Portfolio: John-Patrick Thomas

Illustrator and designer, Brooklyn, NY

John-Patrick is a freelance illustrator and in-house designer at Penguin books.

Where did you train and what did you specialize in?

University of the Arts in Philadelphia. [I] studied illustration with design emphasis.

What are your favourite tools?

Mechanical pencils and a Brayer – plus the Lasso tool and layer masks (in Photoshop) are your friends.

What techniques and approaches do you use most?

Sketching and refining on tracing paper over and over and over. Nothing can hide unconfident drawing or poor design.

What kinds of materials do you work with and why?

I shape out every piece and do most drawing with the lasso tool in photoshop. Custom brushes are amazing and layer masks are always forgiving.

You have to explore software with experimentation like any other tool: combining effects, inventing new tools, etc.

What has been your favourite piece you've created and why?

Probably the launch issue cover and interiors for Houstonia magazine (right on first slide).

It was such a great undertaking and felt like a true collaboration with their talented AD, I learned a lot from the process.

Which clients have you worked for?

New York Times, Penguin Group (USA), Plansponsor, Planadviser, Houstonia magazine, The Washington Post, Poets & Writers.

What/who are you biggest influences?

Gerd Arntz, Tom Sachs, Matisse, collage and Victorian ad woodcuts.

What’s your dream commission?

Anything with creative control.


Cover illustration for launch issue of Houstonia magazine, which was based around the concept of '250 Reasons to Love Houston'

Illustration for Plansponsor titled Health and Wealth. It's about employees linking retirement and health benefits.


Big Data, Trying to Build Better Workers for the New York Times' Sunday Business supplement

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Applause for the Numbers Machine: How geeks, polling, and statistics won the election, for the New York Times' Sunday Business supplement


Illustration for The Washington Post's Capital Business supplement cover story about manufacturing jobs proudly operating in the nation's capital.


Baltimore City Guide illustration for Poets & Writers magazine

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Illustration for Plansponsor: Choosing the Right Option