When we met the lovely Dominic Evans (aka DOM&INK) we got on hilariously! Originally from Manchester, and now based in London, Dom has illustrated two interactive adult colouring journals, ‘Map My Style’ and ‘Map My Heart’ (for Huck & Pucker); designed a sweater and t-shirt collection for Rock On Ruby; and worked with a wide range of celebrities, TV personalities, and fashion brands. So, when he offered to do live illustrations of our Covent Garden store team – we couldn’t say no!
So lovely to have you in store again, Dom! Let’s kick off with the million dollar question – how did you get started in illustration?
My career (kind of) started after my BA in Illustration at Manchester Met University. After I graduated, I took three years out to work in retail, before going back to my true love (drawing) with a Masters in Brighton. Once I finished my Masters I got my first freelance job, illustrating posters for the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.
No way! What a sweet first job.
Yeah! You know how the Victoria & Albert Museum here in London does late night openings every month? The Brighton Museum does “B-Night” Lates; they asked me to illustrate for a fashion-themed Late. After that, they invited me back and I ended up becoming their regular illustrator for the Late season, which went on for two years.
It was great – it was really the start of everything for me. Through the work with Brighton Museum, I got my first book deal from Huck & Pucker. It wasn’t easy though – 35 publishers had rejected me before one said yes! That was when I decided to move to London to make a go of it. That first book was entirely hand-illustrated, even the text, and it went straight into major retail stores like Urban Outfitters in the USA and Topshop. Then they gave me a second book deal! After that it kind of snowballed into work for Glamour magazine, X Factor, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
It really helped that Buzzfeed and some bloggers were also sharing my work. Each job lead to more opportunities as well – when I was on X Factor illustrating all of the judges and acts, I met Cheryl [Cole]. She’s so lovely – we took a photo together and I’ve decided it’s going to be on my tombstone. She shared some of my illustrations on Instagram and I got quite a few jobs as a result of that!
Was this all live illustration and event work, or commissioned posters and campaign illustrations?
At that time a lot of it was live event illustration, which I still do. But I also moved into illustrating designs for products for Rock On Ruby, who I have an ongoing collaboration with now. They use my illustrations on phone cases, mugs, make-up cases and t-shirts. That kind of opened up a whole new area of work for me because they retail on several different platforms and are often featured in press. There are more opportunities to expand with illustration than people think!
Sounds like you’re all set!
I’m so lucky to have all of these opportunities, but I have worked my butt off!
It’s snowballed slowly and steadily; of course there are weeks when I don’t have a lot on, and then weeks when there’s too much on!
What’s your favourite job been so far?
The one I enjoyed the most was probably working with X Factor – it was a really last minute invite from a friend to go backstage and I just sat there drawing people. All of the illustrations were auctioned for charity, which was a huge incentive for me – Simon Cowell does a lot of charity work.
I was then invited back the next night of the show because Cheryl hadn’t been illustrated yet – and then she invited me to the finals! This was the year that Louisa Johnson won.
And what have you been working on recently?
I’ve just done the Girl vs. Cancer t-shirts…
Are those the ones with the little hearts and watermelons on the boobs?
Yeah! They’re everywhere at the moment, the campaign is getting a lot of press which is fantastic because it’s such an important cause. 25% of all sales go to their partner charities to support breast cancer research, awareness, and women affected.
That’s so wonderful that you’re able to do this full time and work on some amazing projects. What else have you got up your sleeve?
I’ve also done illustrated sweats for Kobox gym – have you been there? It’s so fun, they call it a ‘fight club nightclub’. I think I might be doing some more work with them, so we’ll see how it goes!
Would you ever design your own collection?
Maybe! I would love to do my own series of printed shirts, I love a printed shirt! Even though I’m wearing a plain top today, and it’s the opposite of what I just said. Like, if something’s got a dinosaur on it, I’m there. That’s what they’re lacking on the high street – dinosaur shirts!
We’d like to see dinosaurs wearing glasses on a t-shirt – surely they had eyesight trouble too?! We think the best thing about the most recent iPhone update is that they added dinosaur emojis.
Yes! I’ve been struggling with trying to use the dragon emoji as a replacement for so long. And I do like the new fried-brain emoji as well.
So you draw little characters and animals too?
I’m typically labeled as a Fashion Illustrator or Events Illustrator, but I do more than that – I don’t just draw sassy huns. You can see on some of the phone cases – I illustrate plants, unicorns, and dinosaurs! I do love figurative illustration though – I love drawing people.
Why is that?
When I was younger I taught myself how to draw using a comic book called ‘How to Draw – The Marvel Way’. It had all these superheroes in and it showed you how to draw Spiderman or Ironman or Thor. Bearing in mind that at the time Marvel was not cool! I remember that it said to always drawing women with high cheekbones and high eyebrows, so all my illustrations became quite fierce looking. I had to draw Mary for the Nativity at school – she ended up looking full-on Pamela Anderson! My mum was like, “Her chest is very large Dominic!” I think I was 9 years old at the time. My teacher edited the chest out. I would love to illustrate an entire comic book or graphic novel one day.
That would be so awesome. Can you create a character called Bailey?
I love creating books with narratives, something sequential and with a storyline. But I also love doing the retail and apparel stuff. I just love doing it all. Everything! I want world DOM-ination.
Ha! I like that a lot.
I’m just going to sit behind a desk stroking a cat. Dr. Evans. That is the plan.
Sinister plan! So – final question – where are your favourite places to hang out and get inspiration in London?
Gregg’s Bakery. Just kidding (sort of). I love going to the V&A for their fashion and tapestry collections, the Natural History Museum for the dinosaur exhibit (obviously), Liberty for the interesting collections and hard-to-find products and Broadway Market for coffee at the weekend!
Dominic wears the Palmer in Crystal.