Artist Tim Lord has been perfecting his craft for many years and now enjoys great success as a freelance illustrator. His pieces are rich with intricate detail and boast a dark, gothic tone. Often dealing with morbid themes and not shying away from the grotesque, Tim’s work is striking and complex, drawing the viewer into worlds that are both fantastic and horrifying.
We caught up with Tim to find out more about his career and his influences.
Kirstie: How did you first get into art?
Tim: I used to draw a little as a child – pirate ships, stick men, Sonic and Knuckles. I did a little bit of doodling and graffiti at school.
I began drawing properly again in my late 20s as a hobbyist whilst working in various other trades such as painting, decorating and engineering. I started as a self-employed artist in 2015 and I’ve made the transition into full-time illustration work over the last year.
Kirstie: What were your earliest influences?
Tim: I was born in ’85 and the late ’80s and ’90s were rich in animation, artwork and inspiration – no CGI crap, all handmade.
I enjoyed the work of a lot of comic artists, like Bill Watterson (of Calvin and Hobbes) and I was a keen reader of Wolverine and The X-Men, as well as Judge Dredd.
I also drew on game art such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario, anime such as Naruto, and fantasy films like Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and The Storyteller.
Kirstie: What were your later Influences?
Tim: I guess album art struck a chord in my early teens, such as The Prodigy artwork.
I was also a part of the rave scene from a young age and loved the artwork on some of the tape packs, which was psychedelic and futuristic. Techno CD packs, like North Radical Technology packs, drew on twisted anime like Ghost in the Shell, Akira etc.
I follow lots of different artists now but if I could name a few (and plug a few):
Minjae Lee, Gabriel Moreno, Allen Williams, Peter Morchaber, Studio Ghibli animation (such as Spirited Away), Bansky, Escher, Gaudi, Dali, Moebius, Geiger, JB Monge, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Mucha, Art of Mike, Emski (who’s also my muse), Kris Kuksi, IKinferno (Shropshire blacksmith) and Shropshire Steel Craft (steel sculptor).
Kirstie: What are your favourite materials to work with?
Tim: I love to use paper. I prefer graphite pencil (soft or medium) and fine line drawing pens. I also like to experiment with colour and watercolour pencils, paint and Indian ink.
Kirstie: If you could design a movie poster, what would it be and what would your design be like?
Tim: I’d love to work on a Guillermo Del Toro film or work on a Studio Ghibli or some strange type of anime, like Ghost in the Shell. I’d obviously want to have insane detail, which you can get lost in.
Kirstie: What was the first piece of work that you were really proud of?
Tim: Mortality. (2015)
I drew this during a break-up and the death of a family member. I thought it may be my last piece (aspire to inspire before you expire and all that). It’s probably still my longest time spent and still most detailed to date.
Kirstie: What drew you to the gothic aesthetic?
Tim: I guess I’m a bit of a thanatophobe. Life is fragile. Death could be tomorrow or in 60 years. Maybe I just love angel statues, graveyards and gothic art.
Kirstie: I’ve noticed that you use colour very minimally. Is there a reason for this decision?
Tim: I have a colour defect/blindness. Using colour scares me. I usually use it sparingly and generally hate pretty much every colour piece I do.
Kirstie: How much planning goes into your pieces?
Tim: In some of the larger, older pieces, the thought process almost surpasses the production time. Although that’s not been the case for a while as I’ve not done anything large for some time.
Some detail is deliberate and relevant to the theme of the piece, some detail just comes off the cuff, no thought. Just finding things inside things.
I’m working towards doing my own large personal pieces again when my current contracts end and I can collect my thoughts again.
Kirstie: Do you have a favourite commission?
Tim: It’s hard to pick one. My favourite is possibly my Hush Hush Recordings Techno Decades series.
Being an ex-raver, I was chuffed to be picked up by Andrew Winstanley (itms76) for his underground techno label (in the UK) as their artist for 12 covers.
So far, I’ve worked on covers with artists such as Jaap Lightheart, Haidak and Kiz Pattison.
I also enjoyed working on an architectural skyline series for NYC creative recruitment company Sasha the Mensch. This was something a little different from my usual style.
Kirstie: What do you hope people take away from your work?
Tim: Some pieces are about climate change, pollution, colony collapse (bees), the fur trade, mental health and addiction. I hope to help build awareness on subjects such as these.
On top of that, I hope to inspire people. I think anyone can do what they want in life and anyone can master anything with time and effort.
Anyone can draw – it’s just lines and shapes. No learning needed, practice makes perfect. I think with any art form, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just enjoy and let your essence flow.
I hope people follow their dreams, like I have.
Kirstie: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Tim: Again – practice, practice, practice. Start as a hobbyist. Build up slow. Enjoy it. Live it, breathe it. Do your own thing and try not to emulate other artists if you want to stand out and be unique. Any money you make, try to put back in to your business. You may need to work at other jobs to help build your art career and keep stability.
Research the art world. Maybe do an internship with an artist agency or a gallery to help learn more.
Save at least a 3-month buffer to sustain you financially if you decide to go full-time. Don’t ever give up. Ever! …the law of averages. Keep trying and you can’t fail. Build as many connections as you can. Work hard. And always ask questions. Hell, feel free to mail me if you need any advice.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Tim for taking the time to speak with us, and to congratulate him on his success!
For more information, you can contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.