As any fan of James Jarvis’ vinyl toys and comic books will know, the artist is a stickler for detail and this obsession with getting things just right is certainly part of the charm of his work. Of the many drawings brought together in this, his first book of selected work from 2002–2007 (published by Amos) it’s fascinating to see how his eye fixates on the precise way that a cravat is tied, how a buckle on a policeman’s jacket fastens or, even, how a crow might sport a top hat. And, my, how it sports it well.
While Jarvis is a meticulous researcher, at the same time the work collected here reveals a chaotic freshness in the thinking process behind his creations. Without the confines of a comic book’s panels, Jarvis’ imagination lives more untamed on these pages, with his drawings often growing out into vast dreamlike collages.
By his own admission, these drawings are honest and direct, lacking in the inevitable self-consciousness that a finished figure or drawing might convey. As he says in his introduction, these sketches are as near as we’ll get to his original ideas. And the fact that they’ve been printed so well here only adds to the feeling of being privy to one of his personal sketchbooks.
Selected Drawings: James Jarvis is published by Amos at £19.95