Sheffield, UK based illustrator Jonny Wan describes his work as ‘combining shape experimentation, facial expressions and symmetry in producing unique and organic visuals‘.
In my view reminiscent of Eastern European design, but also even American Indian artwork, these skillfully crafted images have a strong appeal in their balance and the striking shapes within them.
This post features a fairly in depth interview with Jonny, discussing how he got into illustration, his work process and current projects.
What got you into illustration?
I have never had a doubt that I would end up in the creative industry but just never knew just what area I would end up in. Throughout my foundation course and even on my degree course I was never limited to a single discipline. Ive experimented with graphic design typography and learnt practical skills such as screen printing and book binding.
After all the experimenting I settled on illustration because it was simply what came most naturally to me. They way of working, mark making and conveying an idea through visual imagery appealed to me the most and its since developed from there.
The great thing is illustration is not governed by any solid rules and is more about how imaginative and expressive your work can come across whilst conveying an idea.
What’s the work process behind your precise and symmetrical designs?
I have always been a kind of control freak and I’m that kind of person that needs to know whats happening when and where. The symmetrical aspect of my work is simply an extension of my personality. Every shape has its place and the design has to have balance throughout, the same also applies to colour.
In terms of the working process it really depends on what the illustration is for and what context its placed in. If its for personal experimentation I will jump straight onto illustrator and start creating shapes and looking at photographs whether it be of people places or objects and I will try to re-create what is see using a combination of shape experimentation until its perfect.
If its for a client they generally know what to expect given the style of my work so its just the same working process with the second opinion of an Art Director.
ⓒ Jonny Wan, 2010
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I have just finished a few editorial illustrations and finished up writing a tutorial which will hopefully come into print soon.
Aside from that I am still experimenting and working on full body character designs, I want to be able to apply my style to as many contexts as possible which means moving out of my comfort zone and challenging myself so I can apply my style to a variety of commissions. I’m also fine tuning my portfolio and getting ready to contact agencies for some representation.
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