the sets, the props, the costumes, everything! I loved science fiction and fantasy. As I went through school, my art teachers would pick me out and encourage me to paint. I really liked painting, it’s something I’m still trying to do more of now, especially working with oil paints.
“I didn’t know that there was an industry for creating highly finished visuals for pitching ideas… If I hadn’t been pointed in the direction of Three Blind Mice I might never have known!”
How did you find out about this specific area of work?
I always knew what storyboarding was but didn’t know that there was an industry for creating highly finished visuals for pitching ideas. Tutors had said to me that I might be well suited to storyboarding but I’d always presumed that they meant for films. I certainly didn’t know that this sort of work existed while I was studying. If I hadn’t been pointed in the direction of Three Blind Mice I might never have known!
What’s your day-to-day life here like? How do projects come in? When you wake up in the morning do you know what you will be working on that day?
I’m usually told at least a day in advance if I will be needed to work on something, so on those days I try to make sure I’m in on time! (laughs) But throughout the day the project managers will call my desk and direct me to frames that need adjusting, it’s often just small things, like re-drawing an arm, changing the expression of someone’s face, adding an item of clothing… anything really! Sometimes they come in thick and fast, other times I don’t hear anything all day.
So in the quiet moments do you still have time to make personal work? Are you working on anything at the moment?
Actually, I’m working on some digital portraits at the moment to help build up my online portfolio. I used to try and work on a selection of famous/recognisable people but lately, I’ve just been drawing people who I really like! The most recent were Alan Rickman (as a tribute) and Louis Ck (the comedian). Previously I worked for ages on a comic about Brian Cox! I love that guy! Sadly he didn’t reply to me when I sent it to him *tear*
What was the biggest challenge when you first came to work for Three Blind Mice?
The speed of working! It’s funny, back at Uni I was known to be one of the fastest in the class, but in actuality it’s nothing compared to the pace here! At Uni we would have 3 months to work on something, whereas here you are expected to accomplish something similar in just a few hours. I’ve had to re-organise my workstation on Photoshop so that I can save time when switching between tools.
“At Uni we would have 3 months to work on a project… here you are expected to accomplish something similar in just a few hours.”
Here the deadline is really important. I’ve learned to not be so precious and try not to overthink things, I try to work as fast as I can, getting ideas down as efficiently as possible. I think it’s the sign of a really skilled artist, to be able to communicate an idea with very few marks. It’s something I’m constantly trying to get better at.
What has been your favourite moment of working as a Junior Artist? Do you have any projects that you’re particularly proud of?
A side project I worked on, storyboarding for a music video for Josef Salvat. It was a really cool project to work on and it was great to see the final video! They asked to use one of my storyboard frames in the video as a still, I was so chuffed to see my drawing there! That was definitely a highlight for me!
What would you like to do in the future? What do you see as the next step?
Once I get faster I’d like to start freelancing and rent a desk and work as an artist here at Three Blind Mice! But I’m also open to the kind of projects I could work on in the future, I really like animation and have made a couple of animations as personal projects. I would like to do concept art for computer games too!
And finally, do you have any advice for young graduate just starting out?
I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert, but in terms of portfolio, I would say that consistency in style is really important. Also sketchbook work, sometimes it’s the early stages of work that companies like Three Blind Mice will find interesting and relevant. So don’t go ruling the early, less finished stuff out!
So that’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed hearing a little insight into life as a Junior Artist! We at Three Blind Mice are all very eager to see what Jacob makes next!