They Made this are delighted to announce that we have officially opened our online doors. We promise to deliver directly to your screens a stream of the freshest illustration and photography the industry has on offer. From July we also promise to deliver straight to your front door, via our very own print shop, a lovely curated selection of illustration and photographic prints for you to enjoy. 

And we can’t think of a better way to kick things off but with a little Q & A with the super talented illustrator David Sparshott. Famous for his excellent reportage and observational drawings, we are thrilled to announce David’s beautiful cycling prints will be available to purchase from July in our print shop. And we could not be happier about it. We chatted with David recently about his work, his earliest memory of drawing, cycling, archiving and the things inside his sketch book.

I first came across your work when you started working with Magma.
Can you tell us about how this collaboration came about?
I was initially asked to illustrate a cycling journal for Magma in 2012. This was a spotter’s guide to all sorts of cycling related things. Off the back of this we produced a couple of posters and then trump cards and more recently two more posters.
Looking at your illustrations you have catalogued cycling through the jerseys, support vehicles, and the bikes themselves. Do you consider yourself to be a bit of an archivist?
Definitely. I’m really interested in collections of all sorts of things. And the collections of other people fascinate me, especially those that are incredibly focused and conventionally perceived as eccentric.
Where is your favourite place to draw?
On holiday, but the British museum will do otherwise.
So you carry a sketch book around with you ?
Not day to day but I always take a sketchbook whilst I’m away on holiday. Being able to sit down and draw and take your mind away from everything is a great pleasure. Here are a couple of pages that were drawn whilst on holiday last year.
Who is your illustration hero and why?
David Hockney has been an artist that I have admired for as long as I can remember. I particularly love the line work in his lithograph prints and line drawings.
What’s the earliest memory you have of drawing?
I was always drawing as a young child but one of my earliest memories would be when I was about 8 or 9 and I would draw all the different badges and kits of football clubs from my sticker annuals.
What do you think has been the biggest thing to happen in your career to date?
The first commission that I worked on was for a company called howies right after my graduation. Without this I wouldn’t be working today. So a big thanks to Nick Hand who is a very nice man!
Can you tell me a little about the tools of your trade?
I mainly use Pentel 0.5mm mechanical pencils and a mixture of lots of different colouring pencils.
Arguably you are best known for your magma cycling series but a lot of your other work has a sharp reportage commentary to it. Do you consider yourself to be a political commentator?
Not really. I think much of this is purely a reflection of the message conveyed by the particular editorial commissioner. However I’m yet to be in a position where I’ve morally objected to anything that I’ve worked on.
How would you like your work to develop over the next few years?
I’d like to be able to work on a series of reportage drawings, preferably involving lots of travel!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m just coming to the end of a huge advertising project for a very large American company producing a range of adverts, animations, and web content.

David’s A2 limited edition, signed, giclee artworks, will be available in our shop from July, printed on a lovely cotton paper. Watch this space.

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