Everton Artist Spotlight – JDW Sport Designs

With the summer transfer window finally closed, we here at Royal Blue Mersey can take a moment to collectively breathe and focus on the season ahead. Along with adding Everton to their squad depth, we have also been working on adding a few additions to the RBM squad so we can improve our coverage of the Toffees. You’ll be seeing more pieces from some new names in the coming days, but we also wanted to highlight a young illustrator whose work we really appreciate and would love to show Everton fans everywhere.

James, JDW Sport Designs

I am a 19 year old Blue trying to break into Illustration. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for over a year now and loved every minute of it. My dream is to have my work featured in a fan magazine or even a game show! To achieve this dream, I constantly work hard to improve every detail you see in my designs. Whether it’s studying reference images or just trying completely new things.

I’ve learned so much since I started about all things illustration. There are so many things that need to click for the final piece to really come to life and it is something that sometimes proves very difficult. Overcoming challenges like this is what really drives me to improve my art work and take things to the next level.

I was also blessed to be able to work with amazing people who supported me from day one. A few examples work with a group of Everton fans and a YouTube channel on some of their badges, which I really appreciated as I had to change my art style slightly to fit on a physical pin badge . I also participated in a few projects with very talented illustrators on Twitter. These have been a lot of fun to work on and I can’t thank everyone enough for getting me involved and for the great work everyone is doing to take these projects to the next level! I’ve made many friendships through this and look forward to connecting with even more people through Illustration.

JDW Sports Designs

We took the opportunity to chat with James and to get to know him better.

RBM – Evertonians are born not bred, the saying goes. Tell us how you became/realized that you were Blue?

James – Everton is all I have ever known. As a child I was raised as a Blue and always had the shirts and loved pretending I was my favorite player! I remember watching the games and falling in love with the group of players we had at the time. Cahill, Pienaar, Arteta and Baines are a few players who really got me excited watching the game. My whole family is also blue so I’ve always been in the general chatter about Everton and that’s just something I fell in love with.
When you were younger too all you heard on the pitch was Liverpool or Manchester United but I couldn’t even imagine supporting either of them as a kid just because of what it meant and always means being a Blue. It’s a tough connection to put into words, but I’m sure any Blue reading this knows exactly what I mean. I am so proud to support them.

JDW Sports Designs

RBM – For older Blues, it’s always comforting to see younger Evertonians despite our decades of futility. What drives you forward?

James – The Spirit. The spirit of the club is something so inspiring and the passion we all share is truly something special. Let’s be honest, over the past 10 years or so we’ve had some disappointing times. Whether it’s with the results or the loss of players, even just with the way the club has been run. But as Evertonians we never lose that spirit and despite all the torment from other fans and the poor results we have faced, we stick together and watch every game with our hearts on our sleeves.

RBM – Who is your favorite Everton player? Why? Do you have a story or two about how they became your favourites?

James – Wow, what a question! I think it’s hard for me to choose just one because we had some very talented players as well as players that the fans got used to immediately, mainly due to the attitude and character of the players. . However, I think one player who really personified the club and always gave his all on the pitch was Leighton Baines. We signed the player around the time I was getting into football properly and playing it regularly, so I knew what was going on and how exciting it was to see new faces coming along.
One memory that has always stuck with me is Baines’ free-kick against Newcastle in 2013. Seeing a goal like that scored by an Everton player was just another little thing that ultimately made me proud to be Blue and see the passion of a player. as Baines shared with me and all the other fans, that’s what makes him one of the best for me.

JDW Sports Designs

RBM – How did you discover your artistic sense? When did you realize you could combine your passion for the arts and Everton into one?

James – Well, I’ve always been quite creative. Whether drawing or creating things in Photoshop. It’s something I’ve always loved doing but never really shared. Over a year ago I started doing digital illustrations just on my phone! They weren’t the most detailed but I had fun making them. At the time, Everton had just been taken over by Carlo Ancelotti and had also signed Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan and James Rodriguez. It was a very exciting time for all of the Blues and these players were some of the first I drew digitally. In all the excitement and buzz around the club, I decided to share these illustrations on Twitter.
I didn’t really expect this to come out, but I kept making them and posting them for fun. As I started to get traction and support I was inspired to keep going and without going into all the details I am now at a point I never thought I would reach and I Having just the opportunity to answer questions like this in an article put together by you guys is a brilliant opportunity.

JDW Sports Designs

RBM – Where do you see yourself going in your career with the art you make now?

James – A career in illustration is something I dream of. I am constantly trying to improve myself and work on my social media to build a portfolio and document all my progress and accomplishments. I do this so that everyone can see what I do and the processes I go through to create my work, hoping that one day a work will come my way, which can then be a starting point in the whole process to become a full-time illustrator. I speak daily with illustrators who are absolutely amazing both as people and as artists. These people have done an amazing job for many football clubs and football organizations. This is something I would absolutely love to do and think it will really help me as an illustrator and build a path to my dream career.

RBM – Do you have a store where Blues can buy your work?

James – I do! I have a shop on Etsy that has had tremendous support. Opening a store where I can sell physical prints to people is something that I find really exciting. If people want to check it out, you can use this link here.
I also hope to be able to ship prints to Blues living in the US soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

JDW Sports Designs

RBM – Finally, and this is a big question, how do you see this season going for Everton?

James – Despite starting the season with two defeats and a series of draws, I remain optimistic. We brought in a great young talent in Amadou Onana who has already shown us what he is capable of from midfield and the signings we made at the back are exactly what we needed. The experience and leadership we have in Tarkowski and Coady will only improve the team as a whole. I also think that Alex Iwobi will have a good season and will really help us in this new central role. Iwobi has looked very bright since Lampard’s arrival and he can only improve now. Nathan Patterson is another player I’m looking forward to seeing this season. His early performances this season have shown him to be a very confident and intelligent winger.
The pace and versatility of Mykolenko and Patterson are going to be key to our attacking game and getting the balls into the box for our striker. I also think that with a new striker and when Calvert-Lewin is back, Dwight McNeil can really shine blue. Definitely a player to watch this season. Lampard has a plan in place and if we can have a solid end to this summer transfer window with the arrival of a new striker or two, I think we’ll have a decent season!

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