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Scribble Artist Interview with Kelly Blake!

Big Eyed Cat by Kelly Blake

Big Eyed Cat by Kelly Blake

Scribble Town (ST): We are so very happy to have the talented Kelly Blake with us! When I came across her artwork I could see how sensitive this person is to the world around us. From that, I just had to know more about her. What are you up to Kelly?

Kelly Blake (KB): Hi Scribble Town! I’m Kelly Blake and I live in the creative city of Bristol, United Kingdom. I’ve spent a long time studying throughout my life but I now feel I’m at the point where I have learned everything I felt necessary and I now feel confident enough to pursue the dream of producing my own art. I actually moved to London several years ago to complete a Masters in Production Design (movie art direction for anyone who is unsure) but after finishing and eventually moving back home I realised my true passion lies with illustration and creating my own individual artwork. So that’s what I’ve begun.

Normally when I produce some artwork there’s a reason why I’m producing it. The main factor behind all of my work is that I absolutely adore animals; it’s the common thread behind all art I create and I have a large array of artwork under my belt which (I hope) shows just how much I love all things fuzzy. At the moment I am focusing on publishing my very first adult colouring book called ‘Into the Wild’ and I’m working to raise the funds necessary to complete the project by producing my own Kickstarter campaign. If anyone is unsure of what Kickstarter is, it’s basically a crowd funding website where you launch a campaign and ask for the public to fund you. Imagine Dragon’s Den but will a billion different dragons! It’s going rather well at the moment so I’m doing everything possible to ensure I raise all the funds and so I’m able to complete the project successfully.

Please take a look at my Kickstarter campaign here so you can get a feel of the project.

ST: The concept is wonderful!  Is Into the Wild: A Coloring Book About Nature just for adults?  I think many people of all ages would enjoy seeing the pictures come to life.

KB: Thank you! I’ve initially created Into the Wild as a colouring book ideally for adults, but of course all ages are welcome to join in. The reason it’s for adults specifically is because the images are a little more detailed than perhaps some of the colouring books on the market today –even more detailed than most of the adult ones too! Each illustration is comprised of lots of different angular shapes/blocks and it’s only as you begin to colour each section that it reveals a hidden design within the image. Think of it as a slightly abstract and more challenging version of paint by numbers, but with the freedom to choose your own colour coding. It’s rather quite complicated when you get down to it so perhaps it might become a little too confusing for the younger audience; but of course they’re completely welcome to have a go!

Surreal 'Goddess' Illustration by Kelly Blake

Surreal ‘Goddess’ Illustration by Kelly Blake

I originally came up with the idea because I know a lot of people who are very artistic but are not able to draw even the simple stick figures. I have received a lot of compliments for my artwork in the past (especially my abstract pieces) and it led me to think about creating something that enables other enthusiasts to produce something that they’re also proud of without feeling like they’re lacking the talent to do so. It’s also been a proven fact that adult colouring books are being used as a way to de-stress and calm your mind so why not hit two birds with one stone!

ST: That is so thoughtful of you to create something that includes all ages! When and how did you start illustrating and drawing?  Is there a piece of art that always inspires you to create?

KB: When I think back to when I actually began drawing I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t being creative. I’ll always remember at my earliest of ages in Primary School one of my paintings was framed and featured on the wall inside reception as an example of a ‘good piece of art’. Of course, when I look back at it now all I can see are the dodgy eyes and weird shape of Henry VIII’s head, but I feel like I wouldn’t have come so far without all the support and positivity of the people around me. It’s the constant reassurance of ‘that’s great’ or ‘wow!’ that really drives me to produce more and more art and to get better and better. Granted, there’s always a few pieces that make people think ‘hmm, how odd’ but as long as I create something that I feel I’m proud of, then that’s what pushes me to continue with my work. Who cares if 90% of the population dislike it, what’s important is that the other 10% can appreciate it.

Eagle Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Eagle Woodcut by Kelly Blake

There will always come a time when I think to myself ‘I want to do an illustration!’ and the ideas just start flowing, but for those times when I can’t get myself into the mood or I can’t feel any inspiration coming then I start to check out illustrations online to get some creativity flowing. Even things such as typing phrases or keywords into google can help immensely. It’s amazing how much variety of different artwork there is out there and it’s surprising how much inspiration you can get from looking at other people’s work. Pieces that I personally love to flick through include modern and quirky works by artists such as Michael Godard and Fabio Napoleoni, but someone who I look up to as a huge inspiration for my work itself is the work by Canadian artist Nicholas Di Genova. I love the way he mixes processes such as freehand illustration and digitally enhanced methods to create something rather surreal and unique; but very, very special. It’s him who’s helped me develop a signature style myself and I do feel that a lot of my work has a thread of ‘Nicholas’ running through it.

Big Eyed Lemur by Kelly Blake

Big Eyed Lemur by Kelly Blake

ST: What is the artistic process of your paintings?  For example, how did your Kinderschema series come about? Do you usually sketch first your idea?

KB: My Kinderschema Collection was originally inspired from an article which I read about cats. It basically went on to say that the reason we find cats big eyes and overly big features so adorable is because of what is genetically programmed into our heads at birth. This led me to research into the science of why the human brain naturally reacts to these traits and I came across a German term called Kinderschema. Kinderschema defines the 5 basic traits that lead us to believe an animal is adorable and these can include; a large head, a large forehead, large eyes, rounded cheeks, and soft body surfaces.  I then decided I wanted to explore some of these factors in my own work and I created an art collection of digital paintings showing us just how much we love all things cute.

When I have a rough idea in my mind of the art I want to produce, I normally go about creating a really quick drawing trying to communicate what’s inside my head. Sometimes this will turn out to be a really crude or basic sketch but I can normally see if the idea is going to work on paper. I’ll also look online and check out other artist’s work to see if this takes me into a different or more creative direction to ensure my idea will definitely look good on the page. I have found that with the majority of my illustrative art, I tend to keep working on a piece until I am 100% happy with it. My motto normally states, “the more ink on the page, the better” but there’s still a fine line between finishing and overworking a piece of art.

