The Block

News — 8 years ago

Get to Know: Josh McKenna

We caught up with Josh McKenna a freelance illustrator specialising in print, packaging and advertising who can count brands such as Converse, Refinery29 and GQ as previous clients. Josh is also the creator behind the slick illustrations on our support page.

adam tickle

Hey Josh, Tell us about how you first got into design:

When I graduated from University I moved straight to London. I worked hard to secure contacts in the industry whilst I was getting to know everything about the design and illustration world. I picked up small jobs to start with and before I knew it I was creating work for window displays on Oxford St.

Josh McKenna, Debenhams Summer Window 2016
Josh McKenna, Debenhams Summer Window 2016

How did you come up with the concept and visuals for the Everpress page?

I worked together with Everpress Founder Alex to come up with the four concepts. I initially drew them up before stripping them back to keep things nice and simple. The challenge came with introducing the bright Everpress green as it’s a colour I would never usually work into my designs – but I added a milky tone to it and a complimentary pink and it worked out really well.

Josh McKenna, Everpress Support Page Illustrations
Josh McKenna, Everpress Support Page Illustrations

What do you usually look for in a t-shirt?

Simplicity! I like them to be structured, heavy cotton t-shirts that fit like old American work shirts. I prefer more formal shirts to be boxy with square sleeves and a thick collar. I’ve done some work for Acne Studios and love the colours from their collections – the Acne Pink for example is very complimentary to my work.

What has drawn you to feature so many palm trees and tropical plants in your work?

I’m from Cornwall and the summer there is very tropical. Palm trees are everywhere and there’s beaches and crystal clear water all around – I guess that my inspiration stems from there. I also visited Barcelona a few years ago which gave me a similar type of inspiration.

—Josh McKenna for Refinery 29
Josh McKenna for Refinery 29

Who/what are the main influences in your work?

It’s quite easy to say my work has been inspired in the past by the 80’s decade. It was such an expressional decade; the adverts were sexy and surreal and just a bit bizarre. I like to use them as inspiration and apply them to my work. My colour palette is very LA / art deco inspired, I love warm summery tones and have kept my palette quite minimal and strict.

What are your favourite pieces of merch that you’ve seen over the years?

In the summer I really liked the NTS and Carhartt merch designed by Adam Tickle. I got a really nice pink tee with a script typeface on the back saying “Send Me Your Love”.

Adam Tickle, NTS x Carhartt
Adam Tickle, NTS x Carhartt

If you could work with one other designer who would it be?

Braulio Amado is a great designer I was lucky enough to meet once. I love his work, It’s very surreal, a bit dirty and very cool, grotesque figures and distorted limbs with beautiful gradients and shapes. I would love to work with him.

See more of Josh’s work here.

Josh McKenna, Sun’s Out
Josh McKenna, Sun’s Out