Nick Liefhebber’s designs consistently provide a substantial dose of pattern and colour served in intense arrangements of otherworldly forms and dense growths of imagined structures.
Nick’s combination of experienced printmaking techniques, filled edge-to-edge compositions and penchant for maximalism makes for intriguing and original but also wholly joyous images.
He talks us through the techniques and materials he uses, while also touching on the difference in approach when work digitally or by hand, and the benefits he finds in switching between the two.
I can describe my illustration work best as making collages. When creating new work, I start with sketching the basic composition in black ink using Pentel brush pens because my work consists mostly out of solid shapes and patterns.
When the subject and outlines are clear, I use different techniques to create the image. Mostly black paper, scissors and my scanner to create the main elements and ink and my Wacom to create additional elements and patterns. All come together in Illustrator where I create a layered image out of all the elements.
The image evolves over time, usually into something completely different than I had in mind. I think that organic way of working is important for my work, adding, removing, changing.
In my personal work, print is also a very important step, mostly risograph and screenprinting. I like the analog-digital-analog step because it adds an element of surprise.
The mixing of overlaying colors is just different than on a screen and sometimes when I’m mixing colours I just feel like using another color than in my design because it just looks good.
When I make illustrations for clients of course the process is more controlled and I loose the printing process. This way the work looks cleaner because there are no imperfections (I don’t like adding fake print imperfections).
© Nick Liefhebber, 2016