Q&A with cartoon parody artist Nick Thompson aka Thumbs
London born pop culture artist and graphic designer Thumbs creates cartoon parody art. His designs crossover cartoons, movies and pop culture references, and with a background in skateboarding and a love for comic books, skate art and 90’s cartoons it’s hardly surprising. We caught up with him for a chat to understand his ideas, inspiration and plans for the future.
Can you tell us about Thumbs? And where the name came from?
It was pretty much just a stupid nickname that got given to me when I started working at my local skate shop when I was younger. I was always on my phone texting and one of the guys there started calling me Thumbs, I guess because you text with your thumbs. Next minute they’re all calling me it and it just stuck. When I started drawing more I always tagged my work “Thumbs” and that become my instagram handle. I hadn’t really planned on becoming a professional illustrator but as my followers started racking up it got a little too late to change my name to something more “professional”. I suppose it keeps an air of mystery around it…like Batman!
How do you go about making a new parody character?
To be honest they kind of just pop into my head. I might be driving or drawing or watching TV and an idea will just leap out at me. I guess I sometimes think of cartoons or movies I like and if I can relate two or three characters then I look a little deeper and see if I can make a series out of it. Parodies like Barty McFly and the Simpsons mixed with Ninja Turtles started out as funny ideas I thought would look cool, I didn’t think other people would also find them cool! I have a notebook full of ideas, some might never make it to paper but it’s fun coming up with them.
Which 3 creative tools can’t you live without?
I live in Adobe Illustrator. I couldn’t live without my iPad Pro, that’s become my favourite tool to draw with and I would say Photoshop purely for mocking up shirts. Can also sneak my iPhone in there?
You’ve worked on some interesting crossovers, what’s been your favourite?
The biggest I’ve done is crossing over all 151 Gen 1 Pokemon with all the different Simpsons characters. That project alone took 2 years and it felt amazing when I finished. It was definitely satisfying when I completed it. The one that has a special place in my heart would probably be Simpsons x Ninja Turtles. It was my first mashup and that kickstarted the whole thing for me.
Any exciting projects planned for the future?
Totally! I’m planning on releasing a youth clothing range with 3rd Rail Clothing and I also want to release some limited edition skate decks. I always have new pins and stickers coming out and it’s always exciting seeing a drawing I’ve done turned into something tangible like a pin badge. I also want to host my own Arts and Crafts convention here in London. Mainly focusing on the indy artists or crafts person and having an expo where they can showcase and sell their work to the public. That would be really cool.
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Watch the ‘Scwifty Things’ t-shirt printing process on our youtube channel.