How I Got Here: John Bond

Illustrator, designer and animator John Bond talks about finding his voice, going freelance and making his first children’s book

John Bond is an illustrator, designer, director and occasional animator. Originally hailing from Gloucestershire, he’s been based in Worthing for the past 12 years and for the past four, has freelanced on projects ranging from  animations to ads, games, apps, websites, murals and exhibitions. His client list includes the BBC, Channel 4, King’s College, MTV, the NHS and the Tate. Bond set up shop as a freelancer in 2014 having worked at Brighton-based digital studio Kanoti for seven years. He’s just about to release his first ever children’s book, Mini Rabbit Not Lost, and here he tells us about the long, slow road to making a living through drawing and why you shouldn’t feel bad when it looks like you’re doing nothing.

On the importance of humour in his work In my first year at Kingston it felt very much like I was making work to try to please the tutors stylistically to tick boxes and get good feedback, but at the same time it didn’t feel natural to me. I felt like an imposter. The second year was more enjoyable when I started creating work and not thinking about what would they like to see. It just felt more effortless and made me have more faith in my abilities again. Humour is the most important factor in a huge percentage of my work, though sometimes it might be a slightly twisted humour. With certain briefs or bigger clients, sometimes you can squeeze a more humorous narrative into the background, and that can take the edge off if it’s a particularly serious tone of voice.