David Sparshott, Freelance Illustrator

David Sparshott, Freelance Illustrator

Illustrator David Sparshott talks to us from an island on the Mekong River in Cambodia about his weirdest commissioned pieces and illustrating a match report for a Premier League football match.

How did you get into doing illustration?
I studied an Art Foundation course and then decided to do a BA in Illustration at UWE in Bristol.

What’s been your proudest piece?
A few years back I worked on a weekly illustration for the Times newspaper which saw me visit a Premier League football match and produce an illustrated match report. This was a really rewarding job to work on albeit with long hours and a lot of travelling but the experience was fantastic.
If you could have your work published anywhere, where and what would it be?
I’d love to create a design for a pro-cycling team. 

What has been your most bizarre commissioned piece?
Early on in my career I was commissioned by a Russian agency to draw a series of characters representing different Russian cities but they all had to have a fox’s head. i.e. St. Petersburg was a ballerina with a fox head etc.

In what kind of environment do you work best?
I really find it hard to work with any outside distraction. I have an outside studio where I work that is really quiet and spacious so the only noise or distraction will come from myself.
What do you think is the most important piece of clothing or equipment when cycling in London?
I think the most important thing is to be comfortable and therefore the most expensive or most technical piece of cycle clothing isn't always the best. Bib shorts under trousers was always a favourite of mine when commuting long distance into London. 

Where is your favourite place or route to cycle?

I usually head out to the South Downs at the weekend along with thousand a of other cyclist. Despite the numbers it's surprisingly easy to find some beautiful quiet country lanes to ride. An area that I'd lie to explore more is the Yorkshire dales. I went to watch the Tour de France come through a couple of years back and the scenery and roads were fantastic. 

What is the most important feature of cycle wear for you?

The way the cycling clothing is cut is so important whether that is for a jerseys and shorts or a technical jacket and trousers. Clothing that billows in the wind is a real pain when you're slogging into work or out for a spin at the weekend. 

Quick fire: 

What bike do you currently ride? Cannondale caad10 with some fancy wheels.

Tell us an interesting fact about you. I am currently living on an island in the Mekong River in Cambodia. 

What tip would you give a new cyclist in London? Tell all your friends and colleagues to cycle too.

 What’s your favourite clothing label? Tk Max!

Who’s your favourite person to cycle with? On my own, I like the peace!

 I couldn’t live without my… Sketchbook