Tagged: interview
  1. 5

    Nov 2015

    Interview with Dan Ungureanu

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    To celebrate the release of the first book in the Sir Foxley-Fox series, General Falconius Fox and the Roman Invasion of Britain written by Andrew Lauder and illustrated by Dan Ungureanu, The Lounge was given the wonderful opportunity to interview Dan about the book and his process.

    Can you tell us about your path into professional illustration?
    My first attempt to illustrate a book was in 2010, when I was invited to work on a small poem book for children and I couldn’t refuse the challenge. Before that project I had worked as a storyboard artist and character designer for an animation studio, so I found it very easy moving from one field to another. Also, in the past few years I had the chance to experiment different techniques and mediums, from painting (my bachelor degree) to graphic design and app design.

    In 2013 I decided to enrol in the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art, feeling the need to learn more about the field. It was one of my greatest experiences as I learned a lot from the great tutors and colleagues. During the course I found the courage to write my own stories. My first written and illustrated book will be launched in the spring of 2016, called “Nara and the Island” published by Andersen Press. During the two years I spent in Cambridge I entered several contests for illustrators. I was highly commended in 2014 at The Macmillan Prize, my work was exhibited at the Cheltenham Illustration Awards in 2014, and I was 2015’s V&A Illustration Student Award Runner-up.

    What was it about the Sir Foxley Fox stories that attracted you to the project?
    The first thing that attracted me was the idea to illustrate a novel for kids, as I had never had the chance to work on such a project. Then the idea of animal characters along with humans in the same image stimulated my imagination, and when I found that the story was historically based, I knew I had made a good decision. Considering the non-fictional aspect of the text, I really researched the clothes, architecture and landscapes for the project, which was something I really enjoyed doing.

    With many memorable Fox characters throughout history, what steps did you take to make Sir Foxley Fox unique?
    As the story is based on true facts, I couldn’t stylise the characters too much, so I tried to have a more realistic look at both the fox and human characters. The process of creating the fox character was easier as the description in the text gave me enough details. I immediately envisioned the look of both Sir Foxley-Fox and Falconius from the first reading.

    Can you describe your creative process for the book?
    Andrew sent me the prologue in order to familiarize me with the characters and the text. I drew the first page, the one with Mr. and Mrs. Foxley-Fox sleeping and holding paws, where I tried to set the character’s appearance, the Victorian age by clothes style and all the other details. We agreed on these aspects, so I started sketching the full page images and the vignettes. As the text describe all the scenes so well, and is based on historical facts, it was pretty easy to put together each image.

    Can you describe your working environment and the main illustration tools you use?
    In almost all of my projects I mix techniques. I like the complexity of pencil marks, from soft lines to dark shades. I like to emphasize these tangible effects with limited digital colour pallets. So my main tools are pencils and Photoshop, but for other projects I’ve used watercolours and coloured pencils as well.

    What has been the most satisfying part of the project?
    Working on this project was a joy, from the first drawing right to the last one. I think the most enjoyable part was the research and the wide range of scenes I had to illustrate. So, with each image I had to work on different aspects, things that made the process very diverse and complex.

    What are some of the new things you have learned?
    Besides the historical facts from the text, it was a good challenge to match the images with the text. The pacing of images is different in novels than in picture books for instance, so I think I’ve learned how to adapt illustrations to a novel book.

    What was the best bit of creative advice given to you?
    Draw, draw and draw. The first part of my first year in Cambridge was marked by the observational drawing, and then I learned that the best created images are rooted in observation. After a month of daily observational drawings, new characters and situations came to me much easier than usual.

    We love sharing inspirations and likewise hearing other people’s. Can you tell us 3 of your favorite illustrators and why?
    The list is very long and various, and is very hard to find just three illustrators. But if I must, I would say Shaun Tan for the lyrical and silent images, Alexis Deacon for the storytelling of his compositions and the quality of his work, and Emily Hughes for the playfulness and childish approach to the illustration.

    Are there any illustration projects would you love to do in the future?
    I would love to work on a classic novel like “Wind in the willows” and I would like to finish my non-fiction graphic novel about my friend Eli.

  2. 25

    Jun 2014

    Interview ~ John Harris

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    Last month saw Titan’s release of The Art of John Harris – Beyond the Horizon. A carefully curated collection of artist John Harris’ recent work and older pieces. It’s large format beautifully showcases a variety of Mr. Harris’ futuristic paintings, sketches, acrylics and watercolours.

