Artist Showcase: James Dillon

This week's CK Artist Showcase has us talking to UK based illustrator, James Dillon. A multi disciplined, digital designer, who's work you will no doubt recognise from feature covers with These Football Times.

A designer who can just about turn his hand to all styles, with a talent for capturing movement and character. James' work some how allows the viewer to imagine the motion or animation. As well as capture the personality of his subject.

Cult Kits caught up with the designer, (living in York right next to the historic walls, don't ya know) to find more about his process and work to date.


CK: First things first… Who do you support?

JD: I’m a Tottenham fan. It ain’t easy, trust me. 

CK: What's your earliest memory in football?

JD: Earliest memory? I don’t know. I’d say probably panini stickers in the playground, doing swapsies. I didn’t really play much football at primary school but really enjoyed the collecting aspect. 

CK: How did you get into football?

JD: Secondary school. Found out I was pretty athletic and had good teachers/coaches who motivated me to keep improving. Went on to play for the county and to play to a decent level for a time, and then not so decent for many years after. Finally gave up vets football a couple years back due to injury and I now coach grassroots. 




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CK: Tell us about your illustrative style

JD: I’m not sure I have one tbh! I respect those that have a distinctive style and develop and fine tune that over years. It takes real faith & discipline. I’ve worked on kids books, corporate branding, storyboarding, app design, editorial illustration, web design, all sorts. I just love trying new things and pulling inspiration from everywhere. My work is varied because the work I get is varied. 






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CK: You have a varied approach to illustration – does this change based on your client or mood?

JD: Mood can come in to it for sure. Sometimes I won’t draw at all for weeks on end. Other times I’m almost restricted by the hours in a day. I think it’s just part of being creative. I see it as a well I draw upon and, when it’s empty, I’m better doing something different entirely. Give it time to fill up again. It’s taken me a while to figure that out. 

CK: Do you have a favourite player/team or era that you like to illustrate?

JD: If there’s one player it’s probably R9. Phenomenal is right when you’re talking about pure talent. To achieve what he did after being so horribly stricken by injury is testament to how good he was. In terms of eras, I do like to look at football in the past more than the modern game. I’m not entirely convinced about where the game is heading. I see lots of behaviours filter down when I coach grassroots on a weekend and it’s sometimes not great to be honest. So I do prefer to look at the sport through a bit of a different lens. 




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CK: What's been the most enjoyable project you've worked on so far?

JD: I’m still pretty new to this but I always like working with These Football Times. And the Nike cover I did last year is something I’m still very proud of. It was nerve wracking, I’d just had knee surgery for the fourth time and was a bit up and down in terms of confidence and mobility. But Omar was terrific throughout and I thank him for that. Watching all the old Nike ads I grew up with over and over for reference was mint! Hopefully people liked it. 




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CK: Do you have club/player or brand you'd love to work with?

JD: Tottenham X Nike. That’d be ace. For the first time in a while there’s a bit of optimism around the place and Ange Postecoglu has got me feeling… hopeful. I’ll never learn. But it does feel different this time. Hope springs eternal, eh? Would love to play a small part in this new chapter. 



Shop ALL England shirts here.


CK: What projects do you have coming up?

JD: In terms of football I’m looking at getting some stuff out there for the women’s World Cup which is very exciting. My daughter has just finished her first season at u10 and adored it… so I’ll be going full circle back to my earliest memories of sticker albums in school and seeing if I can help create similar, long lasting memories for her around the beautiful game. 




CK: Where can people view your work?

JD: @misterdills on Twitter, Instagram and now threads. Misterdills.com to see some of the other stuff I get up to.



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