Chris Judge

Want a little Chris Judge in your life? He’s
everywhere—especially in Ireland. A Dublin native, Judge creates
work that’s a little bit menacing and a little bit cute. His
drawings have adorned the backs of buses, children’s T-shirts, and
even a bathroom scale where your weight is displayed in increasingly
larger monsters. You can read his monthly comic strip Dystopia
(written by his brother) in Totally Dublin, a free
bar-and-nightlife guide, or see his work for clients Coca-Cola and
Vodaphone in ads all over the country. His art has been in a number of
gallery shows, and though he’s embarassed to admit it, his
illustrations also grace the walls of two McDonald’s restaurants
in Dublin. “Luckily, I hate McDonald’s, so I never have to
see them,” he says. He’s been on the airwaves too, playing
lead bass with his recently dissolved rock group The Chalets, whose
songs were featured on Grey’s Anatomy. A graduate of Dun
Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, in Dublin, Judge jokes
that the worst part of being a freelance illustrator is “working
eight to ten hours in my own company every day.” But, he adds,
“I couldn’t paint or make the things I want to in front of
other people, so I guess it’s worth it.”

Where do you
usually draw?

I always have a notebook on me, preferably a chubby
Moleskine, so I end up drawing everywhere. I usually draw a lot at home
on my lap with the TV on in the background. I used to be precious with
my notebooks, but now I fill them up in a few weeks with all sorts of

What’s your most essential tool?
I guess my
favorite tool at the moment is my Pentel brush pen. It’s
incredibly versatile; you can draw the thinnest to the fattest line in
one stroke and fill in blocks of black in seconds. She’s a beaut.
Photoshop is the most important program I use, but sometimes it’s
more of a necessity than a pleasure. I’ll have to give my right
hand and brain credit for all the hours they put in.

What is the
strangest job you’ve had?

The strangest job I’ve ever
worked on was painting the “Creation of Adam” scene from the
Sistine Chapel in a toilet in this weird house when I was in college. It
was a perfect replica except Adam was Dave Mustaine [of Megadeth] and
God was James Hetfield [of Metallica], and done in the style of The
Simpsons. Dreadful.

What are your favorite museums?
favorite museum is the Science Museum in London. It’s packed full
of the most amazing human endeavors, and the kids’ area is
incredible fun. I think adults secretly have more fun than the kids in
there. My favorite museum in Dublin is the National Museum of
Ireland–Natural History. The contents of its Victorian cabinets predate
Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species by a few years,
which is pretty cool, and most of the animals are disintegrating, which
makes it more otherworldly. As a child I was obsessed with the enormous
fat walrus at the back and the stuffed dodo upstairs on the rickety

Who first taught you to make art, and what do you
remember first drawing?

My dad always drew with us when we
were kids; he has an amazing ’50s British comic book style, and I
still see him drawing with my nephews and niece, so he was a big
influence. My mum painted a lot back then as well, so there were always
lots of art supplies in the house. My brothers and I were big comic
fans, so I was always drawing copies from them. I remember drawing the
Superman logo over and over again. I can still draw Garfield and Judge
Dredd perfectly from memory.

If you could collaborate with one
other artist, who would it be? If you could illustrate any text, what
would you pick?

There are a lot of comic artists, like Mike
McMahon and Kevin O’Neill from the U.K., and Dan Clowes, Jaime
Hernandez, and Chris Ware, who I would give my right arm to spend a few
hours drawing with. Make that my left hand, actually. I would also love
to exhibit with people like Gary Baseman or Tim Biskup when I grow up.
I’d love to illustrate one of Douglas Coupland’s books, but
in a very unconventional way—e.g., hang out with him and draw and
build stuff with him to create a graphic novel to represent the book in
a new way.