Lion Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Lion Woodcut by Kelly Blake

ST: What mediums and techniques do you work with?  Is there a method that speaks to you more than the others?  Why do you think that is?

KB: It’s funny because throughout all my growing years I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly which field of the creative world I wanted to merge into. This means I’ve studied everything ranging from photography to sculpture, and illustration to video editing and I’ve spent a very, very long time working hard to develop some extremely valuable skills. Due to engaging fully in many of these different fields I now feel that I can make a strong decision as to which route to progress into further. This has meant that my artwork created in the past includes a huge range of different styles but I believe this does make me stronger as an artist. It means I’m capable of merging materials and thinking outside the box. If in the future I decide to create a half illustration-half sculpture, then I know that I require the necessary skills to do so. This means that despite my love for illustrative art, I’m not tied down to producing everything in 2D.

For example, I have recently finished a collection of woodcut prints which involve intricately cutting away small sections from a wooden block. This block is then rolled with ink and printed onto a paper surface. This gives a beautifully rustic alternative to simply using paint brushed onto paper.  This method contrasts nicely to the hand drawn illustrations from some of my previous collections, or to the bold look of the lighting installations that I have formerly produced from recycled materials.

At the moment I am concentrating purely on producing this range of surrealist animal illustrations to publish into my first adult colouring book; but I love that if I choose to, I am able to stop and produce something completely different at any given time. How I feel is that if you don’t have to tie yourself down, then why do it.

ST: When you are not creating, what do you like to do?

Big Eyed Owl by Kelly Blake

Big Eyed Owl by Kelly Blake

KB: Well, it’s actually funny that you ask this because I was thinking about this myself the other day. I’m currently working from my own studio at home and so I find myself working on projects throughout the majority of each day; quite often from morning through to late into the evening. I’m very dedicated to my artwork and it’s lucky that I really love what I do otherwise I don’t think I could stay so dedicated to working this hard. All I strive for is being able to maintain a well-balanced and happy life whilst spending a career doing what I love. When I actually do decide to take time off I quite like to get away from home and stay somewhere peaceful as it gives me an excuse to stop working and to clear my head. I normally spend a few days down at the sea or in the countryside with good company, and I find the calm atmosphere refreshes myself and sets me back up for busy days when I return back home. Also, archery, who doesn’t love a bit of archery? I fancy myself the Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games when nobody is looking!

ST: From a person who seems to appreciate their surroundings, I wonder who encouraged you to be artistic when you were a child?  Do you think being raised in the creative town of Bristol had an effect on you?

Cat Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Cat Woodcut by Kelly Blake

KB: To be honest, whilst growing up I’ve always considered myself a bit of a nerd. While there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd, it meant I perhaps didn’t get out as much as I should. Instead, I spent a lot of time studying and working hard throughout school and I always made sure I put everything into getting my grades as high as possible. Whilst this is obviously extremely important, it does mean I probably didn’t get as much creative influence from the city as I should have. Bristol is known as a hugely influential artistic city and I live amongst some huge pioneers of the art world. This means I was very self-dependant whilst studying and I would love to say that a certain someone was the reason for me producing art today but I don’t believe anyone really was. Sure, I had people who supported me and pushed me along but I feel confident in saying that I was the one in the driving seat of my own artistic career and hopefully this will continue for a long, long time.

ST: Any tips, advice, or ways of encouraging our scribblers? 

KB: My greatest piece of advice would be to create art that YOU love and do it for yourself and for nobody else. There’s been quite a few times in my life that I’ve produced something that the masses don’t like but the minority do. I could have succumbed to produce what most people out there would deem as ‘good art’ but then what’s the point in creating it if it’s not for yourself; then you become one of those people who have their passion turned into a chore and may become quite resentful. If I were given a penny each time someone called my work too-weird, odd, or simply had a lack of faith that it would be well received then I’d have a pretty full bank account by now. Don’t ever let someone tell you that something isn’t good enough because simply put, art is perspective and if you feel that something is to be proud of, then wave that proudness-flag up high and display your work for others to see! I guarantee you there are people out there who will absolutely adore it. Don’t give up and show those people just how creatively talented you are. 

If you wanted to check out some of my work that’s available on the market at the moment, please take a look at my website here at: dustlesssoul.wix.com/dustlesssoul

You can also purchase any artwork from my Etsy shop at: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DustlessSoulCreation

ST: Thank you, Kelly, for sharing so much valuable creative information with us! I’m sure your Kickstarter campaign will go great and your artwork will continue to inspire us!

Wolf Woodcut by Kelly Blake

Wolf Woodcut by Kelly Blake

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All about Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci is a very well known Renaissance artist.  Throughout his life as an artist, Da Vinci was constantly inventing and coming up with one extravagant painting after another. Many are still talked about and adored to this day. One in particular, that is commonly seen hanging in the homes of Catholics or Christians is The Last Supper, created in 1498. Here he re-created the scene in which Christ and the apostles are gathered together for the Lord’s Supper, which is an Easter/Lenten tradition, celebrated on Holy Thursdays. The painting is set up in an extraordinary way that truly makes the meaning and significance of the scene come to life.

Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1498

Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1498

The figures are seated at the table in a rectangular room. There are tapestries on either side of the table that hang on the walls. In the background, behind Christ and the apostles the audience is shown a beautiful landscape which consists of mountains and skies that are represented in tones of blue and gray. Da Vinci is using a very commonly used technique from the Renaissance in this area called aerial perspective. This is when an illusion of depth is created that depicts the landscape. You can also tell because the colors become gloomier here. Da Vinci also puts major thought into setting up the painting’s composition. As Christ is the most significant character in this painting, he centers him and places his apostles along side him. He also does this by using one-point linear perspective to create even more emphasis on Christ. This allows the audience to be drawn right into the painting, center stage. The apostles are then set up to be touching. Although their hands are not interlocked, they are loosely linked to portray their prominent roles in the scene that is taking place.

