L. Sadler & the world of Tydrax618


Hey, how are you?

Very well, more up than down!

Can we start out with a little introduction from yourself?  What’s keeping you busy right now?

My name is L. Sadler, I make lots of things, I've been doing it a long time, I draw a lot and then the drawings turn into various things - comics, paintings, collages, sculptures, clothing, video games etc etc. Today I started building a new website section on famiconexpress.co.uk (the publishing project I do with my brother Stef) we always like the idea of being mascot designers, so we're re-framing some of our projects as 'Cartoon Services'. 

On my current to-do list I've got:

  • Make a new comic book (got lots and lots of old sketched out ideas but none of them felt like they're worth bringing to life, but I found a new technique - use them to make drawings of comic pages. It worked, I tricked myself and shook off the things that had gotten stuck and I got on a bit of a roll with some new comic pages)
  • Update Tydrax618.net with some stuff I've made but not gotten round to photographing etc
  • I've got a series of drawings I've been working on for the last year or so, using a lightbox and a photocopier and working on top of old unfinished drawings in new ways, making some weird repeating images. The starting point for that series is a set of surplus safety jackets I bought, they're the kind worn by people who work on the flight decks of aircraft carriers. They became the ideal canvasses for some paintings of UFO's that I had wanted to do.
  • There's a folder full of drawings/collages that seem to be aligning themselves that they might become a book. Something Femme. Maybe to be published by les--lilas.men/
  • I've been designing characters for a video game by Kitty Clark and GHXYK2 (OG Famicon crew) and I think I just need to work on the final boss character now.
  • Got to do some artwork for Braindead - the specifics might be a secret I'm not sure...
  • I've finally got round to do a 30 days Yoga With Adriene
  • I'm playing Nier Automata with a lot of support from my friend Jack, he does the bosses for me cos it stresses me out.
  • Re-watching Neon Genesis Evangelion so I can finally watch all the films, and we're also watching McMillions but we have to have really good snacks or make milkshakes whilst we watch it because it makes us super hungry for Mcdonalds.
  • Oh and I've got to put finishing touches on my new book coming out from Breakdown Press called 'Tummybugs' it's a collection of specific comics and drawings.

Your output as an artist is phenomenal - do you have a daily routine?

Not anymore. I choose a strong outfit for the day and put on some hair and make-up. By that point I'm becoming very impatient to start working on something, and I've noticed that mornings are the best time for me to draw. I'll see what I feel like drawing, and that usually leads how the rest of the day will follow. It might make me want to work on comics, or draw logos, or might make me want to get some work done on the computer.

My core intention is to spend every day and evening working. I take generous breaks for lunch and dinner and that's when I will watch some anime or some comedy and have a relax.

Throughout the day, various distractions happen which I'm very happy to allow. I can't tell if my productivity has decreased, I'm doing quite well trying to prevent myself getting stressed by that. I'm learning to get out of the habit of feeling like I have to monetise every moment of the day.

I recently spent a couple of days printing with you in my studio.  It was very refreshing and really inspiring to share that time with you; I observed much spontaneity and moments of very-considered-split-second-what-will-be-will-be energy; the result creating something so beautifully unique.  Is experimentation a fundamental process to the way you approach your work?

Ah that's a good way to put it. Being very open and free within a considered set of standards and rules. 

I noticed that more and more i'm setting up little puzzles within my processes, partly for my entertainment and to spark my imagination, partly to reduce the choices I have to make. Freedom of choice is over-rated! It's a stressor! 

I really like to be open to outside cues influencing what I'm doing. Using whatever's to hand instead of pausing to find the exact perfect ingredient. I think it's good to watch out for anything that'll break your flow or take you out of the zone. I think that working at a certain speed is really important and finishing as much as possible in a 'session'. That way there's less room for doubt and less chance to lose confidence and give up. Better to get something complete than slow down and convince myself it's not worth doing! Also drawing works best when you go fast.

Hmm, I dunno how true that all is though, because I also have very slow burning projects that I pick up and put down that stretch out for years. So maybe I found a sweet spot balancing slow and fast. 

Leon Sadler Tydrax618 x Blues Tees www.bluesstore.co

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Just energy I think. I look at lots of stuff all the time, but it's hard to tell if I'm inspired by looking at stuff. I get a lot of entertainment and stimulus consuming lots of things but maybe that sensation isn't necessarily the feeling that inspires me to create. I really like looking at all different kinds of fantasy art, and things associated with hobbies. I've gotten a bit addicted to videos of people applying all kinds of weathering and finishing techniques to their Gundam kits. 

Eduardo Paolozzi's silkscreen prints have really firmly dug themselves into my minds eye, and thinking about those gives me a buzz to want to start arranging shapes and colours. 

