Thomas James began the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast series as a personal project “geared towards learning more about the illustration industry from artists, art directors, and art reps while sharing that knowledge with others,” he told me. “To my surprise, it caught on quickly, becoming the top illustration-related podcast on iTunes, enjoying over 10,000 downloads per week, and expanding into a full-blown website and blog with articles, interviews, illustration news, and a thriving online community of artists sharing ideas and resources with each other.
The last one, Number 81, has just aired.
James’ podcasts featured Marshall Arisman, Barron Storey, Drew Struzan, Anita Kunz, Gary Taxali, Edel Rodriguez, Seymour Chwast, Murray Tinkelman, Dave McKean, Jessica Hische, Aviva Michaelov, Christoph Niemann, Bob Staake, Gerard Dubois, and even me. Each shared “hours of insight and inspiration beyond my wildest dreams.”
After 81 weekly episodes, James adds “I felt that the show had more than achieved its goals, and that it was time to bring it to a close on my own terms. I think all good projects should come to an end before it’s too late. More importantly, I began to feel the need to return my focus to my own illustration career, which was beginning to take off the way Iwanted it to, thanks in large part to the lessons I learned from my conversations with so many top-tier professionals on the show. Through their knowledge and inspiration, I was empowered to find my true creative voice, run a better freelance business, and carve out my own path to success as an illustrator.”
In addition, James wanted to devote more time and energy to another new venture, Illustration Age, which is an online showcase of contemporary illustration that was growing even more rapidly than Escape from Illustration Island. “Luckily for me, this new project is fueled by a team of six great editors, rather than by myself alone.”