About + FAQ's
Hi! I'm Joseph Mead!
I am a freelance Illustrator recently graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI with a Bachelor's degree in Digital Media/Illustration.
I grew up in St. Joseph, MI, just a couple miles from the shore of Lake Michigan. My childhood was shaped by digging for pirate treasure in the sand, sword-fighting in the woods, exploring national parks, and making stop motion movies.
Over the years I've created comics, animations, board games, video games, murals, and natural science Illustrations; but my number one passion is Children's Books and Storytelling.
I believe that the primary purpose of art is to tell a story; illustration is one of the most rewarding and universally accessible means of communication; it is especially important for building a child's ability to imagine and visualize stories and ideas on their own. My favorite part of my job is watching kids interact with my work, ask questions, and connect with my characters :)
I work hard to ensure that my illustrations leave an impact on the reader, be it a cinematic moment, a strong emotion, a vibrant environment, or a quirky character design. Every picture has a distinct purpose in a narrative, and it my job to see those ideas communicated in a colorful and engaging manner.
Good question. I actually really enjoy drawing human characters and environmental concepts; but aside from being an animal lover, the animal kingdom presents three unique features that makes critters really fun to draw, characterize, and tell stories with:
1. Animals are wildly diverse! I continue to discover colorful new textures and patterns, physical structures, behaviors, and adaptations; these are a constant source of inspiration as well as a great motivator to keep exploring and finding new critters for myself.
2. Animals are rooted in history and culture! As long as we've had writing, animals have played an essential role in myths, fairy tales, and fables. Each of them now carry unique cultural connotations built up by years of these stories-- for example, foxes are almost always considered sly and cunning while snakes are almost always evil. Keeping these ideas in mind helps me to craft stories that already have a strong meaning to the viewer.
3. Animals are extremely expressive! Because of their variety of shapes and characteristics, animals can be really fun to personify-- especially when you begin to exaggerate certain features and allow their personality to be dictated by their characteristics.
Do you ever do Commissions?
Sure, when my schedule permits. If you have an idea that you'd like to see realized, go ahead and send me an email from my Contact page; from there we can discuss details such as complexity, time frame, and pricing.
For book contracts and continuing projects, email me with a description of the book/outline, the time frame of the project, and any style or color benchmarks you would like the illustrations to emulate. Note: my schedule only allows me to take on a couple of long-term contracts at a time. I'll do my best to respond quickly regarding my current availability and interest in your project.
Even if you don't want to order a commission, I'd love to hear your ideas! I get a lot of inspiration from people simply telling me their favorite animal or a good joke :)
Do you have any pets?
I do! This is my pet rabbit, Luna, named after the Harry Potter character with a rabbit patronus. She also responds to cuddle muffin, fluff nugget, dufflepud, marshwiggle, womp rat, and bun :) She's very friendly and loves to jump around my living room. I like to try and sneak her into my pictures every so often, so keep a sharp eye out!