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Jacky Sheridan is an illustrator, typographer and resident at UsFolk, Belfast. She creates controversial illustrations focusing on sexuality, political activism and much more.
Jacky spoke to us about her experience in UsFolk as well as creatives’ mental health.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

I’m an Irish illustrator based in Belfast who works primarily in branding as well as typographic and editorial illustration often focusing specifically on the controversial - feminism, alternative music, political activism, sexuality, anything involving taking the piss and of course, dogs wearing fishnet suspenders. I am an active part of UsFolk illustration agency which is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland, and is where I work from in our new home in the River House building in the city centre.

What/who influences/motivates you?

I love looking at other mediums for inspiration rather than just other illustrators - screen printing and letter press typography are massive influences on my work and have been from the start, I love painters and fine artists like David Hockney and David Shrigley, but to be honest I’d say the main inspiration behind my work actually comes from photography. It’s the perfect art form for any illustrator to learn the basics of good illustration from - whether that be composition, focus, emphasis, colour, lighting etc. My favourite of all time is probably Derek Ridgers.

What has been your biggest hurdle and your proudest moment or accomplishment in your career?

a. biggest hurdle
It would be dishonest of me not to mention mental health here. Like God knows what percentage of creatives have suffered with bad mental health. It makes creating in general never mind creating something you actually LIKE, seem damn near impossible. It’s a hurdle that unfortunately a lot of us have to jump over and over again, but the only advice I can give is that beating yourself up for falling at said hurdle isn’t going to make it any fucking easier to jump over it the next time. 
b. proudest moment/achievement
I’m lucky to say I’ve had a few in my career so far, from bagging dream clients like Facebook and Vice to getting asked back to teach on my old University course. But probably the one that’s brought me the most pride and joy has been getting to be a part of my illustration agency UsFolk from the beginning. I swear, all the blood, sweat and tears to build up the illustration scene that Belfast had been crying out for has been worth it to get to work with such amazing people all the time that I’m very lucky to call friends. 

Could you give some advice for any young, emerging designers?
Refer to art directors by name when cold emailing, don’t have your images on your site that aren’t sized for web (while you’re at it, check how your site looks on mobile) and if you ever find yourself jealous of someone else's work, make damn sure to try and befriend them because you can probably learn something really worthwhile.