Ed J. Brown is an illustrator based in the Midlands, UK. His way of working has developed out of a love of screen printing and the process used. We like the layered technique he uses in his work, which goes especially well with the dry ink brush strokes he uses.
We’re glad that he’s managed to retain the screen printed quality even though his method has become predominantly digital. He tells us more about why this is and how he creates his illustrations.
In the past, I have been very inspired by the screen print process. I loved the directness of it, the use of limited colour. I think limitations can be a great thing for inspiration. However, getting access to a print bed post-university is pretty difficult so, like many people, I have had to try and translate this process into digital using Photoshop.
Everything I do still begins completely hand drawn, my favourite tool is a simple brush and black ink, which for me, is the best thing around to give lines character. If I’m feeling bold I love the immediacy of just getting the brush and going for it, and sometimes this can really pay off but other times a more considered approach is needed and I have to do a bit of sketching first.
Once an image is created, it is scanned into Photoshop and my best friends, ‘Magic Wand’, ‘Colour Range’ and ‘Polygon Lasso tool’ pick out the areas of white/black that I want to change into colour.
I still try and use only a limited colour palette of 2-5 colours and I have quite a few swatches of colour combinations already made that I often work from; I also have a small database of plain prints I have made and interesting papers I use to add texture.
I think texture is crazy important. It’s all become a bit like a jigsaw really and once the image is drawn and designed it’s a case of taking what formulas you know and finding out what works best.
© Ed J. Brown, 2012