Article by Oli Rogers
Before we begin, a quick disclaimer: you’ve already missed all of these gigs. Sorry about that.
But never mind, you were probably busy anyways, right? However, had you been there in the crowd, it would in all likelihood have been because your eyes eager eyes once alit upon a flyer whose unique style could be described as “mid-Century comic book meets etching inside a disarranged psychonaut’s brain”: a flyer that was the work of illustrator Ben Foot. And today, Illustration Friday is here to save you all the bother of rescuing one of his aesthetically outstanding yet probably somewhat trampled pieces of art from of a post-mosh puddle of beer, because you can admire them all from behind a nice, clean screen of your choice.
Music and illustration are two disciplines that have a rich shared history; they’ve probably been complementing one another in some form or another since the first time someone opened their mouth to sing, thereby unleashing an avalanche of images on the inside of someone else’s skull. Indeed, there’s definitely something synesthetic about Ben’s work, with its behind-the-eyelids glow of candied violets and emeralds – and although there may not be any lyrical reference to moons with whimsical cat faces in the songs they complement, these images certainly hail from the same dimension of inspiration that informs the work of the musically innovative. In fact, this is artwork that at times strays into the sublime realms of true psychedelia, where image breaks down and the pure geometry of the universe, unfettered by mere human perception breaks through, spewing bubbles of energy and shards of celestial light through the rift and into the viewer’s consciousness. Yeah, you heard. At other times though, it’s as wistful and human as the work of Daniel Clowes.
Besides creating musical ephemera par excellence, Ben’s work has also adorned t-shirts from purveyor of illustrated fashions, threadless.com, and appeared in self-penned comics effervescing with his trademark surrealism and wry humour, such as the outstandingly-named Sparkly Sparkly Chew.
If you’d like to see more of Ben’s artwork (and why wouldn’t you?), head over to his website.
Post by James
Meet Renata Owen, an illustrator and designer from Surabaya, Indonesia.
Renata uses copious amounts of rich, ornamental detail in her work, which along with an soft, exquisite color palette, results in images that feel dreamy, complex and inviting.
You can see more of Renata’s work on her website.
Flora Waycott graduated from Winchester School of Art with a BA Hons in Textile Design, her whimsical designs are inspired by her childhood in Japan where she was surrounded by lots of colours and patterns. She currently works freelance in New Zealand creating illustrations and surface patterns for stationary and the children’s apparel market. I really like all the textures that you can see in Flora Waycott’s work as I think this makes them really visually exciting. I also love how she uses nature in her work as it looks very beautiful.
Posted by Jessica Holden.
Contemporary artist, Louise McNaught uses nature and animals as her primary source for inspiration and says her degree in Fine Art at the University of Greenwich (2012) helped her achieve what she does today. It is so reassuring to hear this as an undergraduate student and budding artist myself!
The use of vibrant colour created by using neon and metallic paints gives a sense of uniqueness and life to her paintings, although even McNaught’s delicate use of pencil brings this sense of depth also. There is something mesmerising about her work and how she portrays nature as a powerful force, emphasing their beauty. I also love the way the artist uses a variety of materials to paint on which gives her pieces a certain edge.
Thanks for reading,
Pretty soon many very talented young creative people will be setting out to start university or art college. I remember back to my very first day of university studying my creative degree, I didn’t particularly know how to best prepare for my degree or what to expect and hence this meant I was a tiny bit behind when I started.
If you’re in the midst of packing for university, ready and raring to start your course but want to prepare before taking the leap here I’ve put together 5 tips to do before you begin to help give you a flying start!
Art box materials
Art college/university is a great opportunity to really broaden your creative understanding, explore different styles and experiment with materials to really find your own creative niche. So gather together a variety of art materials from oil pastels to watercolour, acrylic paint, ink and collage. Having these materials to hand in an art box or tool box will make it easy for you to carry to and from college with ease.
The ever faithful sketchbook is going to be your best friendfor each art project your given. There are lots of different sketchbook types that may suit various creatives tastes, when considering size though having larger size sketchbook such as a4 and a3 will give you plenty of room to draw without limiting your ideas.
Thirdly is your portfolio which is where you’ll store all progressive artwork for each project from start to finish. In art college we were required to use A1 size portfolios with a centre binder and plastic display pockets, however depending on your college or university this may vary. Be sure to ask your college or university what type of portfolio you might need before you start so that you can be sure to get what’s needed in advance.
Computer equipment & software
Computer’s , scanners and other such creative gadgets are sure to be important tool to help you edit , develop and progress with your work ( many of which maybe available to use within the college / university). However it’s handy during those dissertation projects or final deadlines to have these things to hand at home as well to prevent unnecessary stress. So using some funding available to you look into investing in both a printer, scanner and laptop to enable you to effectively complete your work as and when with ease.