The Last Supper highlights two very significant early Renaissance traditions that were used by painters of this time, composition and perspective. Da Vinci does an excellent job in doing this and also adds much emotion and logic to the story behind it. His choice of different shadow colors also illustrates and sets the mood of the scene, which delivers great sensation to the piece.

Create your own Last Supper!  Print the coloring sheet below and see how you can create depth with color as well.
lastsupper

Published by Andi Thea, on April 27th, 2015 at 9:38 am. Filled under: Arts & Crafts,Drawing,Featured,Illustration Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Scribble Artist Interview with Pieter Van Eenoge!

Scribble Town (ST): Oh the colors! Oh the design! How beautiful, charming, and exquisite they can be! I’m of course talking about Pieter Van Eenoge’s work!  We are lucky to catch up with him as he is busy illustrating and creating visual images for our eyes to play with.  Pieter, how do you spend your days and can you give us a sneak peak on what you are up to these days?

'Joris Jan Baas' - poetry poster

‘Joris Jan Baas’ – poetry poster

Pieter Van Eenoge (PVE): Hi, I’m Pieter, an illustrator living in Bruges, Belgium. I spend my days painting for magazines, newspapers, ad agencies, corporations and publishing houses, renovating our 80 year old house and playing with my wife, two sons and two cats.

Right now I’m working on the cover of the spring issue of Dutch Weekly Vrij Nederland and a new picture book that hopefully will be ready by the end of the year.

ST: Your illustrations are wonderful!  In your portfolio I see a combination of personal, illustration, and editorial work.  With your personal work, where do you come up with your images for your illustrations?

PVE: I keep a little notebook where I write down ideas and possible titles and draw some quick sketches. Or I use a rejected idea for a commission that I thought was better than the final illustration. Most of the things that inspire come from everyday life, images I see around me, graphic design, art and artist behavior, masks and costumes and opposites like good/evil, darkness/light, beauty/ugliness,…

Antverpia, acrylic on paper, 2013

Antverpia, acrylic on paper,
2013

ST: Any themes you are fascinated with?  For example, what is your Antverpia painting about?  Maybe it has something to do with Antwerp?

PVE: For the Antverpia painting I had the idea of making graphic combinations with the ghost Sus Antigoon, a famous Flemish comic character, and a woman in burqa. They both share the same visual characteristics and I thought they would team up perfectly. But there is also a second layer where I criticize the growth of right wing politics in the city of Antwerp where there is a large muslim population. Trying to live together is the only solution and the efforts should come from both sides. Antverpia is also the name of Sus Antigoon’s ship.
alkj
'Will play for pay' - self promo poster

‘Will play for pay’ – self promo poster

ST: How does it go when you are given an editorial job?  For example, in your painting Fox Hunt I can imagine that it had to do with horses and hunting. What is the process like in working with the client?  Does it help to read what the article is about in order to come with an image?
alkj

PVE: ‘Fox hunt’ was made to accompany a very funny article in Departures written by Jane and Michael Stern about Michael’s recent passion for fox hunting in Connecticut. I was completely free in what to paint, but it obviously had to depict people on horses and dogs chasing a fox. But apparently fox hunting is more about presence, posture and poshness than actually catching the fox itself, so I left the latter out of the painting. I focused merely on showing the speed and elegance of the ritual.

Reading the article isn’t always necessary, but sometimes when it’s about very abstract issues like finance and economics it can be rather helpful.
alkj

ST: You are from Bruge, but grew up in Cologne and now are back home.  Both places are absolutely beautiful and very well know for their architecture and the art!  How have these historical places influenced your artwork?  Is there a lively arts communities in these places?

Bruges city game

Bruges city game

PVE: I lived in Cologne until I was 14, so I can’t say it had an influence on my work. I don’t even remember it as a beautiful city, but I guess that has more to do with the interests of a teenager 😉

Bruges on the other hand is very attractive and an ideal environment to live in (although I live just outside the city walls). It is rather small and easy going and that is something I need for my ease of mind. Yes, there is art on every corner of the street and the few museums are packed with masterpieces from the Flemish Primitives to the Flemish Expressionist. There are a few elements that unconsciously leak into my illustrations like color and shape, but I can trace those influences back to other illustrators I like, so I think it has to do more with taste than influence.
alkj
ST: The book of Illustrated Dreams looks wonderful!  Please let us know more about this project.  Do you illustrate people’s dreams?
alkj

PVE: The book of illustrated dreams is an ongoing project by Mexican artist Roger Omar, where he asks illustrators from around the world to illustrate the dreams of children. There is a Flickr page with all the contributions: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rogeromar/sets/1835379/
alkj

'When we pollute the ocean, we pollute ourselves' - ad campaign for Surfrider Foundation

‘When we pollute the ocean, we pollute ourselves’ – ad campaign for Surfrider Foundation

ST: That’s a great idea!  What is the last dream you remember?

alkj
PVE:
Last night I dreamed about a school with an Olympic sized swimming pool on top and students celebrating the last 100 days of the school year. And everybody was taller than me. Do you have any idea what this could mean? 😉
 alkj

ST: Oh wow!  Perhaps your dream is projecting one of your son’s feeling about the school year coming to an end.  Soon summer vacation start.  Or maybe you want to go back to school.  Only you are the master of your dream, Pieter!When you are not drawing or creating, what do you like to do?
alkj

PVE: Go for a run with my wife, watch a movie, read comics and look at art, do some carpentry. And this year, yes, it has to be this year, I’m going to finish that shed in the garden so I can start playing the drums again.

alkj
ST:
 How encouraged you to be artistic when you were a child?  Did you ever think you would become an illustrator?
 alkj
PVE: Probably like most artists I was always the one who could draw best as a child. But that doesn’t make you an illustrator, I didn’t even know that it existed. So I studied graphic design instead. It was only in art school when I discovered the work of my teacher Ever Meulen that I decided to become an illustrator one day. After graduation I worked as a graphic designer for a few years and became a full time freelancer in 2003.
alkj

