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Hi, my name is Doug Jones and I am a freelance illustrator. I live near Nashville, TN and own two guitars, one banjo, one ukulele... and can't play any of them very well. I create humorous illustrations. My work seems to appear in publications for children a lot. Go figure. I created a character based on my sock monkey that I like to use in drawings that I do just for fun. You will see him in some examples later. Well, I think I am now required to answer some questions for you... off we go.

When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?

A pivotal moment? Hmmm... that was probably when I was a freshman electrical engineering major in college. I remember taking a chemistry test where I sat for an hour looking at a test and knowing NOTHING! I managed to write down a formula for something and was given 12 points for the effort. That was my score... 12 out of a possible 100 points. After the test, I walked to the proper building and dropped the class. Then I started making plans to transfer to a different college and change my major. One of the best decisions of my life!

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by lots of things. As I have been thinking about this question, I have come to realize that I am inspired by just about anything I see that is done really well. I mean, REALLY well. I think it makes me want to do something REALLY well, too. I wander around local art shows, craft fairs, galleries, and museums when I get the opportunity. I could list my favorite illustrators, and editorial and comic strip cartoonists heroes of mine, but that would be a long list... spanning decades. There are some things that continue to inspire me over and over. Anything with good humor like Wallace and Gromit, the Muppets, or any Pixar movie makes me want to create FUN stuff. I could probably ramble on and on here, but I think you get the idea. Next question...

Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?

I have a BFA in Commercial Art which got me my first design job in the art department of a publishing house. I put some of my illustrations in the materials I was designing. Then did some illustrations for other designers. After a few years, I had evolved into a staff illustrator, doing humorous illustrations full time. My drawing ability is basically self-taught. I always liked to draw. As a wee lad, I entertained myself by copying comic strips in the paper. I tried some more realistic illustration in the beginning, but realized that I liked humor and funny stuff, so I stuck with that.

How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?

I used to go to bookstores all the time and look at magazines and books... anything with illustration in it. I still do this, but now it is much easier to find things online. I have found that there are tons of artists, animators, painters, and illustrators, who have blogs. Blogs are great! There is so much talent out there! New things get posted every day, and seeing them inspires me. It also depresses me... but we won't go there right now.

What are some of your current projects?

Currently, I am working on some books for Scholastic. They produce series of books to help first grade teachers teach things like phonics, punctuation, grammar, and numbers. The books are perfect for me... fairly small and fun to work on.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?

See above answer... then see images below.

Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

I started illustrating with watercolors. Now I scan my inked drawings into Photoshop and add color. I have Painter and would really like to know how to use it... but haven't had the time to figure it out yet. In the last couple of years I have been trying to learn to paint with oils. It is a struggle... but a fun struggle. It has taught me some things about color that I can apply to my illustrations. Computers are SO neat and clean... and oil paint is SO messy. I always end up with oil paint on me, but I don't think I have ever had digits smeared all over my shirt.

Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?

I think this is where I am supposed to say things like, "work really hard and never give up." But my advice is... give up now! Go sell insurance. I don't need the competition.

What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?

I would say that if an illustration COMMUNICATES what it was intended to, to its audience, and I was able to make it fun and entertaining to look at... then it is successful.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

I take all of my bills and stack them up in front of me. The higher the stack gets... the more motivated I become... and who has time for burn-out?

And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?


Related Links:

My portfolio can be found at:

Here is my blog:

I hang out with my brothers on our shared website:

Recent Work:


Choper Nawers! said...

Really nice work..and also funny characters.....i like it and congrats.....

Vern Mercado said...

great interview. thank god for the 12 on the chemistry test! great linework.

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