Here is another artist profile for you! His unique style is easily recognizable, and I am so excited to share this with you. Dean MacAdam(@illustratordean) answered some questions for me.

Me: Can we learn a little bit about your background? Tell us about yourself!

Dean: Hi, I'm Dean :)

I started drawing at an early age and always loved it. Art has always played a major role in my life, it's the way I interpret my surroundings and it's also the way I make my living.  

I'm a Canadian but have been living in the States for many years.  Originally I came to Florida on an Art Scholarship but have also lived in North Carolina, Sweden and the last dozen years in Southern California.  My entire career I've been a freelance artist working from home, it's been a really fun gig, I'm very lucky!

Me: How did you get started with doing art for puzzles?

 Dean: Officially, about 7 years ago, Ravensburger reached out to me to licence 2 kids pieces that I did.  They were used specifically for kids' puzzles and ran for several years before being phased out.

But my adult puzzles came into being after a group art show I did in 2016.  The Theme was Alice in Wonderland and I painted a large vertical image of my interpretation of Alice and characters.

I always liked that art and thought I'd reach out to Ravensburger to see if there was any interest.  My contact at the time liked the piece but wanted a horizontal version instead as it's more customary for puzzles.  Rather than cropping into the art, I decided to extend the canvas horizontally and add new characters.  That version is what you see on the puzzle today "Most Everyone is Mad 1000 piece puzzle".  The Alice puzzle did really well as it was released in 2020 during the lockdown when puzzling became extremely popular.  

Me: What other types of illustrations do you do that are not puzzle related?

Dean: I've been illustrating for close to 30 years, so I've illustrated many different things for kids, adults and pets. I've done advertising work, storyboards, books, packaging, character design, magazine editorials, fine art, games, apps, etc.

Last several years I've also had the opportunity to do quite a bit of fun caricature style editorial work for magazines, this goes way back to my junior high days of sneakily drawing my teachers...ha!

Me: Can you tell us a bit about the puzzles you have illustrated so far and what inspires your work? 

Dean: After the success of the first Alice puzzle that really set the motion of the other puzzles, which are interpretations of classic stories.  The reason being, they're universally well known and they aren't infringing on any trademarks as these stories are in public domain.  Also I love the challenge of bringing something new to the viewer, my hope is that they see something that's still recognizable but also uniquely different. 

Me: How do you do the images? Digital? Drawing? 

Dean: It always starts out as crude pencil sketches on paper, this helps me get a basic composition going.  My sketches are then scanned into the computer and that's where I create the final art. I work using Adobe Photoshop, a couple of monitors and drawing tablets.

Me: Do you enjoy doing puzzles too? Do you have a favorite artist/series brand?

Dean: I've done simpler puzzles with my daughter when she was younger but nothing beyond several hundred pieces.  It wasn't until I had my own puzzles that I tried something larger.  Illustrating is actually very similar to putting together a puzzle, I put in countless hours working on different characters, backgrounds, and all those little juicy details. But admittedly I'm very slow at putting them together, takes me close to a week, I'm so amazed at speed puzzlers completing them in only several hours!  

Me: How do you see your work evolving and how has it evolved since the start? 

Dean: Puzzle art is very different from the other illustration assignments I usually take on.  My other work is usually created in several days, but puzzle art is very thought out and detailed, so they can take months to finish. 

I really try to make my puzzle art fun and challenging for the puzzler but not for the sake of just filling space, I'm trying to tell a story that's maybe slightly beyond the original theme. I also like to incorporate every inch of the puzzle with something interesting and fun. As far as evolving, time will tell, I'm still considered a newbie in this genre.

Me: What is coming next for you?

Dean: Including Alice, I've created (5) 1000 piece puzzles for Ravensburger, 3 which are out, Goldilocks is coming soon and another one to be released next year.  I have several more classic story themed puzzles planned but would also like to create my own themes in the future. I'll also be attending the USA Jigsaw Nationals later this month in San Diego, this will be my first jigsaw event, I'm looking forward to it. 

Dean MacAdam Puzzles:

  1. Ravensburger Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! (Wizard of Oz)

  1. Ravensburger Hansel and Gretel (1000pcs)

  1. Ravensburger Most Everyone Is Mad (1000pcs)