ST: The teachers we have always make such a huge impact on us.  Which artists inspire you to create?

 alkj
PVE: I waste too much time on blogs so the things I see there definitely influenced my work in the last years. I’m a big fan of great painters like Matisse, Van Dongen and Hockney but recently I fell in love with a lot of Scandinavian artists like Kustaa Saksi and MVM. They make completely different things than I do and that pushes me to evaluate my work and try new ways of painting. The changes are, like a child growing up, hardly notable and that’s the way it should be.
 alkj
ST: It’s the little things that count.  Any tips for us, Scribblers?
alkj
PVE:
– When it comes to art, as a kid, never question yourself. As a grown up, always question yourself.
– There are no ugly colors, only ugly combinations
– If you see something good, keep your eyes open. If you can’t say anything good, keep your mouth shut.
 alkj
ST: Thank you Pieter for all your positivity and insight!  Now we go back to drawing 🙂  Check out Pieter’s website for more inspiration at http://www.pietervaneenoge.be.
'I can't work like this!' - cover for Das ZEITmagazin design issue

‘I can’t work like this!’ – cover for Das ZEITmagazin design issue

A Lee Hodges Activity!

Make some characters from old toilet rolls, give each roll a white coat base first and then sketch out the shape, then fill it in with colour, this could be acrylic or poster paint. They could be animals or maybe a group of characters from a circus (imagine an acrobat troupe all on top of each other) or a jazz band. I’m going to make a Mariachi band!

Lee Hodges is full of amazing ideas!  Check out his website at http://www.leeho.co.uk!

Electro-swing-club2-724x1024

businesscard-85mmx55mm-h

Published by Andi Thea, on April 5th, 2015 at 9:06 am. Filled under: Arts & Crafts,classroom,Collage,Design,Drawing,Featured,Illustration,kids,Music Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Scribble Artist Interview with Lee Hodges!

Goulash Disko festival - This was for a festival in Croatia. The brief was pirates, donkeys and tropical feel…This also led to an album cover of the same image, I have it on my shelf!

Goulash Disko festival – This was for a festival in Croatia. The brief was pirates, donkeys and tropical feel…This also led to an album cover of the same image, I have it on my shelf!

Scribble Town (ST): Here we have a beautiful collection of splashes of colors that speak to you in all sorts of sounds and languages! Lee Hodges knows how to make images fun and lively! He is an illustrator/artist, and as he so eloquently puts it is “based in the temperate climes of south west Uk.” Let’s see what he is up to these days.

Lee Hodges (LH):  I’m luckily very busy at the moment (so I hope it lasts!), I have been working at creating a series of posters for kids activities for the RHS gardens, a few editorials too. I have been creating a lot of gig posters for music nights (including my own) and album covers, plus some really big jobs which I can’t tell you about right now…just keep looking…all in all I absolutely love it.

ST: Nice!  Well, you are keeping me on my toes with all the good stuff that you are making!  Your illustrations are wonderful.  Your posters alone make me want to go to the events!  What’s the concept development process like for you when designing posters for these places?

Panama Cardoon - Hasta La Wiggle An album front cover for Panama Cardoon, the music is very latin, tropical feeling, so I went for a Jaguar roaring, coming out of the jungle!

Panama Cardoon – Hasta La Wiggle
An album front cover for Panama Cardoon, the music is very latin, tropical feeling, so I went for a Jaguar roaring, coming out of the jungle!

LH: Thanks, that’s very kind. It’s often the title or subject matter that gives me the ideas, for my own gigs I create my own title or subject matter, which is great fun. For other peoples gigs they usually have a subject and title which then inspires the imagery. For the Spring party poster that was inspired by the Jamaican ghosts called ‘Duppies’ and a particular editorial job I did recently about them, so I thought I’d channel the imagery and ideas into the Spring Party, which has a Tropical theme. I usually chuck on some great Tropical tunes to get in the mood as well!

ST: Ah that makes perfect sense- take inspiration from words to images and vice versa.  When designing your illustrations do you first sketch in pencil?  What is your artistic process?

LH: Yea, I generally squiggle in pencil and develop them from there, adding in colour as I go along, sometimes if the idea is really clear I just jump in and create a finished piece without sketching!

ST: Just go with your gut! Your images have a special feeling to them- like I want to touch them and I’ll find paint all over my hands!  What mediums do you create in?

Mexican-Night-of-the-dead-ball-2014

Day of the Dead Poster – This was for one of my own big nights which we do every year, this idea was to capture the music and feel of the festival and the night.

LH: Funnily enough, it’s predominantly digital, my aim however is too make it look as un-digital as possible, but I use a drawing tablet and try to create a screen – printed, warm feel to my images, that have a fun, vibrant edge to them. I am working more and more at applying these techniques out of the digital realm however, which is how I started.

ST: How did you get started with illustrating?  Was this what you had always set out to do?  So curious about your path!

LH: I have always drawn and been very creative, it was and is my first love. Being an artist is right at the very core of who I am, it’s just a question of channeling all that creativity in the right direction. I have been illustrating for the last few years but it’s only recently that I have decided to give it all of my focus and I’m loving it. I am a very curious person so I have tried and experimented with many different mediums over the years, including film design/animation. It’s important to try new things and experiment with your work, by doing that you are able to apply something unique to your work.

ST: So lovely to hear that art is your first love.  You two belong together!  Who are some artists that inspire you?  What about them do you like?

LH: I like lots of different artists for different reasons…I have always loved Picasso for his versatility and sheer output of images! I love street art, particularly Os Gemeos, when I was in Argentina and Chile, most of the pictures I took were of street art! I often go through phases of liking different artists or something I see of theirs jumps out at me and inspires me, I really like Eduardo Munoz Bachs the Cuban poster artist at the moment.

The-Bellman

The Bellman – This is one of my images from the Hunting of the Snark. I have tried to make this fun, colourful and intriguing…It is illustrating the line – “The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies – Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face! ”

ST: When you are not drawing or creating, what do you like to do?  Any games you like to play?

