New Orleans JazzFest

This was a really fun commission to do. The client wanted it as a present for a friend who is into jazz, and they simply asked that there be a woman singing and a guy with a sax in a jazz scene. After illustrating the two characters I felt that adding anything more to it than a bit of typography would ruin the composition. I went back and forth as to whether the singer should have a black or a white dress, but I think the white balances the composition quite well as it draws the eye. I added a bit of texture to give the piece that old/distressed look and then created the jazz logo so the poster would look authentic.

Overall I’m really pleased with this one, so it probably means no one else will like it, as typically any of my work that I dislike gets the opposite reaction. I feel like I’m hitting my stride with this style of character design at the moment and it doesn’t feel boring or gimmicky – a feeling I was getting about the houses I was going crazy with a couple months ago. Anyway, all I can do is keep beavering away and trust the process – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Cheers

Matt

Editorial mock-up

This is just a bit of practice to see how my style might fit around an article – don’t try to read the text, it’s just made up rubbish to give the piece a bit of realism… I mean you can try if you want, but it might make your brain bleed.

I’ve been looking a lot at the work of Satoshi Hashimoto and Tommy Parker in the hopes that their skill and mastery of this type of work will rub-off on me, while being mindful not to straight-up copy their style. I ‘m trying to simplify the characters, shapes, and colours to make the illustrations striking and easily readable. I’m also focusing on drawing things from everyday life which tends to be a main-stay of these kind of pieces, the downside to this is that if I get too generic I could suffer from appealing everybody, which results in appealing to no one.

Cheers

Matt

Coffee

This piece and the previous one have really been an experiment in how to add painterly touches to my digital work. You might ask be asking yourself, “Well if he wants to make his work look painted then why doesn’t he just use real paint?” The simple answer is time.

I almost always start a piece with series of pencil sketches to create the bare bones of the idea I want to develop. From there I’ll go in to photoshop and refine the sketch over and over until I have a design that I think works. I terms of the image above I literally had the barista pouring milk into the coffee cup without the heart shape. This next part is why I tend to not to work traditionally.

If I was to have painted everything traditionally up to this point there would be very little room to change what I had made. I’m one of those people that struggles to do loads and loads of rough drawings (because I’m impatient and I want to make a start on my idea right away) and because of this inability to plan ahead, I would have had to start all over again in order to incorporate any new ideas I might have that may have showed up in the roughs (were I to do them… which I don’t).

The beauty of working digitally (at least for me) is that I can continue to iterate, redo, rework, and change canvas size without having to scrap pages or scrape oil paints off. In working this way I save myself an immense amount of time and materials. The added bonus to this is that I don’t have to get messy, clean brushes, palettes etc…

Don’t get me wrong, I love traditionally painted work and the mastery required to use it. I often play with the idea of using it more often as a part of my practice, and I don’t doubt for a moment that my work would be worth significantly more were I to paint in this way. However the pros of working digitally far outweigh the cons in my opinion, but that is after all, just MY opinion.

Cheers

Matt

Tour De France

This is more of a prep piece than anything because I’ve got a commission on for a Tour de France poster. I wanted to experiment with giving the work a more traditionally painted look by adding texture and inconsistencies in the application of lines and paint. If I’m honest I’m really happy with how this turned out. The narrow use of colour is always something I try to stick to these days because it makes the composition more harmonious. The bold colours and and limited value (tone) range are also a focus now and tend to be indicative of my current style. The typography is my own making, but is heavily based around the Art Deco aesthetic.

Cheers

Matt

Just Run

Feels like it’s been a while since I last posted! Sorry about that… I’ve got lots of work on at the moment, which might take me a couple of weeks to clear, but it’s a good problem to have. Most of these pieces of work are private commissions, but a couple are editorial illustrations for publications, so hopefully this is the start of something good (fingers crossed).

I’m not sure where the inspiration image above came from, but I went for a run earlier so maybe that did it. The landscape is meant to reflect Chino Hills in California at dusk.

Cheers

Matt

Not Quite My Tempo

This was such a frustrating piece to complete! I went back and forth for ages as to whether I should make the composition landscape, but eventually settled on portrait because all the others are same and it would break up the series. The background characters were the main issue because I just couldn’t find a way to fit them around the main character, so I had to get inventive in order to make them visible. I think perhaps because I feel like I have to make a series of these – and they have to be good – I’m thinking too much and over doing it, which is why this one felt more forced than the other two. The name of the piece has been taken from the film “Whiplash”, and again if you haven’t seen it then go sort yourself out!

Cheers

Matt

Slap-da-Bass!

I didn’t technically say I was going to do another one of these but it was heavily implied, so here it is. I’ve got two more I’d like to get around to doing as part of this series, that being a drummer and a singer, but don’t hold me to that! This character took quite a few roughs to get the look I wanted, which is made all the more difficult because I’m trying to use as few brush strokes/pencil lines as possible (a bit like some of Picasso’s work). Those of you that have watched the film “I Love You, Man” will know that’s where the title for the piece has come from, for those of you that haven’t watched the film… what the hell is wrong with you?! It’s a classic! Go watch it! Slap-da-bass, man!

Cheers

Matt