While she does work from initial sketches and ideas, the way in which Angela works sounds very natural, making design decisions as they come up rather than setting herself on one specific path.
She tells us more about this as well as the particular tools and technical equipment she uses to finish up with such polished final illustrations.
I work with paper to balance form, tactility, and color in an image. My process relies heavily on being resourceful with scrap materials made of anything from paper, wood, cardboard, plexiglass, transparency film, or styrofoam.
The scale of the piece is determined once I find a few pieces that work with my sketch, then I can start cutting shapes with scissors or an x-acto blade to build my small paper sculptures. This is when experimentation plays an important role. Depending on the material, I’ll either use paint or pens to embellish the pieces with a geometric pattern or facial expression.
Everything starts being constructed on my messy desk, finding stability with a hot glue gun, wire, and masking tape, until it’s ready to be photographed on my clean desk.
I try to keep a variety of large colored paper that I tape against the wall as a backdrop. The perspective of my shot depends on the sketch, so there’s always a period of readjusting paper pieces, lights, and umbrella defusers to find the predetermined angle and focal point.
Once I’ve found the sweet spot, I’ll shoot with my Canon Rebel T3. Then for curiosity’s sake, I’ll shoot with the lights hitting a different angle.
I bring all of my photos onto my desktop to get a closer look, searching for the perfect shot that’s in focus with the most dynamic lighting. Then I’ll take the liberty to photoshop any excess glue or scratches out of the image.
Depending on the art direction, I might edit in some type treatments or extra background space to make room for copy. Finally, when the brightness and tone is where I want it, I can call it complete!
It may seem like a lot of time and energy for one illustration but it feels like play. There’s so much opportunity to get your mind off of things and forget about your surroundings.
I used to be an acrylic painter but after a bicycle accident I needed to find a way to make art that didn’t rely on just one hand and a brush. This process asks for experimentation with all of my body and all of my scraps.
© Angela Rio, 2016]]>
© Loris F. Alessandria, 2016]]>
© Tracy Walker, 2016]]>
Behind the distinctive linear drawings Elliot uses to create his delightfully eccentric characters, he maps out his layouts in strong blocks of colour.
His creative use of colour brings up some interesting palettes, and with his expressive drawings keeps his work continually fresh and surprising. He tells us more.
I am an illustrator working out of my home studio in London. I have a big garden and sometimes I do yoga in it.
There’s a stray cat that likes to hang around the garden that I show off to sometimes by snapping bits of a wooden fence over my knee.
I am usually drawing on paper or in my sketchbooks with ink, and scanning the drawings into Photoshop and then colouring digitally.
I just got a wacom tablet but it doesn’t really feel like its me drawing when I see it on the screen. I prefer traditional media and I like to use pens, gouache paints and colour pencils.
© Elliot Freeman, 2016]]>
With Lucy’s delicately rendered pencil portraiture and Tom’s playful take on eccentric characters he finds in the everyday, their contrasting aesthetics makes for an interesting mix of ideas.
It’s something that they intend to turn to their advantage with Sizewell Illustration Club, which will see them lending their dual talents to limited edition prints and apparel as well as other areas of design.
They talk to us about their individual work and some of the reasons behind working as a team.
We both really enjoy and obsess over good design, so setting up Sizewell Illustration Club was a great way to showcase our interests and our own illustrative designs.
We are both illustrators who have completely different styles and thought this would be an amazing opportunity to collaborate on projects and to sell our work. It is also a great way to brainstorm ideas and solutions to design briefs as two heads is better then one.
We hand screen print t-shirts to be sold from our S.I.C site and also create prints and zines. All the t-shirts are printed with hybrid fabric ink.
We found printing with this ink works best for t-shirt printing as it doesn’t dry into the screen as fast as water based inks and is easy to wash out of your screens when your finished unlike plastisol inks.
The bulk of my drawings are characters, normally based on odd little fellows I see in coffee shops and shady car parks. A lot of the time I sit (hide) and fill sketchbooks with faces I can then go back to and use in stories and other doodles.
A lot of the strange tales I design are just crazy blown out of proportion lies about a character I have made up in my head. But the odd story is based on a hint of truth from my hometown in Suffolk (like the village gossip newspaper).
Although some of the stories seem quite dark, I try to keep them light hearted and fun to look at and read. I mainly draw in black and white and the little colour I do use, I digitally add in Photoshop.
I think this is mainly down to all the other illustrators I like only using black and white or very few colours. I have about four pots crammed full of black pens and I only use seven of them. I got to weekly meetings about this problem.
I love to draw portraits, I’m not quite sure why but I enjoy drawing other peoples’ faces. I think I secretly enjoy the fear of sitting and staring at a blank piece of paper and thinking ‘how they hell am I going to make marks with a pencil and it will some how look like that guys face!’ Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but I like that.
