Artist Spotlight: Nicholas John Frith
Let's give a friendly welcome to NICHOLAS JOHN FRITH, a really rad artist whose greeting cards were featured in our January 2018 Snailbox. With a nod to vintage illustration, bold colors, plus a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, his designs are total crowd pleasers. Below, Nicholas chats with us about how he stays inspired in day-to-day work, his children's books, and pipe dream job. Check out all of his fabulous greeting card designs for Red Cap Cards, HERE.
Did you always want to be an artist from childhood?
Yes. I’ve heard recalled the tale on countless occasion of how, when I was 6, my teacher told my parents that she thought one day I’d be a graphic designer – well she wasn’t far off.
In high school I was always getting my marked science book back with disapproving notes in red about the doodles in the back pages. After school I went to art college and then university, but although I was passionate I was unfocused, unguided. I’m not sure there was ever a conscious decision to ‘be an artist’ or to do it as a job. I just always drew. That’s what I did, who I was. That was enough for me. I guess that’s why I spent the next 12 intervening years doing other things. I never stopped doodling and noting down ideas though. And there was always that pipe-dream lurking of one day writing and illustrating books.
Some things happened in my life a few years back that made me think, and one day it all just clicked. The focus started to come. I took the gamble and moved from working from full-time in my job (waiting tables) to part-time. Hard work and a little luck followed. I eventually took that final leap to full-time freelance. And well.. here I am. Jeez, that feels like a rant. Sorry. Like, that’s the last 30 years of my life in a nut shell there. Scary. Ha!
What is your favorite medium to create with?
I sketch in pencil (2B, usually), artwork using a brush with black drawing ink, and colour in photoshop. I love a bit of silkscreen printing too, but I rarely make time for that anymore, sadly.
Where do you gather your inspiration?
Everywhere. Experiences. Dreams of yesterdays past. Books. Nature. And, in the last year, Pinterest!
Do you ever get “creative block”? If so, how do you combat it?
Not so much a block but more of self-doubt thing. My brain flips out every few months. So a bit of distance and perspective help. And a lot of post-its on my desk saying ‘relax!’ Doing something else creative without thought to ‘work’ helps too… Time in the kitchen is a good one – I love to cook. Or a long walk. When it happens, it’s a wave that I just need to ride.
What would your dream job be (other than what you are doing now)?
Ooo… Provided I had a very comfortable amount of funds, I’d be happy with no job at all and a lot of hobbies. Lots of hobbies to do with travel, writing, cinema, food, music, books… But that does not answer your question does it. Because that’s not really a ‘job’ is it!? Dream job? Okay. Film director, maybe. Brewer?
We hear you are working on some children's books. Can you tell us a bit about them?
Yes! My first picture book, published in 2015, is titled Hector and Hummingbird, and is set deep in the mountains of Peru. It’s a fun story of the relationship between two odd couple friends, a bear and a hummingbird. It was published here in the UK by ALISON GREEN BOOKS (an imprint of SCHOLASTIC), but with some luck it should be making it’s way to the US and beyond too. It was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Price 2016, and won me the inaugural Klaus Flugge Prize. My follow-up effort, Hello, Mr. Dodo!, is also out now.