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Q&A with James Shedden

Designer, developer, illustrator from London

My name is James - I'm a designer, developer, illustrator, occasional animator & musician based in London. I write, record & produce music in my spare time as Donald Patrick and also manage a soul-singing robot called BL00 John.

Software / hardware

I was raised on an Apple IIGS and my allegiance is yet unchallenged. Predictably I mostly work with an iMac and a Macbook Pro. Everything begins (and ends, in the case of illustration) with Photoshop of course (well, sometime paper and pens before that), and MAMP allows me to quickly & safely test sites which I use TextMate to develop. My essential music gear is Ableton Live and a Focusrite Saffire Pro.

© James Shedden

Ideal work environment

In general my ideal environment is one that allows for most streamlined & efficient workflow. At the moment I'm working from a quiet North London flat and have everything I need to imagine & implement the solutions to the kinds of problems I grapple with generally. I always have the radio on to keep me company while I'm working and have a nice view of the world going by outside. But I wouldn't say no to more desk, wall and shelf space... and a totally kitted-out music studio that I didn't have to pack away each time.

Work inspiration

There are infinite examples of amazing design and lots of inspiration to take from outside the world of design as well that can feed back into it. Looking around a gallery or researching a topic on the internet is always enough to get sparks flying for design & illustration ideas. I'm always on the look out for interesting colour combinations, compositions or anything that will inspire me to make something new & interesting. Twitter provides a constantly-inspiring & never-ending list of creative people & organisations.

Artists you admire most

I love Paul Klee, Bosch, Bruegel, Picasso, Matisse, Leonardo, Caravaggio - stuff with texture and atmosphere that requires a lot of looking at. First getting into illustration I loved Dave McKean and Marshall Arisman. I'm a big fan of illustrators who work with simple colours, shapes & textures - Luke Best, Mark Hearld, and the inexhaustible mass of illustrators on Twitter & Tumblr. Milton Glaser was an early design hero. I love Non-Format's work and am lucky enough to have worked with them on a number of projects recently. I could go on!