But honestly feels like a long time since I felt inspired by art. Being witness to other people's courage to do things the weird way is very helpful. When someone has the option to do something safe or properly, then they go sideways and something fucked up comes out instead. I've been looking at clothes a lot more than I used to, and I feel like I see more surprising and weird inspiring things on runways than in galleries. 

And my brother Stef, joking around with him is always inspiring

And I can't forget to mention how inspired I get when I organise my drawings into folders and piles, and start to imagine what I can do with them. 

Is the relationship between word and image significant to your work?

A lot more than it used to! Words only ever appeared in my work when I was making comics, but in the last few years I've noticed that I doodle letter forms a lot more. At work they had this exhibition about viking treasure running for so long, and I found myself doodling shapes from ancient coins and carvings a lot. 

I really like the decorative possibility of letter forms, especially working on graphics that'll appear on clothes, bodies. I noticed that I wanted to say interesting things with the letterforms, so I began to pay more attention to funny phrasing and powerful words. Writing and keeping words that felt like they had potential... I used to do this more for use in comics but now I'm more inclined to isolate them for their own iconic qualities.

So to answer your question, in the same way that I can do drawings of insects or trees, I can also now do drawings of words and phrases.

I love following your instagram feed, it’s very honest and there’s a clear sense of community orbiting your practice.  From conversations we’ve had, I understand that you’re working on several projects.  Is collaboration integral to your output? 

Oh you're a lurker! hahaha

I forget how collaboration is super super important, some of my most favourite things I've worked on have come out of collaborative practice. I think there's a lot you can do alone, but a decent collaboration is an access point to all kind of impossible things you'd never previously encounter. It's a place you can shake off your ideas about yourself and what you've previously done, and when you come out of  the collaboration you can find that your ideas about your practice have levelled up. It's more difficult to level-up in complete isolation. I think that compromise is really really healthy, extending my sympathetic side to make room for another person is really healthy. And after a collaboration, when I've reflected on the failures of the collaboration, it gives some motivation to work harder on my own stuff.

I think that some of my most favourite objects I've seen have happened when unexpected elements have been combined. You see it a lot in cheapo or bootleg goods. The sense of confusion... I hope I remember to bring that to future collaborations!

Can you tell us about Tydrax 618…

I've been wanting to mess around with clothing and production ideas for soo long but couldn't figure out how to justify adding that to my list of things to do. There were bits and bobs I was working on that I would put out through Famicon Express, but it felt like too much of a divergence of what Famicon Express is and aims to become. Famicon Express is also a collaborative project, so I have a responsibility to make sure we do that in a balanced way. Famicon Express is a comic book publishing company, so I need to make a new company for my other experiments (an important part is that I can have a platform for producing multiples and objects for sale, in a way separate to my art-practice) So I think Tydrax618 is a webshop and platform for me to have freedom making whatever I like without any need for justification. And the stuff is for sale, it finds it's way out into the world and into people's daily lives.

One of the things that pushed Tydrax618 into being was that I had purged my wardrobe of most of my boy-clothes. I had this big pile of stuff that had become redundant but still had potential for a new life. So I have this stuff taking up space in my studio, the stuff that wasn't too dark, I dyed it yellow. And i think it's presence in my studio irritated me and inspired me to finally get going with this idea of creating myself a new platform. For me, dressing is an act of collage, and that's the approach I hope I bring to the Tydrax618 products, producing collage elements for other people to assemble things with.

In a moment of beautiful synchronicity (which seems to keep happening!) I was invited to take part in a print-making residency leading up to Antwerp art week, so I brought a suitcase full of clothes and fabrics as surfaces to print onto, and ended up making a whole bunch of weirdo stuff. Loads of things seem to have just organically slotted into place, and after a year of that, Tydrax618 is now a thing! 

I think it's important to only add things to the world that don't damage it, but bring something positive instead. I think clothes are really interesting surfaces for images. Overprinting old garments, there's something insanely satisfying about erasing the image that used to be there, and they way that parts of that image interact with the new graphic thats overlaid, a new thing appears that would have never otherwise existed. And that garment comes back to life for a bit longer. And those things are entirely unique, so maybe they'll be treasured for longer. There's already plenty of clothes being made in factories, so maybe I can do something that factories aren't able to do. And I love slow fashion.

I've got so many ideas I still want to try, I've got all kinds of bits lined up so when I can get back into my studio again it'll be really exciting to start making more stuff.


On Saturday 27th June we will be launching a retrospective of Tydrax618; the works of L. Sadler in store and online.  Comprising of many beautiful, unique one-off pieces of clothing, prints and items to covet and treasure.  It is all so special.  We have also worked on a couple of Blues + Tydrax618 pieces.