Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Silja Goetz Interview: Part 2 - Inspirations

Here is the second part of the interview with talented illustrator Silja Goetz.

What are your inspirations?

I go to art museums a lot, whenever and wherever i can. Luckily I live in Madrid, close to the Prado and the 'Reina Sofía', the Thyssen Bornemisza, etc. I admire Velazquez, the Flemish and Italian painters of the rennaissance, Dürer, Antonello da Messina, Pieter Brueghel, Hieronymus Bosch...

by Ramón Casarc

by Albrecht Dürer

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

And I have a weakness for the Preraffaelites, I love those languid, dreamy women. Another favourite is Ramon Casas, a Spanish painter who was also an illustrator. And Jacques Louis -David. And Caspar David Friedrich.

by Caspar David Friedrich

And many many more...
To see those great masters definitely helps to stay humble!

And of course I love the movies, read a lot, go to the flea market... and all these things impress me and somehow inspire me, sometimes without me noticing. I just try to fill my head with ideas and beautiful sights and see what comes out when I need an idea.

- Thank you once again Silja! I will publish the final part of the interview after Christmas, Season's Greetings everyone!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Illustrator of the Week: Silja Goetz Interview Part 1

I am once again really excited to publish another interview with a brilliant international artist and illustrator. I first saw Silja Goetz's work in Computer Arts Magazine and since then have regularly checked her website for new pieces as it is always an inspiration to me. Her client list is very impressive, and includes work for Vogue (UK), The New Yorker, EstrellaDamm, Vienna Airport, Bloomingdales, and Nike.

Silja has kindly answered some questions about her work, which will be published over the next few days here on MDAM! In the first part she gives an insight into how she first found clients as a newly qualified illustrator.

How did you get started in illustration?

I studied communication design with an emphasis on illustration. My thesis was a self-published illustrated audio-book, which helped me a lot to get a foot in the door with some magazines, like Cosmopolitan or Elle.

It also was useful for getting me my first regular job as a designer at a magazine called 'Allegra', which was great in many ways. On the one hand I got to do illustrations there from time to time, and on the other hand I gained a lot of insight about what other illustrators and photographers did, how a magazine works, what is expected of a freelance artist, etc.

All very helpful at the point of taking the big step from a nice and comfy 9-to-5-job to the insecurity of full-time freelancing.

In the beginning I showed my book a lot, in Germany and Spain, where I finally ended up living. I think I must have had almost a 100 go-sees in one year! That was about 8 years ago, when emails still had to be small in size and I yet didn' t have my own website.

Today my clients know me well and come back for more, I have an agent in the U.S. and the website does all the rest. I can concentrate on my drawings and don' t have to spend much time on promotion.

- Thanks Silja! In Part 2 we'll find out some of Silja's own inspirations.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Lace & Ice

Christina gave me the link to these beautiful hand made snowflakes, made by freezing lace doilies overnight. Details on how they were made can be found here.


Monday, 15 December 2008

Paper-cut Illustrations by Yulia Brodskaya

A while ago I posted some examples of artists currently using paper cutouts in their illustration work. I recently saw this unique typography by Russian artist Yulia Brodskaya on the Guardian website, so thought I would share a few of her brilliant creations here.


Friday, 12 December 2008

O Christmas Tree

I love these hand knitted tree decorations made by illustrator Kate Sutton. Her etsy shop is here, where you can buy the gingerbread men!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Andrea Joseph Interview: Part 3

Here is the final part of the interview, where Andrea talks through some of her favourite artists and illustrators.

(Above: On the Couch by Andrea Joseph)

What other illustrators and artists do you admire?

My favourite period in art history is definitely Pop Art, especially the British pop artists of the 1960s. I love the whole Mod movement from this period, too. It’s really influential to me – the style, the music, the fashion. I love it all. Peter Blake is my favourite artist. I adore his work. I think that admiration comes through in my own work; the every day stuff, the collections, the obsession with popular culture. It never fails to inspire me.

Above: The First Real target by Peter Blake

In contrast to that, I am a massive fan of the Pre Raphaelites. I fell in love with their work at first sight. Almost all the art I have on the walls, in my home, are PreRaph paintings (er…prints, of course). My all time favourite painting is the ‘The Lady of Shalott’ by John William Waterhouse. I could never tire of looking at it. Or fail to be moved by it. Arthur Hughes ’Ophelia’ comes a very close second. The Pre Raphaelites, for me, combine the perfect balance of astounding technical skills, mesmerising detail and a haunting spookiness. For me, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Above: The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse

Above: Ophelia by Arthur Hughes

Of my peers, my favourite illustrators are Suzanne Cabrera and France Belleville. They are the two drawing blogs that I visit, religiously, every day. It was finding Suzanne’s blog that really got me excited about drawing again, after a long hiatus. Seeing her work for the first time blew me away, it made me realise that drawing could be whatever you wanted it to be. If that makes any sense? Although our styles are very different, what I relate to most is the humour she uses in her work. I love it today as much as the day I clapped eyes on it. More, in fact.

