Episode 20: Clay Hickson

Staying Busy and Enjoying the Process


In this episode, I chat with Clay Hickson, 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 70’s 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, bought that machine and learned about risograph printing to start his own independent publishing house and press—Tan & Loose. Since then, Tan & Loose has published books from artists like Lan Truong, Gabriel Alcala, Peter Gamlen, and many more. Clay’s other passion project, a hugely influential one that has earned him acclaim within the creative community and beyond, is The Smudge, a monthly newspaper inspired by 70’s underground political journals, that Clay publishes with his wife, 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 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


Support Clay and his work by subscribing to The Smudge or purchasing a few Tan & Loose Press goodies.

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.