Meet Jonathan Ball, illustrator, animator and founder of Poked Studios

We recently caught up with Jonathan Ball, the renowned Wales-based designer whose clients include the BBC, MTV and Sony to name a few. Jonathan has a reputation for wacky and non-conformist character designs, intricate worlds and edgy video graphics – as demonstrated by the image above! Read on to see what Jonathan had to say when we chatted to him at the Adobe Creative Meet Up in London.

Credit: Jonathan Ball, Poked Studios

Adobe: What are you working on at the moment?
Jonathan: I’m currently working on a few things, but in particular I’m designing an animation of a futuristic city, some game box art, and a festival poster with a giant robot.
Adobe: Who’s your favourite contemporary illustrator?
Jonathan: Oh there are so many I love, it’s difficult to pick one. At the moment I’m very inspired by the pixel work of Paul Robertson and the sci-fi art of Simon Stalenhag.


Adobe: You recently said on Twitter that the flow of a single line can make or break an illustration, what do you mean by that?
Jonathan: Yes, the flow of movement is important in illustration; just making that right curve or line to suggest an idea or concept. Often you draw a simple sketch, then try to refine it for the next stage, but if can be difficult to get the same flow in the drawing.

Adobe: Tell us some more about a favourite project you’ve worked on at Poked Studios?
Jonathan: The fightmymonster game was the biggest project I’ve worked on. I created the characters, illustrations, in game graphics, adverts, collectable cards and a whole lot more. It was a lot of work, and Dominic Williams, the game’s owner, was great to work with.

Credit: Jonathan Ball, Poked Studios

Adobe: What’s the most challenging part of your job that aspiring creatives might not be aware of?
Jonathan: Cliché, but dealing with clients, it just varies so much. One client will be great and they will pay in advance and be an absolute pleasure to work with. They will let you have the right amount of input and produce a piece to be proud of. On the other hand you might have another client who asks for infinite changes, too much art direction, making an awful piece of art.

Adobe: What do you think is most lacking from aspiring designers’ portfolios?
Jonathan: Originality and personality. This can take a lot of time to develop and often younger artists just tend to copy other artists they aspire to. Over time though, the better ones will develop their own unique look and world view in their art.

Adobe: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Jonathan: Go for it more, just don’t hold back. Also don’t rely on other people to make your life fun, do it yourself.

About Jonathan
Jonathan Ball is based in Cardiff, Wales and is founder of the critically acclaimed illustration, design and animation studio Poked Studios. He can be found tweeting via @pokestuff and posting from his hugely popular Behance profile here.