Show and tell: David Sparshott, Illustrator

David Sparshott is a freelance illustrator who has worked with a huge range of brands and publications in the seven years since his graduation from Bristol School of Art. He has collaborated with Rapha, British Airways, The Guardian and Speak Media, as well as lecturing on illustration at his alma mater. We caught up with David to talk illustration, influences and inspirations.

Could you describe your visual style for those that might not be familiar with your work?

My work is all hand drawn in pencil. My drawings are traditional in process and retain a detailed realism that contrasts with the more contemporary subject matter.

What are your favourite projects/collaborations worked on to date?

I’ve most enjoyed working with Magma books to produce a series of cycling books, posters, and playing cards.

David Sparshott for Magma
David Sparshott for Magma

Who would you love to work with?

Anyone who commissions observation and reportage illustration.

Who or what has influenced your work most?

My main influences have been British Pop Art and reportage photography.

Which brands do you think do visual content well and why?

The visual style and message of cycling brand Rapha may not be to everyone’s taste, but they have an incredibly strong and consistent visual identity and lots of people lap it up!

David Sparshott for Howies
David Sparshott for Howies

What does illustration bring to a campaign that other methods do not?

I think illustration, especially non-digital, brings a sense of craft and care that can’t be achieved through graphic design alone.

What makes or breaks a brief?

The most important part of a brief is having an art director who has trust and confidence in the person they have commissioned.

David Sparshott for Sport Magazine
Tour de France champion Chris Froome (David Sparshott for Sport Magazine)

If you could learn how to do one new thing what would it be?

I’d learn an Asian language, maybe Burmese!

What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator?

I’d be walking dogs.

Any wise words to leave us with?

Help each other out a little!

Thanks David!

Where next?
More posts from Johanna Pearson
More posts in Show and tell
See more of our design projects
View our portfolio on Behance
David’s site

Author: johannapearson

Junior designer at Speak Media

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