Episode 20: Clay Hickson
On Staying Busy and Enjoying the Process
In this episode, I chat with Clay Hickson, an illustrator and the founder of Tan & Loose Press and The Smudge. We talk about Clay's path to illustration, why he keeps busy with many personal and side projects and how he works and gets inspired.
Clay Hickson is an LA based illustrator and founder of the independent risograph press Tan & Loose Press as well as a monthly newspaper called The Smudge. Clay is not only a hugely talented illustrator with a distinctive 70s vibe who has worked with clients like Netflix, American Express and Apartemento, but also a very generous and active member of the illustration community. Shortly after graduating from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Clay stumbled across a craigslist ad for a risograph printer. He took a chance and bought that machine and learned about risograph printing to start his own independent publishing house and press called Tan & Loose. Since then, Tan & Loose has published books from artists like Lan Truong, Gabriel Alcala, Peter Gamlen and many more. Clay’s other side project, and a hugely influential one that has earned him tons of acclaim within the creative community and beyond is the Smudge, a monthly newspaper inspired by political journals of the 70s underground scene that Clay publishes with his wife the illustrator Liana Jeggers.
In this conversation we talk about:
how Clay became an illustrator
how the harsh Canadian winter encouraged Clay to start drawing more
how and why Clay fell in love with risography
why Clay does so many side and personal projects
Clay's daily routine
how, where and with what tools Clay likes to work
resources to learn more about risograph printers
what it's like to run and print an independent newspaper
Clay's art book and vintage magazine collection
Vintage magazine rec: Pushpin Graphic (mostly on Ebay); there’s also a book that collects some of these issues and illustrations featured in them
Favorite pen: Lamy Safari Pen (medium nib)
Helpful risography resource: Stencil wiki
Favorite movies: Indiana Jones (the first one); Wayne’s World; Austin Powers; 20th century Women
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission from purchases made through them (at no additional cost to you). This helps to support the show.