Tim Jeffs is an illustrator who studied at Parsons School of Design and has spent the last 25 years of his life working in New York City as a Creative Director in publishing. Designing websites, books, logos, and all kinds of electronic and printed material, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and children. Creating artwork is his passion, he loves detail – the more complex and intricate the subject matter the better. He constantly paints, draws and sketches.
How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I can’t remember a time when drawing wasn’t a part of my life. I always had a pencil, or crayon, or a pen in my hand or nearby. And even back then, animals were my favorite subjects to draw. I had an uncle, a college art professor, who recognized my interest and he encouraged me to draw as much as possible. Like many artists a teacher sparked my desire to make a career out of art. For me, it was my wonderful middle school art teacher, he helped me obtain a scholarship to Parsons School of Design in New York City. There I perused a major in illustration, a professional art career opened before me and I haven’t looked back.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Animals are so fascinating! I start with the research, especially when I encounter a new animal or one I wasn’t very familiar with and I learn as much as I can. The details become the basis for each new project. The animal’s conservation status is very important, I make sure to share what I learn about the animal’s status and I hope through my artwork, I can draw attention, raise awareness and maybe even help these creatures. The details I learn also make their way into the patterns I draw. The more intricate and detailed the better! I love to get lost in the process of creating elaborate patterns on the fur, skin, or scales.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
Everywhere! I have a sketchbook with me at all the times. I believe an artist should draw everyday, and carrying a sketchbook gives me the opportunity to draw all the time.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
My artistic essentials are black ink ballpoint pens and colored pencils. What’s so great about these tools is with ballpoint pen and colored pencil I can draw anywhere. The simplicity of these mediums makes creating art easy, but at the same time I can achieve incredibly complex and colourful drawings with them.
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
The drawing of a chameleon on the cover of my first published coloring book “Intricate Ink Animals in Detail” is a drawing that help slingshot my career as a wildlife artist and has a very special place in my heart. This drawing brought together my love of animals and drawing and ultimately created a worldwide coloring community who I could share my love of wildlife and in return they enhance my drawings with their inventive use of colours.
Just have fun! If you let go of trying to impress or complete with other colorists you will find a freedom in your own unique creative expression. And, that’s the true beauty of being creative. No one is like you and that makes you special. Have fun, be proud of your work, share it and others will be inspired by it.