Identifying Tools and Materials

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Style is a much discussed topic among ilustrators. Some advocate having one style and sticking to it which clearly means finding a style to begin with. Others seem to have success by distinguishing between the different styles they can work in.

For this exercise I selected gouache as a medium to research as I have started illustrating my book with it and wanted to explore how other illustrators work. Initially I searched in Fifty Years of Illustration and found about 6 illustrators working in gouache. This didn’t seem like many as I had previously read that gouache is a very popular medium for illustrators, although possibly some of the illustrations labelled as ‘book or album covers’ may have also been gouache. I also searched on AOI and theispot but neither indicated clearly whether the illustration was rendered with gouache. I searched on ChildrensIllustrators because it was clearer about medium. I found a number of illustrators using gouache in ‘100 Illustrators’ but the majority of the work in these books seems to be digital.

Hashtag FlatI organised the illustrators I found according to whether:
  • they used metaphore
  • worked in a whimsical style
  • worked in a flat style
  • worked in a 3d style
  • used distortion/exageration
  • worked in a cartoon style
  • worked in a fantasy style
  • worked in a caricature style
  • worked in a surreal style

by tagging them within this ‘Gouache Illustrators’ Pinterest board. Some of the illustrators fell into 2 or more categories.

Dave Carver

From the initial artwork of this artist I viewed I described him as working mainly with distortion. However, having looked at his other works on his website he also employs metaphor and a cartoon style in some images. I really liked the curvy lines he used in the original image and the sense of movement in the piece, which was why I chose this artist.

Zohar Lazar

Zohar’s illustrations tend to be moody and he has a focus on the surreal. His characters in particular have a surreal zombie-like appearance. His style is very different to mine although I enjoy the atmosphere he creates which is neither overly gory nor boring. In the original image I selected he uses a smudgy background and lots of gooey drips.

My Adaptations

I chose the linework for the ‘view point’ exercise to rework in the styles of these two different artists.



Update Following Feedback

Dave Carver work selectionHaving looked again at Dave Calver’s work, his style seems typefied by simple, smooth shapes and gradients produced by, what appears to be, a stippling effect; rather than the overly ‘bendy’ way of depicting his subjects that I had first thought. In contrast Zohar Lazar’s work seems to be produced using a more watercolour way of working with gouache.

Dave Calver approach updatedI think this second attempt is closer to the overall style of Dave Calver and also that the distribution of colours is more balnced making the composition more pleasing.

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