LH: I like to take my imagination on long walks! Generally being anywhere near the sea, up and around the wilds of the South west, I love the raw energy of the coastline especially Cornwall, which is where I am from.
I love watching films too, weird and wonderful films, short ones, long ones. I also run a club/arts night which entails making props for the gigs, crazy interactive inventions and most importantly DJ-ing, I Dj quite a lot and run a Radio show every two weeks.

ST: I can hear the music in your illustrations too!  Who encouraged you to be artistic when you were a child?

LH: Well, no-one really gave me direct encouragement, it was just something I did, loved and kept at, supported by words of encouragement when I had shown my work to my parents.

ST: Well, now you have a whole fan club supporting you! Scribble Town and beyond :).  How is your project of illustrating Hunting the Snark coming along?  You are right- Tove Jansson’s version is great!  What are you hoping to bring into your pictures?

The Jub Jub Bird - Another one of my ‘Hunting of the Snark’ images, this is the Jub Jub bird. This is the line from the book - “As to temper the Jubjub’s a desperate bird, Since it lives in perpetual passion:Its taste in costume is entirely absurd—It is ages ahead of the fashion:

The Jub Jub Bird – Another one of my ‘Hunting of the Snark’ images, this is the Jub Jub bird. This is the line from the book – “As to temper the Jubjub’s a desperate bird, Since it lives in perpetual passion:Its taste in costume is entirely absurd—It is ages ahead of the fashion:

LH: It’s a great and crazily surreal book, it’s almost an artists dream to illustrate! It’s a little on hold at the moment as I have been busy with other work, being a personal project it has been put to the back for a bit. I’m hoping that I am bringing  my own interpretation to it, imagining it with a colourful south american twist, almost like lost explorers discovering a strange land….

ST: I’m looking forward to seeing that in the future!  For now, any last minute tips for our Scribblers?

LH: Tips – Experiment, play – make a mess! Use your sketchbook as a scrapbook too, fill it with colour, ideas. I love to listen to music when I work, it really helps you get into the mood! Think out of the box…!

ST: Will do! The mess in on. Everybody, have a look at Lee Hodges website at http://www.leeho.co.uk.  Thanks so much Lee!

Tropical Pressure festival - A poster for a Tropical music festival in Cornwall. All hand written type, as a lot of my work is, it adds a personal touch and holds the image together. I like to think of the type as an image too, letters that bounce and jump around in the image.

Tropical Pressure festival – A poster for a Tropical music festival in Cornwall. All hand written type, as a lot of my work is, it adds a personal touch and holds the image together. I like to think of the type as an image too, letters that bounce and jump around in the image.

Scribble Artist Interview with Steven van Hasten!

securedownload-1Scribble Town (ST): Let’s go to the jungle! Let’s go help our Hippo friend brush his teeth!  Steven van Hasten has a painterly touch for his illustrations that sweep you away to imaginary places.

Steven, what are you up to at the moment?

Steven van Hasten (SVH): I am a Belgian artist who grew up in Courtrai, a small commercial town in West Flanders. I am huge comic book fan and have a large collection. I never go to sleep before reading a comic book.  I am doing some different projects now, commissioned and personal projects… One of the commissioned ones is an illustration for an adoption card, very pleasant to do. I am also doing a children’s book based on a script of my wife …

ST: I’m sure you and your wife are inspirations for each other! Your illustrations are wonderful! Where do you come up with your ideas for your illustrations?

SVH: When I start a new illustration, I always first go for a walk. While just thinking about anything, ideas start to come. Almost everything I encounter on a walk can lead to an idea, a picture on a wall, something lying on the street, something that happens on my way, a strange house … But the greatest source of inspiration are the people I meet and see in the streets… Everyone can be the next person in my illustration :).

ST: In that sense, everybody is magical. I believe that! And can see that in your illustrations.

I noticed on your website that you have many different styles that you work with. What is one of your favorite technique and why?

SVH: I make digital and painted illustrations, but I prefer the classic way of drawing and painting a lot more, because I like the smell of acrylics and holding a pencil feels much more comfortable then moving a mouse. Sitting at the table with a paper in front of me gives a much more relaxed feeling then sitting before a computer.

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ST: I think the tactile process shows in your artwork too. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  What has been your path to becoming an illustrator?

SVH: As soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil, I knew I would do something with drawing. As a child I drew on every surface in the house: walls, tables, etc.. My parents were very happy when I was old enough to go to the local academy and start to draw on regular paper instead. One of first things I can remember is a comic book about a knight I made when I was the age of 10. When I was older I completed a Masters from St. Lucas, School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium where I studied Graphic Design and Illustration. That was the start of my career as an illustrator.

ST: Have you ever been interested in creating a TV show series of your own?  What is your favorite cartoon on TV?

securedownload-3SVH: I never considered it. I think my style is to complex for a tv-show, it would cost to much time to make a show or I should have people helping me and I rather work alone like I am doing now.

I don’t watch much television, I am more of a reader, so I don’t know much about the cartoons that are on television right now. As a kid I liked ‘Tom and Jerry’ and I still like ‘The Simpsons’ … And animation like ‘Despicable me’, ‘Spirited away’, ‘Persepolis’, ‘Rango’.

ST: I see you have a variety of themes in your illustrations.  What is a theme you are currently working on?  What is the Tekeningen series about?

SVH: The theme comes back, most of the time, in my illustrations to people. I love to draw people with all the strange habits they have, how they dress, behave, how they act funny. You could say that the human behaviour is my most popular theme. I do love drawing animals too, but even the animals always have a human touch, the act like humans, not like animals would do…

The ‘tekeningen’ series are live-drawings. Every week I hire a model for making quick sketches. This is important to evolve and try different things. These drawings are exercises in technique, motion, colour, line. I make hundreds of them, most of them arrive in the wastepaper basket. In a 2 hour drawing session I make 20-30 sketches. A sketch doesn’t take more than 5 minutes, so I can’t get lost in drawing details, it has to be basic and direct. If I have one drawing at the end of the evening I find good, then my evening was successful.

