In his illustrations, Alex J. Walker demonstrates his keen eye for geometric layouts, a trait he explains is due to him having studied graphic design as opposed to illustration. It has a nice cleanliness to it that is perfect for clearly putting across the ideas in the image. To add contrast and balance to his work, the harder, angular forms are countered by soft, spray-like textures. He talks to us about his background and the way he works.
I am 22 years old. I studied graphic design at Nottingham Trent university and have been working as a freelance illustrator (based in Nottingham) since graduating in July last year.
I like creating work which is concept led and has quite a graphic and abstracted aesthetic. I think this stems from studying graphic design rather than illustration.
My starting point is usually to scribble down ideas about the subject. If it’s an editorial piece say, I try and get to the core of what the article is about, often there will be 2 or more themes which I like to blend together into a visual pun.
Take the image which looks like a fire extinguisher crossed with a musical instrument for example. This was for a technology article about a fire extinguisher which uses sound waves to put a fire out. Of course, the real thing looks nothing like what I’ve drawn, I’ve just imagined it in a jokey way.
I work on the computer because I tend to build my images from geometric shapes, often using a grid when drawing objects and characters. It also gives me the chance to be quite free and playful with compositions, since elements can be shifted around and copied and pasted. When I’m happy everything’s in place I add the shading in Photoshop and refine the colour palette.
© Alex J. Walker, 2013