I follow quite a few illustrators on Instagram, but recently the work of J.A.W. Cooper has been blowing me away. You know when you complete an illustration, take a step back and think to yourself, “Yes! Nailed it”. Well, that’s what I imagine Ms Cooper is doing every time right before she uploads a new picture to her Instagram.
Born in England but currently living in Los Angeles, Ms Cooper is a freelance illustrator, sculpture, jewelry maker and member of the Prisma Collective. Professionally she illustrates for the entertainment and advertising industry creating storyboards, concept and character design. Personally she frequently produces work for galleries. Her work has been exhibited in Gallery Nucleus, Spoke Art Gallery, and La Luz de Jesus Gallery.
J.A.W. Cooper regularly updates her blog. Which is of course filled with her beautiful artwork, and lots of photographs of her process. So much so that she set up a separate tutorial section just for it. Ms Cooper breaks down her process step-by-step and explains her thinking as well as highlight problematic areas of her process. It is full of good tips, and very helpful to see such detailed breakdowns of her work.
Much of Mr MacLean’s previous titles have been self published or crowd funded and often in collaboration with other creatives. Recently, however, it was announced that in Spring 2015 Dark Horse are set to release his new graphic novel, ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For End Times. A sizable 96 pages, Mr MacLean grab the reigns of all of the creative duties, right down to the lettering. You can gawk at a preview of ApocalyptiGirl on Comics Alliance.
Andrew MacLean’s style is, what I am dubbing, organic geometry. Simplified shapes, often very angular and quite exaggerated, push the human figure to unnatural proportions. Yet he keeps them looking fluid, kinetic and most importantly believable.
Belgium illustrator Laurent Durieux is best known for his retro-inspired movie posters. His work has graced the cover of The New Yorker, the sleeve of a Criterion Collection DVD, and the walls of Mondo gallery.
Laurent Durieux worked for two decades as a designer and teacher, relatively unknown outside outside of Brussels. That all changed after he contributed a piece, François à l’Americaine, for a show celebrating the French director, Jacques Tati. This led to Mr Laurent being selected as one of the top 200 illustrators by Lürzer’s Archive magazine.
In 2011 Laurent Durieux released a short animated film, Hellville, which was shown at various film festivals and earned him and his team a Gold Hugo Award nomination.
I’d Love to Draw is a collection of work by the innovative American artist Andrew Loomis, previously unseen by anyone outside the Loomis family and available in print for the first time ever. Having been held in the Loomis family archive for decades after the artist’s death, I’d Love to Draw has been restored by a group of devoted experts, including the globally renowned comic book artist and Loomis devotee Alex Ross.
Andrew Loomis started this book with the ambitious intention of bridging the gap between those who “can’t draw” and hobbyist. Before he passed away, he completed much of the writing, annotations, and sketches. Though some of the sketches are quite rough, they more than convey their point. Alex Ross plays co-author, and adds extra annotation where needed. I initially though his part would be quite small, writing a forward and maybe some extra thoughts, but Mr Ross actually has annotations throughout which are very helpful.
An important thing to remember is that this book is aimed at the absolute novice and so Mr Loomis pays careful attention to limit the art terminology, and breaks down processes to their simplest. Mr Loomis’ main focus is to change how a beginner thinks about drawing. He States that an amateur will focus on the contours of an object and attempt to draw them. This is of course very difficult even for seasoned illustrators. He goes into great depth to explain the importance of construction lines, and breaking down an object to its most basic shapes. Mr Loomis proceeds comfortably to reinforce this idea with a few examples of complex objects with their basic shape counterpart. The book is filled with some great tidbits, like this gem:
“We can only fake things we know thoroughly—otherwise we just put down the evidence of what we do not know.”
After addressing preconceptions and hopefully easing some of any initial fear, Mr Loomis proceeds to explain some of the most central areas of illustration including perspective, light, faces and figures. He spotlights cartooning and exaggeration, in attempt to convey the fun of drawing. Which actually did just that. I found it a really welcome section after the more technical information. The book concludes with different techniques of sketching: tonal, accent, scribble, block and more. This was definitely my favourite section as it pretty much doubles as a showcase of how inspiring and adept Andrew Loomis’ sketches are.
In all, I’d Love to Draw, is a worthy addition to the Loomis book collection and it is wonderful to see more of his work in print. I should stress that it won’t suit everyone. For those who already have a foot in illustration and draw regularly, this book may be a tad repetitious. Essentially it is a more accessible version of Successful Drawing. However, what it does do well and what it set out to do, to relieve the fear of having a go.
I will admit I have not sat to draw much lately, but as soon as I put this book down I picked my pencil up. Something about the “Getting the fun out of it” section really motivated me.
Published by Titan Books, I’d Love To Draw is out now, retailing at £29.99. I would recommend it mainly for beginners, those interested in illustration (and willing to give it a go), and definitely the Loomis enthusiast.
Very beautiful and ethereal work from 22 year old student, Yaphleen, also know as Yaya. Her deviantArt and tumblr house her gorgeous Studio Ghibli inspired illustrations. Each one explores a different style and technique, but each is executed proficiently.
Yaphleen explicitly states that these drawings were created in her free time and for her pleasure. She does not wish to sell prints, or take on any commissions at this time. It’s art for art’s sake and rather refreshing to see nowadays.