Thursday, 24 February 2011

Portrait Illustration.

I am about to take on the challenge of drawing portraits and was looking for a style of portrait illustration that could inspire me and I came across my namesake Oliver Barrett - a designer and illustrator living in Cleveland, Ohio.

Oliver currently works in brand development, interactive media and art direction. He has a certain minimalistic style of portraiture that I think is really effective, mixed in some vector pieces and other styles.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Partfaliaz - Part 1

I wanted to get an idea of current illustration styles in Europe at the moment and found a useful website called that showcases portfolio's of european illustrators and was impressed by the following illustration styles :

Broll & Prascida is a studio created in Paris in 2010.

This young studio produce detailed black and white drawings and illustrations that have a humourous and imaginative style to them and play with ideas - the examples below give a good indication of this :

Giorgio Fratini - Cool drawings and sketches.

Giorgio Fratini is an Italian Illustrator and Comic Book Artist who created his first graphic novel in 2008  " Sonno Elefante - I Muri Hanno Orecchie " which received a best Italian book award in Rome that year. Below are examples of his work :



Monday, 21 February 2011

In Praise of the Collage.

I found I became really interested in ' collage illustration ' during my first year at the North East Wales School of Art and Design and submitted two pieces of collage work for the end of first year assessments and this is a media that I hope to work with again.

I came across the work of Michelle Thompson recently - who is a British Illustrator who has worked in publishing, editorial and design since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1996. As well as her collage work, she also works with mark making and photography, combined with digital processes.

Michelle normally works with found and created elements, using figurative, abstract and typographic and this is illustrated in the examples shown below :


Humour has a message all on it's own !!

I'm convinced at this early stage as I develop as an illustrator that I want to work with humour and so i've started to research illustrators and designers who work primarily with humour.

Whilst scanning the website Illustration Mundo I was captivated by the humourous T-Shirt designs of Glen Jones - who is a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator from Auckland, New Zealand and he works under the username Glennz.

He creates designs for a large range of T-Shirts, Greetings Cards, Calenders and Limited Edition Art Prints. I really like the pop culture references that have a strong humourous message - and his T-Shirt designs are probably the funniest around and have an hilarious take on life.

Below are examples of his T-Shirt designs and to see his other work - have a look at his website : 

  Party Trick T-Shirt
  Fast Funeral T-Shirt

  For Dummies T-Shirt

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The comic capers of Ally Sloper

While trawling through the book ' Rude Britannia - British Comic Art ' so many references and styles have taken my eye and one in particular was a comic-strip character called Ally Sloper who was first introduced in 1867 in a magazine called Judy - a publication that was aimed at a female readership and also at the lower classes.

The early illustrations of this character were drawn by an illustrator called Emille de Tessier ( 1847-1890 ) but it is the artwork by William Giles Baxter (1856 - 1888 ) that I am mostly drawn to and in particular the artwork that featured in a spin off magazine called Ally Sloper's Half Holiday ( 1884-1923) that became very succesful and featured the comic capers of the red-nosed schemer and drunkard. The character got his name because he was always trying to avoid the rent collector by 'sloping' through the back alleys.

The following are some of the examples of the character illustrated in pen, brush and ink on paper by William Giles Baxter :


Euen Uglows Life Drawing

Since starting a Life Drawing class on a Monday evening at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester I have got acquainted with the artist Euen Uglow and in particular his figurative work.

Uglow had a very meticulous way of working that relied heavily on getting the measuring of the model just right before he would progress to finished work. Some of his work would take months and in some cases years. What he got in terms of finished pieces was very precise and realistic drawings and paintings.

His way of working really brings home the discipline of strict measuring of the model at the beginning and how this approach is often rewarded with good life drawing results - something I hope to emulate during this current class.

Some of Uglow's work is shown below :


Thursday, 3 February 2011

David Shrigley

I came across the work of David Shrigley recently in a book I got for Christmas called ' Rude Britannia - British Comic Art ' and loved his twisted childlike line drawings. Shrigley finds inspiration for his humourous brand of cartoons in the bizarre.

His style interests me particularly as it is a very, very loose style and it takes the form of being quite crude and limited in its execution and he seems to have developed this type of style for largely comic effect.

It has shown me that some times the illustration does not have to be perfectly drawn to get a message across - why strive for perfection if the artist can still deliver a message.

The illustration below is a typical depiction of contradiction that Shrigley uses to play with the viewer of his work. This work below Untitled shows an unseemly and dishevelled man with the words ' Ha Ha Ha ' repeated below the image. The disgusting face and the joyous text plays a joke with our perception of humour and cruelty so you are left thinking - who's doing the laughing ?


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Edward Gorey

One of my favourite illustrators at the moment is Edward Gorey because I just love his black and white illustrations that just ooze black humour from the many character illustrations that he created.

Edward Gorey was born on February 22nd 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, USA and died on the 15th April 2000, aged 75. He was a writer and artist who claims he only studied at art college for one semester before going on to illustrate many childrens books with his macabre style.

Some of his most successful illustrated books included The Doubtful Guest ( 1957 ), The Gashlycrumb Tinies ( 1963 ) and The Glorious Nosebleed ( 1975 ).

What always impresses me about Edward Gorey's work is the way he takes so much meticulous care of shade and line in his drawings that always maintain a darkly humourous style.