Art software such as adobe creative suites are also crucial tools for many creatives from photographers to graphic designers though they can be an expensive investment to make. However if you’d like to try these software’s in particular there are various trial downloads and student editions of adobe that you can get online or subscribe to creative cloud to give you access to the various software you may need.
Be open minded & try new things
Now remember you are on a creative journey through your art education and now is the time to be open minded and try new things because it all plays a crucial part in your self discovery. When I started art college I was very much into the animation, at 17 it was what I was aiming to do so I drew very graphically in my work using strictly ink and markers. Although because I did this I missed out on being able to experience a wider range of art techniques like print making which in turn made my work very limiting.
So be open minded, though you may well have an aspiration to be a specific type of artist also understand that this may well change as you venture through your course. My best advice is listen to your tutors and experiment in the creative studio as much as you can and absorb all the learning.
Image by designer Susan Estelle Kwas you can find out more about their work here.
Self-described “designy illustrator” Mikey Burton is a Philadelphia-based creative with a serious bear preoccupation. His professional work centers around editorial illustration, infographics, and identity design. He’s also been bestowed with awards from ADC Young Guns, Communication Arts, & Graphis, some of the most prestigious organizations in the industry, and has worked with clients like The Atlantic, Converse, Facebook, Fast Company, and Wilco. Mikey values simplicity in principles of color and design, using minimalism and traditionally-inspired typography to an effective advantage. The understated elegance of his work is what secured his spot in the Art Crush Friday Hall of Fame.
Mikey’s aesthetic is identified in the intersection between sharp, geometric vector designs and substantial, meaningful textures. I use the word meaningful not to be an art school asshole, but to say that the textures have strong purpose and intent in his work.
As I’ve learned more and more about graphic design, I’ve started to see the fork in the road that exists between flat and realistic design (this gorgeous Webby-winning site explains this very conundrum in further detail). As I mentioned earlier, Mikey’s process allows real textures to shine through flat shapes, seemingly creating atmospheres within the simplest of flattened shapes. Interestingly enough, he’s referenced his really old HP LaserJet printer as being the very tool that creates these fascinating textures. [More about his process here.]
Mikey swears by two things in particular before starting his design process: coffee and preliminary sketching. He’s a refreshingly real person who needs to participate in real humany things before dragging along on the computer for hours on end. He will routinely post final work to his Dribbble account, modestly seeking feedback from the peers he so deeply respects. I admire his humility, honesty and continual hustle for meaningful work, even amidst his great successes thus far. For budding designers, here’s some of Mikey’s advice: create work that you want to be hired to do, and don’t be a lame person to deal with.
Follow along with Mikey and his adventures to come:
We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Daniel Guidera, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘JOURNEY’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.
And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:
Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).
Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.
Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).
Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!
Matt Chamberlain is a University student studying contemporary art and illustration in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. Since I am on the same course as Matt at University, I must say how amazing it has been to see his work progress over the years! His skills in mark making and detail are truly unique, using fine liners as his primary choice of media. Main influences include Dan Mumford and Paul Jackson which is clear to see from the detail in his work. See more of Chamberlain’s work here and on Etsy.
Thanks for reading,
It was great news when it was announced that Stray Bullets would be returning to comic stands again, with the new series Stray Bullets: Killers. I’ve been a fan of David Lapham’s work since 1995, when a local comics shop owner handed me a copy of Stray Bullets #1, and said, “I know you like different stuff. You should try this.” Well, Stray Bullets was different than your average super-hero/cartoon comic book, that’s for sure. It read like a mixture of Pulp Fiction, and Mean Streets. The series was self-published, and self-marketed for 10 years, with 40 issues produced, which is quite an impressive feat in the volatile comics market. Lapham took a break from Stray Bullets in 2005, and did writing/drawing work for many of the major publishers, including Young Liars for DC/Vertigo, Daredevil vs. Punisher for Marvel, and Crossed for Avatar Press.
It makes perfect sense that he would take the long awaited final issue of Stray Bullets, #41, and the spin off series Killers to Image Comics, since the publisher has now become a safe haven for the type of original, creator owned comics that David Lapham was an early pioneer of.
In addition to Stray Bullets: Killers, Lapham recently completed his first all-ages series, Juice Squeezers, and he’s currently writing the comics adaptation of the hit FX TV series(and series of books) The Strain, both published by Dark Horse Comics.
You can follow David Lapham on Twitter here.
For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates
Post by Natalie
Bett Norris is an illustrator living in the lively city of Bristol, UK. She earned a degree in illustration from the University of the West of England and since then has worked on a variety of projects including editorial work, social media campaigns, exhibitions and most recently an animation for The School of Life. She finds inspiration in packaging, travel posters and classic design. Experimenting with shape, color and line she fuses traditional drawing techniques with digital technology to produce bespoke illustration, pattern design, portraiture and typography.
See more of Bett’s work here.