Arrested Development by Alexander Jackson

Alexander Jackson’s project is a series of portraits based on the popular television show, Arrested Development. The piece shows the each of the 9 main characters of the show, otherwise known as the Bluth family. From left to right and top to bottom; George, Lucille, Gob, George-Michael, Michael, Maeby, Lindsay, Tobias and Buster.

I’ve been focusing on portraiture within the theme of pop-culture in my own portfolio, creating images of iconic figures of film and television. Arrested Development is one of my favourite TV shows. One of my favourite things about it is that I just love every one of the characters from the Bluth family. Within that family is a wonderfully diverse range of personalities and they are all equally very well written so I was very much drawn to the idea of capturing the essence of each character in a series of portraits.
– Alexander Jackson


I like the idea of portraits that look vaguely awkward in the way the a persons mug shot on a criminal record or perhaps a family/group photo that features that one reluctant participant would carry an element of awkwardness. I like to draw people standing still looking straight on with some amount of negative space around them to help that feeling carry through. Being so interested in that sense of awkwardness combined with the light hearted, fun and colorful tone of Arrested Development allows those elements of my own work to come out further. In my portraits I usually try to limit myself to a small handful of colors. The shows posters are usually dominated by orange and yellow so those colors seemed like a logical decision. To contrast against them I relied on soft, muted tones in blue.

– Alexander Jackson


The portraits were hand drawn in ink using a combination of dip pens, fine liners, brushes and calligraphy pens. The colors and textures were added afterwards on Photoshop. My textures are mostly coarse grained paper, card and board, a few of which I stained using old teabags and inks. I scan or photograph these textures and use them to give the colors a papery, washed ink feel. I typically like my work to still look somewhat handmade even after going through the digital process.

– Alexander Jackson



It seems to have gained a lot attention from people who might not have usually discovered my work, but have done so just from being fans of Arrested Development. That is one of the many reasons why I’ve continued to pursue these pop-culture themed pieces. They seem to allow me to reach people just through their recognition of the subject. Recognition is arguably an important feature in all art, I’ve just gone about it in a less subtle way! The people that have discovered my work this way however have then been introduced, through browsing my portfolio, to other pieces of film and television have been given my treatment.
– Alexander Jackson



I do quite enjoy how creating this kind of artwork allows to me reach and interact with others though. What was particularly exciting about the reception on this piece was that someone sent it to Tony Hale (the actor that plays Buster – bottom right of the picture) and he reached out to me to say how much he loved the artwork! This has also happened with Jack Huston, Edgar Wright and Jonathan Ross after they saw pieces that I produced based on their work. Usually people aren’t so flattered by the way that I draw them so It’s mostly just a relief that they approved!

– Alexander Jackson

About Alexander Jackson

Originally trained in fine art and traditional painting techniques, Alexander Jackson went on to study Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, where he developed a more graphical style. Influenced by pop-culture, film, music, animation and a very broad range of visual art, his work often deals with responding to mainstream media, while at the same time showing a keen interest in character. He has produced editorial illustration as well as work for comics, children’s books, illustrations for short stories, book covers, portraits and murals. His children’s book, Jenny’s Bath, was acknowledged by 3×3. Apart from illustration he spends his time being involved in musical projects including fronting an Edinburgh based experimental rock band, Heavy Weather or Invaders from Space. He also writes and is still painting. Clients include BBH, Gerald Duckworth, Cracked Eye magazine, The List magazine, The Skinny, NHS Scotland, Puma