For a guy that’s still box-fresh out of college, Jack Hughes has pretty extraordinary credentials. The ex-Kingston University illustrator only graduated in 2011 but ever since has been making one hell of a name for himself across the UK and Europe. He’s trademarked a slick, polished style of illustration that spans everything from suave, sartorial gents with enviable cheekbones to hardcore scientific diagrams with a real educative purpose.
Since making the leap from education to professional life, Jack’s undergone a fair few changes, both personally and creatively. No longer a grubby art student, he spends his days quaffing fine spirits and drawing in his studio, emulating the effortlessly chic characters he commits to paper. It’s not all sketching and cocktails though, his working day is every bit as troublesome as the average paper-pusher; “I wake up, go to the gym, get home, collapse under a bout of lethargy, pull myself together, waste time on the internet and then finally knuckle down to some work at around 4 in the afternoon.” Tough times! “I am more of a child of the night though, I find my ability to focus increases tenfold when the sun sets – some of my most intense periods of working usually occur between the hours of 9pm and 3am.
Stylistically Jack’s work draws heavily from the vernacular of mid-century design, incorporating the fashions and design trends of that era; a trait we believe would lend itself naturally to some exciting book illustration. “Recently I finished my first Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun – a beautiful and sad book, madly inspiring. When I get some free time I think I’ll illustrate a few scenes I page-folded to remind me.” We can’t wait to see the results.
Signed to YCN in the UK and Pekka in Europe, Jack already has some of the best representation available to a commercial illustrator, and yet he’s sheepish about the idea of having had his big break. “I’m not sure illustrators really get a big break per se, more of a series of minor breaks that as a whole definitely add up! I feel as if I’ve definitely had a fair few in my year since graduating, which I’m repeatedly shocked and humbled by.” The ‘breaks’ he’s referring to include being signed before he’d even graduated, illustrating an entire book within months of leaving college and being taken on by Shortlist, one of the most circulated UK publications around, to provide daily illustrations for their newsletters. Not a bad 12 months really.
While we’re definitely of the opinion that Jack’s an incredible illustrator, we’re also confident that he’s only going to improve as time goes by, meaning he’s undoubtedly a creative deserving of your undivided attention – certainly for the next few years at least.