Character Cartoonist

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Freelance illustrator Tom Winspear has been developing a following with his fun and quirky style of character art. I caught up with him for a chat.

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TNL: Hi Tom. Tell me about when you first got into art and when you decided that this was something that you wanted to pursue.


TW: First got into art from as young as I can remember (what an original answer right!). Always drew lots in primary school, particularly cartoons and videogame characters as that's what kids like right!

As for actually pursuing it "professionally", that didn't come about until much more recently. During the last portion of uni onwards would capture roughly when I realised that I really wanted to try and get something more out of my art, and attempt to push my creative boundaries in the process.


TNL: You mentioned influence from cartoons and video games. Were there any specific artists or characters that inspired you?


TW: As a kid I was most inspired by Looney Tunes, Sonic The Hedgehog, and Tintin among many others. These days I hugely admire Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Tony Diterlizzi (Spiderwick Chronicles), Dave McKean (Sandman) and Gary Baseman (Teacher's Pet).

These and more artists fuel my ideas for cartoons, illustrations and general quirkiness. Some of them are so completely different from my own art styles, and yet filter through my mind and onto the page in many interesting ways.

Character will seemingly always be something that I will be drawn to (pun!). I'm trying to explore slightly more realistic figures as well as funny cartoon characters in my drawings at the moment. Always attempting new things!


TNL: Can you talk about some of your techniques? How do you normally evolve one project from concept to the final piece?


TW: Ok so for a typical cartoon or illustration of mine, it will almost always just pop into my head as an (often silly) surprise idea.

Sketching ensues, but usually doesn't take me too long as I really like to get to the point at soon as I can. You could call this artistic impatience or attempted efficiency, whichever you prefer haha!

Black pen/fineliner is my best friend for drawings as it helps my characters to stand out more on paper. And when scanning it onto the computer, the clear black lines really help to create a (when finished) nice & crisp digital image.

I love traditional drawing the most, and I always will. But as time goes by, I do grow slightly fonder of the opportunities that digital artwork can offer me. Put simply, most of my ideal pieces are hand-drawn and computer coloured. I know it's a popular technique among some of my favourite pro artists too, which is re-assuring & also kind of cool too!


TNL: As you mentioned, a large number of professional artists use digital embellishment as a tool. How do you feel technology is affecting the way artists work?


TW: For the most part I feel that technology is greatly benefitting artists, improving their abilities to grow & promote themselves too. Social networks & art based websites a like little free galleries for viewers to stumble across and enjoy.

Then in terms of using technology as an art tool, I again am (usually) all for it. It can really increase the skills, efficiency, and overall polish that a dedicated artist deserves to achieve.

But at the end of the day I love traditional art slightly more, and this is merely for a few small personal taste reasons. Digital art is definitely the future, which for the most part is a great thing. It has so many advantages & possibilities that creative-minded people like myself can't wait to explore more of!


TNL: What can you tell us about any current projects that you might be working on?


TW: So the main project at the moment is an illustrated children's book. I will be writing, drawing, designing and editing the whole thing. Quite a task that I've put upon myself! But I really think that it will be a great excuse to push myself further as a creative person.

This idea originally came about after I designed a poster resembling a mock-kids-book cover. From there many, many people commented on how it was one of the best things that I'd ever done. And with such a boost of confidence from these statements, I felt obliged to do something constructive (and fun) with this new character!

At the moment I've been working on it sporadically for almost one whole year. That scares me a little, but in a good way. I can't wait to see how it all turns out, even if it takes another 6-12 months to get there! And no matter how it looks to me, if a bunch of other people dig it as well, then that's just a darn good bonus.

TNL: Thank you, Tom Winspear.

Tom can be found on Twitter (@tomcartoonist) and Facebook (

He keeps a blog ( and is selling some of his prints on Etsy (

You can contact him via email (

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Adams published on July 3, 2013 12:47 PM.

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