While both having a passion for illustration and design, Tom Burnham and Lucy Roberts’ styles couldn’t be visually less similar. But knowing that they could both benefit from each other’s different approaches to their work, they set up Sizewell Illustration Club.
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