Meet Artist Patrick J. Jones
Patrick J. Jones is an award-winning sci-fi/fantasy illustrator and teacher based in Brisbane, Australia. The author of seminal works such as The Anatomy of Style: Figure Drawing Techniques, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Oil Painting Techniques and The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Art of Patrick J. Jones, all from Korero Press, Patrick’s work is collected and published worldwide. His client list includes such companies as Disney, Lucasfilm, and Roc books.
Patrick grew up in the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the worst years of the violent 30-year conflict known as “The Troubles.” Influenced by artists Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta, he spent his days in the sanctuary of rooftops, drawing and dreaming of becoming a fantasy artist, to the din of street riots below. Today, when he’s not painting, he teaches art at two universities in Brisbane.
A One-on-One Conversation
We talked to Patrick about his artistic inspiration, what advice he has for budding artists, and what he’s working on next:
When did you begin illustrating sci-fi & fantasy art and what do you find appealing about the genre?
I began illustrating professionally around eighteen, but I’d been drawing sci-fi & fantasy art all through my childhood. It was the otherworldliness of it that appealed to me, as my own world was very much confined to a neighborhood bordered by trouble.
The moment I discovered sci-fi & fantasy art, it became totally immersive. I loved everything about the genre and loved TV shows and movies such as Star Trek and The Time Machine. But I found the worlds conjured by Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo were more involving than even the best movies, and still are. I think the main reason is that movies are formed from a collaboration of many technicians and artists; it only takes one error and you can see all the moving parts. With a painting, every brushstroke and thought is achieved by the same hand and mind, giving the image a complete, undistilled vision.
What inspires your illustrations?
Mostly other artists inspire the mood of my illustrations, my own world travels, and of course the stories I’m illustrating.
I rarely take on illustration work anymore, unless it’s something I truly want to do with a contract clause stating, “total artistic freedom” on the finished art. But even then, I’m still bound by the story. Every painting I do begins with a story, even my fine art begins with a story of my own invention. The story need not be complete, just a moment, usually one with a depth of emotion or allegory. Every brushstroke needs a driving force to ring true.
How do your students inform your art?
The unawareness of how many errors they make with composition and technique sometimes results in fearless experiment that brings about a fresh take on things. I constantly fight to subdue and push technique back into my subconscious, but they fly free. The drawback, of course, is they dig out a gold nugget very rarely, but it’s a reminder to me that constant experiment is important.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Never compare yourself negatively to other artists that are better than you. Instead, admire and learn from them. I often hear I can never be that good.” I think you can, if you have the discipline, love and motivation to do so.
Do you have any upcoming U.S. events?
I have an online exhibition in collaboration with IX entitled: Figures from Life: The Drawings of Patrick Jones: http://www.ixgallery.com/artbyexhibition.asp?eId=975
It is an exhibit of drawings from my Anatomy of Style classes which also features drawings from my books. Opening: March 15th, 2018.
I will also be traveling to and exhibiting in the IX Main Show at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, October 17 through Sunday, October 21, 2018.
Do you have any new projects with Korero Press on the horizon?
I have a few projects in the works, the first of which is Figures from Life, a follow up to The Anatomy of Style. Whereas The Anatomy of Style dealt mostly with the nuts and bolts of drawing the figure, Figures from Life takes us directly into the life draw studio for step-by-step instruction, delving deeper into the gesture and inner thoughts that elevates an artist’s work beyond the mundane and onto a higher plateau. Figures from Life will be released this year.
For more information about Patrick’s work, visit: http://www.pjartworks.com/