    To celebrate, Titan Books very kindly gave us the opportunity to interview John Harris about the book and his career.

    Q. You have dedicated over 30 years to Sci-Fi. What attracted you into the genre, and what is it about Sci-Fi that has sustained your interest?

    A. The sense of a larger perspective, wider horizons, the unknown, something about the evolutionary possibilities of Man. All of that.

    Q. You often seem to combine of the fantastical with the plausible, incorporating building and mechanical structures that are familiar. Is this a conscious effort to make your worlds more believable?

    A. Yes, this is a crucial point, mixing the possible with the apparently impossible. We may pretend to know the difference but actually, we just don’t know what is possible. Embedding fantasy within the known and credible, makes it easier to relate to, and also raises the question ‘how?’. There is excitement there, in that question.

    Q. Born in London, you now live and work in Devon. How much do you think your environment influences your work?

    A. Yes, living in a rural setting has definitely shaped a lot of the imagery. The weather and the light that springs from it makes its presence felt in much of the work. And the cycle of growth and decay which is always in your face here, is constantly finding its way in.

    Q. Do you stick to a routine when producing your artwork?

    A. No, I try to break routines when I become aware of them. When I get into habits of production, I start repeating myself in the work.

    Q. How important is it for you that the final image matches the vision you have in your head?

    A. This is a delicate point. I do usually have a clear image in my head to begin with, but inevitably accidents occur (and I encourage these), which may suggest alternative directions. I try to keep open to them. But some images are imperative and demand to be produce, willy nilly.

    Q. At the Lounge our primary goal is to widen artists’ pool of inspiration. So who are the artist/illustrators that inspire you?

    A. Just about every artist I have ever seen, has something I would like to have. I think all artists are basically magpies and too many to mention have contributed to what I am.

    That said, when I was a student, I identified very closely with the work of the English Romantics like Turner and John Martin. They influenced my direction, as did the Surrealists. From a technical point of view, Whistler was a great teacher for me and more recently Graham Sutherland. All very Old School, I know.

    Q. Reading about your career, you have achieved a great deal. So what’s on the horizon for you? Do you have any artistic goals that you are still chasing?

    A. I feel (like most artist, I suspect) that I’ve hardly started. And yet, looking at the collection in this book, I see that I’m travelling in a definite direction. But what the goal is, who knows? That’s beyond the horizon.

  3. 15

    May 2013

    Isabel Seliger

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    Isabel Seliger was born in Germany, 1984. She studied Illustration and Comics at the School of Art & Design Kassel and she is now taking commissions. Her work can be quite intricate and a little abstract at times, and she tackles some interesting topics in her work (dwarf portraits intrigued me…) She has been interviewed over at Light Grey Art Lab, if you’d like to read a little more about her.

  4. 21

    Jan 2013

    Manga Mondays ~ Wenqing Yan

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    Wenqing Yan has an unusual mixture of work; from cute and fun, to despair and abstract, I find a lot of her work really captivating. The most interesting illustrations for me are the surreal works, full of imagination and fantasy. There is an excellent interview on The Daily Californian, if you’d like to find out more about her.

    Sidenote: I Googled Wenqing Yan and it was interesting to find an ‘award winning artist’ copying one of her illustrations!

    See Wenqing Yan’s Deviant Art page for more. You’re in good company, she’s had over 8 million page views and counting…

  5. 20

    Jul 2012

    Fashion Fridays ~ Mats Gustafson

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    In the world of fashion there is a constant push and pull over the dominate medium splashed over the magazines. Mats Gustafson began his career in the 1970s where all the magazines were ripe with photography, with very little look in for illustration, and even less for abstract watercolours. He graduated from Scandinavian Drama Institute in Stockholm in 1976 and immediately got a job as a costume designer for Swedish television. His break into fashion came in 1978 where he had his first fashion illustration published in British Vogue. That lead the path to illustrating for American Vogue, Interview, Marie Claire, and the New York Times Magazine. He has helped developed advertising campaigns for Hermès, Tiffany & Co., Yohji Yamamoto.

    Mr. Gustafson soft monotone palette, and ever so delicate brush strokes actually combine to create truly powerful imagery. This technique leaves very little room for mistakes, as there is no covering it up, which gives you a deeper level of appreciation of his work. So can see more of Mats Gustafson’s work on his website.

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