Yonatan Popper takes the use of colour as a compositional tool to exceptional heights. By thoughtfully varying the colours of both background layers and the accompanying overlying drawn elements, Yonatan achieves an effect that is both stylistically distinctive and purposeful.
Unsurprisingly, Yonatan finds inspiration in print and poster design and has found a way to bring in similar aesthetics even when working digitally.
From the subtle nuances in the textures to the choice of palettes to contrast and compliment, there’s an incredible fine tuning of the details that happens for Yonatan to produce his intended result.
He tells us more about the stages he goes through to create his unique work and also about more of the media that helped shape his artistic taste in the early years.
“My name is Yonatan Popper and I’m an Israeli illustrator. I work from my home studio in my tiny apartment in a Kibbutz near Tel Aviv. I grew up in the 80s to the end of the 90s and these years were a major influence on my work: the comics I used to read as a child, movies and TV shows I loved and pop culture back in those days.”
“Today, I find inspiration in people I meet and places I visit, as well as the internet where I can get inspired by seeing good works of artists I love. I also find inspiration in the past, in old poster designs mostly from Art Deco and Futurism era as well as in Japanese old prints.”
“In my work, I always try to make something new, but it’s important to me to put a hint of nostalgia.”
“My process starts with juggling ideas in my head once I find an idea I like, I start sketching in my sketch book on small scale, trying to find the right composition. Then I proceed to a more detailed pencil sketch that would be the foundation of the illustration.”
“I scan the sketch and continue the illustration on the computer with my Wacom Intuos, mainly in Photoshop.”
“I always try to give as much time as possible to decide on the color palette of the illustration. Sometimes, a color palette from an old illustration or a photo can be the inspiration and becomes a visual reference.”
“Usually, I try to use a limited amount of colors but still try to give the work a colorful feeling, complementary colors are a great tool and I use them to get contrast and to focus the viewer’s eye to the part I want them to notice.”
All images © Yonatan Popper