James Jasiorkowski an illustrator.
Tell me about yourself?
I am the illustrator and author of Destroy All Zombies: Illustrated Hacks, Preps, and Tactics To Stop The Apocalypse. I published this fully illustrated 427-page volume independently in 2017, as well as a slim collection of my robot illustrations called War Toys And Other Robots (though I am currently working to replace this book with a more complete, full-color collection). I recently illustrated a book for Homebound Press called Adventure Monk, due out in 2022, and I am independently creating a new crime drama graphic novel. I am an all-around lover of illustration, science fiction, fantasy, comic books, mythology, history, and science. I particularly enjoy character design, concept art, and story development, all areas I would like to expand into professionally.
Tell me about your work experience?
I’ve worked overnight in a mental health residential care facility as a medication technician for over twenty years for steady income and benefits while creating my books and illustrations. Although the job comes with weighty responsibility and the ability to handle a crisis, I have found enough time in the quiet of the overnight hours to create entire books. Although I enjoy creating and independently publishing my products, lately I’ve been thinking an art department salary job at a production company would be a nice change.
At what age did you start doing work and developed a love for artwork?
I have been drawing as long as I can remember and have always been fascinated with illustrated books, especially fantasy, sci-fi, and military history. One of my older brothers bought a giant box of Marvel Comics when I was around 14 years old, and my love for sequential art was cemented thereafter.
How did you develop a fondness for artwork?
My oldest brother is an artist and professional graphic designer, and he exposed me to a lot of quality artwork when I was very young. He always had a bookcase full of illustrated fantasy books, like Brian Froud’s Faires and the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manuals. Later he would introduce me to the edgy and interesting mixed media graphic novels that were being published in the late 80s. He would also take me to comic conventions to meet artists, get books signed, and find interesting new books. It all instilled a life-long love in me for comics, fantasy, and sci-fi.
Did you study artwork? If yes then from where?
I obtained a BA in illustration from Paier College of Art.
From where did you learn this?
My older brother is an alumnus.
Why did you choose art as a profession?
Well, I have no choice but to draw, paint, and think up stories, it’s just something I’m compelled to do. I may as well share it with others and hope it entertains and delights them.
Who are your biggest influences?
Lately, I’ve become a big Hal Foster fan. He packed every panel of Prince Valiant with amazing figure drawing, costume design, sprawling scenery, and architecture. When I was young I collected comics according to artists, mainly Mike Mignola and Marc Silvestri, both of whom influenced my line drawing. My love of watercolor comes from the painted graphic novels and comics illustrated by John J. Muth and Bill Sienkiewicz. I am also a big fan of Jean-Gerard (Moebius). More recently I’ve been collecting the Art Of Star Wars books, and the incredible concept art and character design on display in them have inspired me to push my work.
How do you become a successful artist?
I’m still working on that part, but I will let you know when I figure it out.
What makes you good and different from others?
I try my best to mix the fantastic and the real in an entertaining way. When it comes to illustrating characters, the figure drawing comes first. It doesn’t matter how cool a spacesuit or suit of armor looks, if the pose looks unnatural or awkward the illustration won’t work for me. The same holds for designing creatures, and I generally try to think along the lines of the body mechanics of animals in the real world when drawing fantastic beasts. In terms of my robots and other sci-fi design, form follows function. I always imagine my robots as 12″ tabletop toys. If it looks like it would fall over if you touched it, then it won’t look convincing as a big, heavy, metal robot.
What Does Your Art Represent?
Escape! I want nothing more than to take people to places that they can’t go to in the real world. More than anything I want to create worlds in which people can get lost imagining themselves, or their characters having adventures.
What Does Your Art Mean to You?
I like to say that I draw what delights me. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to create a visual representation of your imaginings, and I feel very lucky that I can do this. Fortunately, I happen to delight in imagining robots, beasties, adventurers, and other fantastical things that other people often share an enthusiasm for. I’m not a very complicated person.