You just can’t beat that buzz. Whether the action unfolds at an exhibition launch night, in an open space or a trendy bar, the chance to witness a piece of art spontaneously developing never fails to thrill the creators and onlookers alike.

“Live art offers a rare insight into the [artists’] technique as well as the final creation,” says Alan Silvester of clothing brand Dirtyface ( “That’s exciting for anyone interested in this industry.”

For Josh Bottomley, the best thing is “people asking you what you’re doing and showing an interest… As an illustrator, it’s really encouraging for me to get instant feedback”.

Setting up a live art event may appear straightforward: boards, pens and a few enthusiastic doodlers are the necessities that spring to mind. But how do you ensure the event gives rise to art of genuine integrity and is entertaining for the audience?

Preparing in advance is one key to success, Josh observes. “Having a brief idea of what you are going to be doing before you actually start the live event is pretty important. I’ve tried winging it in the past and it’s a lot more hard work.”

Having created several murals in his hometown of Huddersfield, alongside collaborative projects as part of Crim Collective (, Josh is steadily gaining a reputation for his bold, larger-than-life character work. “Working in a bigger format on walls is a challenge. Simply making sure you have everything you need saves a lot of time.”

5 tips for success - Josh Bottomley

• Have confidence in what you are doing, and don’t be afraid to try something new!

• Planning is key for me – making sure you have everything you need before you arrive at the venue.

• Wrap up. If you’re working outside in winter make sure you dress appropriately; being cold is counterproductive.

• Collaborate and discuss ahead of the event. Ideas become truly amazing when they are bounced off several brains.

• Have fun with what you do, and always take a camera along.

This page, top to bottom Solo work by Josh Bottomley, Josh at Pictoplasma, and Josh plus the rest of the Crim Collective at the same event