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ST: Those sessions are also great to just get movement within your drawing and lose yourself in the motion. When you are not drawing or creating, what do you like to do?

SVH: Being in nature is the thing I do most when I am not illustrating. It gives me the peace I need to keep me going with fresh ideas. I like hiking, especially in the Scottish Highlands, where I go at least 1 or 2 times a year. Or walking in nature closer to home.

 I also love to read books (mostly fantasy) or comic books, which I do almost every evening after drawing. Otherwise I would be thinking all night on my illustrations. It’s like making my head empty. 

And riding my motorbike is a favourite too…

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ST: You have some exhibitions coming up.  Please let us know about them.  What artworks will you be exhibiting?

SVH: Next week I have an exhibition in London on the Parallax Art Fair. I will show some artworks I recently made for a memory-game and for a puzzle-game.

In April there is an upcoming exhibition with some other illustrator. The brief was to make an illustration about the pencil in the art world. There will be shown only one illustration.
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ST: You surely are busy! Which artists inspire you to create?

SVH: Heronimus Bosch, a Dutch painter from the 15th century, has always been a great inspiration. He must have been a little insane, I guess, because he drew very strange things :). And illustrators like Shaun Tan and Rebecca Dautremer, because they are very passionate. And also Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died too young..

ST: You are an inspiration for us! Any tips for our Scribblers?

SVH: If you have a dream follow it, no matter what it costs. Working hard and practicing everyday is much more important then talent. Of course you need a little talent but in the end it is who works hard that will be the winner. Keep your eyes open, ideas and creativity are everywhere, you just have to see it. The most important thing I learned at art school, is not how to draw, but how to look to the world, with an open mind.

ST: And with an open mind we continue our day! Thank you, Steven for sharing with us :). Scribblers, please have a look at Steven’s website to see more of his artwork and learn more about him.

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Published by Andi Thea, on February 26th, 2015 at 9:56 am. Filled under: Books,Illustration,Scribble Artist Interviews Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Scribble Artist Interview with Nannona!

valo_boy_snorkel_nannnonaScribble Town (ST): What’s happening over there?  Oh it’s a Forest Party!  Let’s go there!  Life can be so adventurous especially through the eyes of Nani Brunini aka Nannona.  I’m ready to enter a world of bright colors, bright minds and big smiles!

Nani Brunini (NB): Hi, I’m Nani and I’m a professional doodler.

ST: Where are you located and what are you up to these days?

NB: I’ve been living in San Francisco since 2011. I’m originally from Brazil, but my husband and I have been abroad for about 12 years – Germany, United Kingdom, Finland and now the US.

Right now I’m working on my portfolio – mainly updating my website and social media. That’s the side of becoming an illustrator that I’m learning more about – if you want to stand out and get the cool jobs, you have to make sure your online presence is as good as your portfolio. It’s a lot of work, but still fun. Oh, and I also can’t go too long without drawing, so I’m always doodling and experimenting with new things – new pens, new styles, new themes, etc.

ST: I think your website it looking great!  Your illustrations are beautiful and whimsical! I love your play on words and image. For example, your illustration titled ‘FINGER FOOD – ice cream’ is made of fingers! It took me a second to see that those are nails, but when I did, I made a little chuckle : ). How do you come up with these word/image games? How did you think to draw fingers as ice cream?!

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NB: How I get to fingers as ice creams and running burgers, I guess it’s more of a matter of “why not?”. Why draw a house with a regular roof if I can put a gigantic flamingo hat over it?! That’s a lot more fun. Pens, pencils, brushes, cameras and etc are super powerful tools – you can do whatever you want with them. So because I have all that freedom, I like to stretch my sense of reality and play around with unexpected possibilities.

Now, about the names, they are really funny and several are my husband to blame. He’s the king of puns, so I always come to him when I need some clever wordplay.

ST:  That’s a great way to approach creativity.  Just ask ourselves, “Why not?”  How did you get started with illustrating? Who encouraged you?

NB: I just looove drawing! It’s something I often do when I want to relax or when I need to understand something. In school, for example, I made so many sketches for biology, geography and chemistry classes. I even drew some historical personalities to help me remember where they were from, why they were important, etc.

I actually decided to leave the corporate world and dedicate all my time to illustration rather recently. I studied Fine Arts a long time ago, but along the way I fell in love with design and human behaviour. I worked as design strategist for big corporations, thinking and presenting concepts for products that could be developed in 5 or 10 years. I only came back to drawing when I moved to the US – when I came here I had a “spouse visa”, which didn’t allow me to work. It was very difficult, but since I had a lot of time on my hands, I started to make drawings for my nephews and nieces in Brazil. I got my work permit a year later, but I couldn’t go back to my old life; I was once again addicted to my colorful pens!

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ST: One things leads to another and it seems that drawing will never leave your path.  What’s your process for creating these illustrations? What kinds of techniques do you work with?

NB: A lot of what I do is hand-drawn with pens – ink, gel, paint, chalk, calligraphy, Sharpies, etc. I find them easy and unfussy.

Most times I have no idea what the end result is going to look, or even what the drawing is going to be about. I usually start with something I want to experiment with – a new technique, a different pen – and then one shape leads to another.

In the case of “Finger Food“, for example, I was fascinated with interlaced objects at that time. The first doodle I made for that had actually nothing to do with fingers, nor food – it was some kind of psychedelic city being invaded by worm-like creatures; those later became some sort of interlaced soft serve ice cream, which then became an ice cream full of interlaced fingers and so on.

No matter how many plans I make beforehand, the drawing always end up changing, even if a little bit, when it’s on paper. It’s quite cool to see how it develops and what it becomes in the end.

ST: Everything is connected so why not intervene that in our drawings?  I can see that nature inspires you and gives you loads of ideas! Your Bizarro Fruit poster is testament to that. Please let us know a bit about this project. Mmm how do you think Witchfinger Grapes tastes like?