My illustrations are always done in pencil to then, at times, be scanned in in layers to build my final version. My work tends to follow a sort of narrative (with a skull thrown in from time to time) which I usually embellish around or incorporate in with the main image.
I try to include nature as much as possible in my work as I love drawing it nearly as much as portraits. I can only guess this is likely influenced from my obsession with the Pre-Raphaelites, and their use of detail, pattern and symbolism.
I love how things can flow beautifully in within their art, so when it comes to mine I try to make my each section of my drawing harmonise with each other as well as I possibly can. Usually meaning that most of my time spent illustrating is chopping and changing the placements of leaves and branches… but that’s mainly down to my indecisiveness.
© Sizewell Illustration Club, 2016]]>
© Caspar Wain, 2016]]>
As well as working with illustration, Sara has worked for different advertising agencies as a designer and art director.
Her work is inspired by the world of illustration, desaturated colours, and Japanese patterns.
© Nicole Ciprandi, 2016]]>
Above: from the mentioned ‘Hijab’ series
While the backdrops to her constructed characters are now littered with intriguing narrative elements, the initial inspiration for the character designs often come from the new communities she has found herself living alongside.
In our conversation with Kathrin, she talks about the change in the use of her materials, her interest in other areas of design, and how personal and social shifts have helped to drive her artwork forward.
Above: from the mentioned ‘Insomnia’ series
For those new to your work, please tell us about yourself and the stages you go through to create your images.
I am an illustrator based in Berlin, I mostly do digital collages and mixed-media art. I work for magazines and fashion brands, lately I have done some art direction for Look- books, where I put the photographs of the models into the setting of my collage world.
It is a very versatile way to tell a story and create a certain look. I use pieces of magazines, old books, cartoons… and also more and more photos I take myself.
Above: from the mentioned ‘Hijab’ series
How has your creative process and use of materials evolved since we last spoke if at all?
I still scan a lot, but I don’t keep so many books and magazines anymore. I like having my material digitally on a hard drive.
As my archive is growing, I have become less dependent on external images and recently I have started to make more and more pieces myself, either I draw them by hand, photograph them, or build them in Illustrator/Photoshop.
Above: from the mentioned ‘S.O.L.’ series
It seems that you’ve expanded your focus from figures and their clothing to include a broader range of detail in the scenes in general. Can you tell us about the thoughts that lead to steering your work in that direction?
I am intrigued with creating a world for my characters. The great fashion illustrator Li- selotte Watkins once said that she invents a background story for her ‘girls’ in order to make them appear like they have a real life.
That’s why my second passion is interior and architecture. I am trying to put my figures into worlds that fit them. Fashion always goes together with its surrounding, the stage. The effect of fashion can be enhanced or diminished by the setting.
The starting point of an image is often an atmosphere I want to create. For example, in the ‘S.O.L.’ series, I wanted to have this heavy, sun-soaked August light, combined with a look that you can sometimes find on the orange-tinted snapshots that your parent’s made of each other in the seventies, long before you were born.
Or, the series ‘Insom- nia’; the starting point for that came from my sudden obsession in neon signs at night, this deeply urban feeling of the humming city that surrounds you, and protects you, and never sleeps, which I find very comforting, when I can’t find sleep myself.
Above: from the mentioned ‘Hijab’ series
Is there anything that has particularly inspired the developments in your work?
Last autumn I moved from a very touristy, hipster part of town to a more rough area, and it inspires me a lot. Here, the people dress differently, they obey other rules, they don’t try to look like fashion bloggers.
You see more people seeming effortlessly off-center, and I like that.
Also, here you see headscarves on the women, they are also worn by the young muslim women who were born and raised here, and I have a feeling that some of them want to send a message for a more liberal way of dealing with this religion, for a more modern interpretation of it.
I see that as a positive message, especially in the light of the current discussion about refugees that we have in Europe. It is definitely possible to have several religions and lifestyles coexist peacefully. I see it every day. That’s why I made a series of fashion illustrations with headscarfs, called ‘Hijab’.
Is there anything else you are working on besides your photo-based work?
As an exercise for myself, I have started an Instagram project for which I am drawing. It’s called ‘Girls and Apes’. And, well, it is about girls and apes.
I have become obsessed with this weird topic for some reason, I started quiet innocently when I produced a drawing for a drawing contest.
The topic was free. For some mysterious reason, the girl and the gorilla appeared in my head and wanted to come to life. The drawing was rejected, probably because it was too cheeky. But I still find it pretty fantastic and I want to show more girls with their monkeys, give a voice to them, show that they are not alone and that it’s okay to love your monkey.
© Kathrin Kuhn, 2016]]>
© Eunjeong Yoo, 2016]]>
© Iratxe López de Munáin, 2016