Above image by Suzanne Cabrera

It was through a link on Suzanne’s blog that I came across France’s work, and again it blew my socks off. What I relate to in France’s work is something different from Suzanne’s. I see a melancholy in her lines that just keeps me going back for more. I adore them both, which is why being a part of the Moleskine Exchange group with these girls makes me all giddy!

I, too, have to mention my drawing mentor and guru (teehee) Miguel Herranz. One day, when I grow up, I want to draw just like him.

Above image by France Belleville

What advice would you give to any illustrators starting out?

This one’ll be short and sweet; I really do not feel qualified to give out advice to anyone else. The advice I’d give to myself is just to draw. To keep on drawing. It’s boring, but it’s through the practice that you discover all sorts of stuff about yourself. All kinds of stuff you might never have wanted to know! But, amazing things too. Just draw. That’s it. Draw. I’ll shut up now.

Above: Shoes in Ballpoint by Andrea Joseph

-Thanks so much for the insight into your work Andrea!

You can see more on Andrea's blog here, including an amazing step by step look at one of her ballpoint drawings that must have taken some patience to complete!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Andrea Joseph Interview: Part 2

Here's the second part of our interview with illustrator Andrea Joseph. Third part coming up tomorrow!

What materials do you use in your work?

I use traditional materials, inks and pencils. I love biros and ballpoint pens. I love the idea of creating a piece of work, especially an elaborate piece of work, out of something so cheap. There’s something really appealing, to me, about the idea of making something out of nothing. And, boy, can I make something out of nothing. On all sorts of levels.

What’s your favourite personal project to date?

Hmmmm. I can’t think of any specific project. There are individual drawings that I’d call favourites, but not whole projects. Projects usually end up being love/hate affairs.

As for favourite drawings they are the ones that either take me by surprise or where I achieve exactly what I set out to achieve.

There is something really satisfying about seeing a picture in your head and then being able to put it down on paper. Both the ‘Cross Section of a Tall Hat’ (above) and the ‘Johnny Cash’ (above, top) drawing are examples of that. I knew exactly what they would look like before I even put pen to paper.

I also love it when you sit down with no conscious idea of what you want to draw, you play around with your pen and something quite unexpected turns up at the page. Examples of that are the ‘Hatpin’ drawing and the ‘Oldschool Desk’ (both below.)

Of course, I’m forgetting the ongoing Moleskine exchange project that I am involved in. That is a project that makes me happy. It adds a whole new dimension to your work when you are working alongside others. As illustration can often be a lonely game. And, to be working with this group of artists is an honour and a privilege.

And, my first Moleskine (the Sepia One), which I have just finished, is a project I am proud of. Still, I am not completely happy with it. Maybe I’ll feel different when there is more time between us, but then I don’t know whether I’ll ever be truly happy. I don’t know whether it’s the same for all artists, but, for me, I think that’s what keeps me going in some twisted way. Always trying to make it better next time. Always trying to get it right, knowing that it never will be. It’s obsessional. And, I can love and hate it at the same time.

But, you know, thinking about it, I suppose that my blog is actually my favourite project of all. Yeah. My whole blog. So thanks for that, I now know the answer to that question!


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Illustrator of the Week 15: Andrea Joseph - Interview Part 1

A while ago I posted a few sketches by Derbyshire-based illustrator, Andrea Joseph. I was impressed by the amazing level of detail in her work, especially considering many sketches were doing using everyday biros.

Here she has kindly answered a few questions about her inspirations. Be sure to check back later in the week for the next part of the interview!

What are your daily inspirations?
Music. Definitely music. I am obsessive about it. As obsessive as I am about drawing. I think if I had any musical talent then this would have been my preferred creative route, but as I’m tone deaf I just became a fan instead. A fanatic. I can listen to the same album or artist over and over again for weeks on end. I’ve had Paul Weller phases that have lasted around three months.

When I look at a drawing I can immediately remember what I was listening to at the time. I see the albums and the songs in the lines.

A few months ago I was listening to Aeriel by Kate Bush a lot. There are about 4 or 5 drawings that came out of that period.

When I look at this washing machine drawing I can hear the songs. They are embedded in the lines, textures and colours. I love that. Inexplicably, there’s also a drawing of an armchair that always makes me think of Edith Piaf.

I love that about art. How all the things around you become entwined in your work. And, of course, it’s not just music or any one thing. I was listening to Neil Young talk about the song writing process. When he was asked about what inspires him to write he said “whatever was happening in the world, what I’d just done, what I wanted to do next, who I was living with, who my friends were, what the weather was….” It’s all those things. I’m inspired by all those things. And, by Neil Young.

Thanks Andrea!
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