Print

NB: My goal with the Bizarro Series was to bring attention to nature’s weird, beautiful and unexpected diversity. I started it because I wanted my nephews and nieces to be more curious about what is out there. I want them to know that “C” is for “cats” and “cows”, but it’s also for “cassowaries”, “capybaras” and “cuttlefish”. I want them to ask questions and try new things.

During the making of the Bizarro Fruit poster, for example, I ended up trying some fruit that I had not seen before, like mangosteen, rambutans and horned melons; the latter by the way tasted a bit like a cross of a banana and a melon to me! I haven’t tried witchfinger grapes yet, but they certainly look delicious.

ST: Who are some artists you get inspiration from?

NB: I get ideas from a huge number of people and sources. Lately I’ve been fascinated with traditional Japanese illustration, some Brazilian graffiti artists and psychedelic advertising from the 60s. What a mix, right? 🙂

ST: Your Doodlebomb series is great! How do you choose your magazines to bomb? What are you hoping to say with them?

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NB: The doodlebombs originally started as lettering practice to me. I had a bunch of magazines that I didn’t know what to do with, so they became an inexpensive way for me to make mock-ups. I could of course do that with Photoshop or Illustrator, but I do prefer having my real-life pens and brushes.

The texts on those doodles come from all sources – sometimes it’s what I’m listening on TV or some lyrics in my head… I might make them more meaningful later, but so far, I’m more interested in seeing the letters as visual patterns.

ST: I guess the bombs can come from the explosion of ideas we get sometimes.  It really feels like that for me!  Any last tips on creativity? Can you give any advice on how one can express themselves or develop their ideas?

NB: To me, art is about making things intriguing and interesting; not necessarily beautiful or accurate. It’s completely irrelevant if what you do looks like the real thing or not; what matters is why and how you express your ideas. I had some teachers in art school that told me I couldn’t draw and I was silly enough to hear them. It took me 10 years to unlearn that.

I think the best advice I can give is to cultivate your curiosity, experiment a lot and challenge conventions. Go crazy and remember that everything is possible on paper!

ST: 1, 2, 3, go crazy with a pen, marker, colored pencil, crayon, anything you can find and color away!  Thanks Nannona for being such an inspiration!

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Published by Andi Thea, on February 3rd, 2015 at 10:06 am. Filled under: adults,Design,Drawing,Featured,Illustration,Scribble Artist Interviews Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Artful thoughts from Jacqueline Chwast

Jacqueline Chwast is a childrens book illustrator amongst many things creative.  She has worked on books such as I Like You, How Rabbit Lost His Tail, and Tinker Tales: A Humpty Dumpty Book. Scribble Town asked Jackie questions about her path and passions. From her responses below I get the sense that this person is full of life and thanks.  Thank you, Jackie for sharing with us!

As a child I fell in love with beautiful watercolor illustrations in the book “Water babies.”

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My first job out of art school was as an assistant to the editor in a small publishing firm. Though they most often reprinted art, to my surprise I was offered to do a new picture book about time. The illustrations had to be done in the evenings after work, and on weekends.

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After months, keeping awake on buckets of coffee, I brought the finished art in on a Friday.  When I returned to work that Monday morning my boss (forever careless) had accidentally burned the office down.

IMG_0842I’ve illustrated more than fifty books since, without another fire.

I am retired now, living in New York, doing pottery and cutting paper silhouettes, happy not to have deadlines, and very grateful to have had the company of art for my lifetime.  I did illustration for books, magazines and newspapers.  A manuscript was given to me by an editor. Writers and illustrators never spoke (to avoid disagreements). It was the illustrators’ job to interpret the mood and meaning of the written word.

I had a very brief blue period, but was rarely asked, as a commercial illustrator to go down very dark or deep.

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Though I am moved and impressed by work so different than my own, I feel most at peace expressing attitudes in life with humor.

— So, draw, sculpt, view, write, listen, read, enjoy and accept your own voice.

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Published by Andi Thea, on December 17th, 2014 at 9:13 am. Filled under: adults,Books,Featured,Illustration,kids Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Scribble Artist Interview with Bill Lawrence!

Scribble Town (ST): Bill Lawrence is a poet set out to write his first children’s book. His writing is earnest and the illustrations portray that sensitivity and playfulness.  Let’s learn more about Bill!

DSC_0207.mediumBill Lawrence (BL): First, thank you for your interest in my writing.  It is humbling to be asked to share what I’m doing and I’m honored to be a part of Scribble Blog.  I’m an inspirational writer, meaning I can’t just sit down and write whenever I have the time to do so.  Something has to trigger my creativity and that isn’t always convenient.  But when the thoughts come in it is fun.   I’m a dedicated husband and father to great kids who turn out to be the inspiration for much of my poetry.  Watching them go through the triumphs and foibles of life give me the third person perspective that rings throughout a lot of what I write.  Writing is also a way to bond with my kids as I’ve written some pretty cool stuff this way.  It shows them that writing isn’t as daunting as they may have believed and it really opens a window into what they think and feel.  It sometimes replaces the question, “what’s going on with you and your life, what are you thinking about most?”  It all tends to come out when you allow them to express themselves in art…and they’re proud of it, too.  Currently I am mid way through a series of children’s books but I’m also writing a science fiction novel and have other poems that will hopefully end up illustrated, as well.  I’m also a guitar player and have penned a few songs that I hope to record in the next year or so.  Writing and music are themes that run strong through my life.

ST: Bill, where are you located and what are you up to these days?

BL: I live in Denver with my wonderful wife and family.  I’ve enjoyed great support from them as I’ve set out to publish my first book.

ST: Congratulations on reaching your Kickstarter goal!  I’m sure you are so excited and WE are doubly happy to be able to soon read your story.  Scribblers, have a look here to read more about ‘Odie and Snowflake’. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1187805553/a-childrens-book-illustrated-to-poetry-by-bill-law?ref=nav_search
Snowflakes08-2ST: What is ‘Odie and Snowflake’ about or is this a surprise?  I like the idea that it’s a series because then we’ll get more involved with the characters and story.

