Illustration is a massive love of ours, so who better to kickstart our artist spotlight with than illustrator and pro screen printer Tom Camp. Tom studied illustration at the Norwich School of Art, and went on to work as a commercial screen printer in London before moving to Nottingham. We speak to Tom about his Animal Alphabet print, the inspiration for his work, and the joy of screen-printing.
So when creating this piece, why did you choose animals as your subject matter?
I created these drawings because I was in a bit of rut with my personal work, so decided to take part in a drawing challenge to make a piece of work a day for over a month. At the end of the month I had such a demand from friends and family I decided to create the alphabet poster. However, it wasn’t until the lockdown and the artist support pledge happened that I took the time to produce the prints properly.
To actually answer your question, I initially wanted to do it just with birds, as I love watching birds. (I’m pretty sure when I’m retired I’ll become a bird watcher) But when I thought about it, a lot of letters would be tricky so I broadened it to all animals. There were still some letters like X that we’re very tricky to think of.
I decided not to screen print the alphabet, mainly because of lockdown. As I didn’t have the access to print them myself.
What is it about screen printing you prefer over other methods?
I love it because screen printing has certain limits and restrictions, but within those restrictions you can be so experimental and innovative.
Before moving up to Nottingham, I worked as a commercial screen printer in London. The clients I have printed for have asked for prints onto anything and everything you can probably think of. Ceramics, glassware, paper, wood, fabrics, metal, windows.. the list goes on. Screen printing is also so personal, everyone learns a different way they can achieve the look they want. Every printer has little tips and tricks they pick up along the way.
What most inspires your work?
For me, screen printing has got to be one of my biggest inspirations. My work is all drawn digitally on photoshop these days but I build my illustrations the same way I build a print up. Layer by layer, colour by colour adding depth and contrast.
If you were asking what inspires me to make my work, it would have to be mostly music. I couldn’t even imagine working in silence. That and listening to the Harry Potter audio books.
You can find Tom on Instagram here
And his website and store here