BL: ‘Odie and Snowflake’ is my first book and it is set in a winter scape.  The books will be set to my poetry with illustrations that follow along.  Each poem/book will revolve around a season (summer, spring, winter and fall) thematically and I’m having a lot of fun with them.  Hidden in the art is a purpose, however.  Exposing young listeners and readers to a higher level of grammar, diction and meter provides a stark contrast to the more simple kid’s books we know and love.   These simpler books definitely have their place but so do those that raise the bar on thought and expression through art.  I believe that kids gain from stretching and exposing their vocabulary to interesting grammatical tools like consonance, assonance, alliteration, etc…  The timing and rhythm of a person’s speech is affected at an early age by what literature is exposed to them and hopefully people see in my books an interesting alternative to what they may see out there.

ST: What inspired the story?  When did you write it?

BL: Watching my son play with his cousin in the snow last winter inspired this poem/book.  Their interactions and expressions of joy brought up my memories and thoughts of winters as a kid growing up in the mid-Atlantic area.  It was a purely analog time in my life reliant on imagination and the friendships developed along the way.  Those memories matched with my adult perspective have provided a vehicle to relay my creativity through poetry.

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ST: How did you come up with the characters and illustrations?

BL: I’m not the most skilled illustrator so I asked an artist to help me create the scenes for the book and they came out terrific.  I can’t wait to crack open that first printing and see it on the page!

ST: What is your personal connection to poetry?

BL: My path to writing purposefully took a turn in earnest about 16 years ago.  I wrote poems that helped me deal with the joys and lows in life and found it cathartic.  It’s great therapy for me as it provides an outlet for my thoughts.

Portait of Shel Silverstein

Photograph of Shel Silverstein

ST: What was your favorite book as a child?

BL: I had several memorable book exposures as a kid.  Goodnight Moon, many Shel Silverstein stories, and the Tolkien series Lord of the Rings, with many in between, of course.  These stories stretched my imagination but more importantly provided the glue for my bond with the most important people in my life… Mom and Dad.  My parents read to me as a child and that was an important factor in my reading and writing success later in life.  It is so important to read to your kids, even the books they insist on hearing after you’ve read them over 100 times.

ST: Any last tips on creativity? Can you give any advice on how one can express themselves or develop their ideas?

BL: Don’t be surprised if it takes you until your 30’s/40’s or later to “hear” your voice.  But feel fortunate when you do and then take advantage by putting your words and thoughts to the page.  Don’t worry about being perfect or trying to reach all audiences.  It may be that your only listener is you, but that’s highly unlikely.  In staying true to your word, you will have the greatest lasting satisfaction with yourself and others will respect your genuine expressions.  Here is the poem upon which my book is based…

Ode to a Snow Flake

Nature’s perfection
This I know
A freshly fallen
Flake of snow

Nothing in nature
Can compare
To this uniquely constructed
Defier of air

As cold settles in
For seeming an age
This symmetry of nature
Takes centerstage

While under assemblage
And hid from the sun
It falls for a mile
To land on your tongue

Stellar in appearance
Defying winter’s shroud
Can this beauty really come
From so sullen a cloud?

Light as a feather
A contradiction of sorts
Put two together
A maker of forts!

Viewed through a window
It lasts but a minute
So knee-deep is the way
To find yourself in it!

Singular in aspect
Yet countless they seem
Both magic and mystic
The glint and the gleam

Take a moment to study
And you’ll notice in time
Simple plates and prisms
Graupel and Rime

Double plates and dendrites
Capped columns and bars
They’re proudest of the 12 branch
And fancy themselves stars

Winter can last
For an age, it seems
A perfect time
for snowbound dreams

Goodnight Moon is an American children's picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd.

Goodnight Moon is an American children’s picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd.

ST: Thank you, Bill for your words of inspiration!  I feel that there is always so much to look forward to. We look forward to reading your book before turning the lights out for a good night’s sleep.

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings

Published by Andi Thea, on November 16th, 2014 at 3:10 am. Filled under: adults,Books,Illustration,kids,Scribble Artist Interviews Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

All about Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera was a Mexican artist married to Frida Kahlo who allowed one to think about life in all it’s beauty and pain.  He is famous for many things, but one of the most groundbreaking pieces are The Detroit Industry Murals.  They are a series of frescoes by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, consisting of twenty-seven panels depicting industry at the Ford Motor Company. Together they surround the Rivera Court in the Detroit Institute of Arts. These frescoes were painted between 1932 and 1933.

Detroit Industry, North Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit Industry, North Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

The two main panels on the North and South walls depict laborers working at Ford Motor Company‘s River Rouge Plant. Other panels depict advances made in various scientific fields, such as medicine and new technology. The series of murals, taken as a whole, represents the idea that all actions and ideas are one.

Detroit Industry, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit Industry, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

“The Flower Seller paintings was painted in 1941 and depicts a young woman kneeling with a very large bundle of calalilies. Her clothes are simple yet she is colorfully and neatly like a typical young woman of Mexico in the early 20th century. The double braids in her hair indicate that she is a young girl not yet married. We cannot see her face because she has her back to us, facing the lilies, 600xNxflowerseller.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Swl2_wW1-Iwith her arms around the bundle. The rest of the image is dark so there is not definition of the ground that she sits on or a background behind the lilies. Can this young girl carry the lilies? They seem too big, yet the title indicates that she is supposed to sell them. Did Diego choose to hide her face because she is quietly struggling with her burden? Or is she simply preparing for a day at the market by carefully lifting her flowers?

The calla lily, a sensual, sculptural flower – and quintessential example of Mexico’s exuberant flora – was celebrated by Rivera many times, particularly in frescoes depicted peasants with indigenous features carrying bundles or offerings of them.”

DiegoRivera.org

Scribblers, print out the sheet below and color in your own Girl with Lillies!

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Published by Andi Thea, on November 5th, 2014 at 11:07 am. Filled under: adults,Arts & Crafts,Featured,Illustration,kids,Uncategorized Tags: , , , , No Comments