Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

Lorena Alvarez

 

I found the amazing work of Lorena Alvarez, a freelance illustrator from Bogotá, Colombia, over at Behance not too long ago. And her work is just gorgeous. They’re full of beautiful textures, colors and characters. Oh and her characters! They just seem to want to jump off the page in all their illustrated glory. Fairy tales, magic and adventure seem to be the subject matters that are close to her heart; as evidenced by her bio:

Each one of my pieces is an attempt to create a small, colorful and whimsical world. Nature as a protective and nurturing element is always present, embracing playful and elusive characters in a theatrical composition. Im deeply interested in color language, its formal qualities and symbolic meaning. An important part of my work process is putting together a strong color palette, always looking for surprising and unusual, yet pleasant matches.

Although most of my work is digital, it also includes photography, toy making and traditional media. I enjoy trying different techniques and understand their particular qualities in order to take my work to the next level. As I’ve developed my own way to work with materials like paper and fabric, my conceptual work has gained complexity. Drawing, sewing and cutting are ways to elaborate my thoughts about the projects I’m working on. I usually begin with a simple concept that evolves into a narrative piece with multiple associations and approaches that I find through sketching. This process helps me to create elaborated pieces with a strong presence that invites the viewer to sift through their details and discover their inner tales.

See more of her work at her website and follow along her journey on her blog.

Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld

I first came across Tom Gauld’s work on Flickr, and once I started looking, I couldn’t stop. Tom works in the UK as a cartoonist and illustrator; counting The Guardian and the New Yorker among his clients. His comics are filled with robots, astronauts hapless personalities that combines innocence with wry wit – there’s so much eloquence in his panels, delivered in a deft swift kick.  I read an interview from 2011 where he talks about what he does, and I wanted to share some snippets of the interview that I thought was really thought-provoking.

On  his working process:

I sit and think and doodle in my sketchbook until I have a good idea. Then I’ll make rough pencil sketches on copier paper till I have things worked out visually. Then I hone these sketches on paper and in photoshop till I have a rough version of the image which I can send to anyone who needs to approve it. Then I will print out the image and use a lightbox to trace an ink version which I crosshatch then scan back into the computer where I can clean it up, tweak bits and add any colour. I love using the computer but I try to stay away from it till I’ve done most of the thinking for an idea, looked at it from all sides, because I feel that once the computer is involved things are on an inevitable path to being finished. Whereas in my sketchbook the possibilities are endless.

 

Tom Gauld

 

On illustrating a book cover versus a cartoon:

I feel more pressure doing a book cover than almost anything else, I think “This author has probably spent years writing this book: I mustn’t mess it all up with a crap cover”. So I have to try and find a way to react to the book and make something which is suitable, but is also strong and interesting in its own way.

Tom Gauld

On how Edward Gorey has influenced his work:

I like that what he makes is unclassifiable: he makes picture books for adults which aren’t comics, many are self-published but they’re beautifully produced. I love his drawing, the odd narratives, the design of the books, the compositions, the hand drawn typography: everything really. The way I crosshatch (with small “patches” of short lines rather than long ones) I learned from Gorey.

On what he thinks is next for books and print:

One thing which might happen with the rise of e-books is that the books that DO get published in paper may have to justify themselves by being better made, designed and illustrated. That would make me happy.

Read the complete interview here. Also: another in-depth interview about his comic-drawing process that’s really good.

Links: Tom Gauld’s website | Flickr

His books: You’re All Just Jealous of My Backpack [Amazon link] | Goliath [Amazon link]

Pablo Bear Goes to Asia

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Two years ago, I met Pablo Ientile as he was working his way across Asia for his book. Now, 2 years later and with lots of stories under his belt, he’s running an Indiegogo campaign where you’ll be able to support his first ever production of the book that brings all of his experiences together – all bounded in a beautiful comic book.

With just 42 hours left to the clock on the Indiegogo campaign, this is your last chance to be a part of his first print run – the campaign is already a success, and as of this point in time has surpassed the €6,577 needed for him to kickstart things!

I did a little interview with Pablo to find out more about the process that lead up to the campaign:

Congratulations on your Indiegogo campaign Pablo! I’m really thrilled to have you with us to talk about your process from the beginning to where you are right now with raising money for your comic book. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the project?

Thank you Amy, my name is Pablo Ientile, I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I live and work in Berlin right now. I always wanted to make a big project with illustrations and I came up with an idea to combine it with another two of my favorites activities: traveling and meeting people. In the end, with all the ideas combined, I traveled to Asia for 6 months and met a lot of artist along the way, including you, Amy!

 

How did you get the idea to come up with having yourself as the main character in your comic book?

I needed someone to tell the story so I had to be the main character, but I didn’t want it to be a human being – so I decided I will be a bear and that’s how he became the main character. The words are all me though!

 

What was the scariest part about starting your project?

I struggled a lot before buying the first flight ticket to Kuala Lumpur, just because I was scared of the idea that spontaneously meeting artists along the way would never work out. But some of the artists I contacted before I left confirmed their participation and that made me feel more comfortable to give it a go.

 

How many artists did you meet on your journey, and how did you get to know them/approach them about your idea?

I met a lot of creative people, from many different fields and I featured around 40 artists in the book plus many creative meetings with young artists. It was a great decision to meet other artists along the way, it gave me a lot of inspiration and new ideas for the future. I hope I could inspire them too with my ideas.

 

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What were the few most important lessons that you’ve learnt throughout the 6 months journey for your book?

My first plan was to show my friends in Europe how Asia looks like but at the end I was surprised at how many other people were interested in my experiences too as I went along the way. I felt I was showing Asians how Asia looks like and that made me feel very happy.

 

How did you manage to save up enough money to travel? Did you have any help, or sponsorship throughout the journey?

I had saved up for a long time with the idea of making a big project one day, although at the time I didn’t know what that would be! I kept myself confident that it would be an unique project. I also started my first crowd funding campaign and the amount I’ve received from that represented only a small part of what I’ve spent, but it helped to get the travel done and helped me with my struggle along the way. The trust from the funders was very important to me and gave me confidence I needed for the project.

 

How has your life changed after your journey through Asia for your book?

A lot! When I came back I was already thinking about future trips, so I thought I will never be able to keep myself still, but after 3 months I started to plan the book so I kept myself busy creating it. I also had a lot of new freelance jobs because the project gave me some exposure as an artist too. Now I can safely say I’m really happy with the result of this project.

 

What did you do after your trip? How did you put your dreams of turning your experience into a book a reality?

First of all I scanned all the drawings I had. Then I tried to figure it out how the composition would be. At first I started doing a journal-like design, mixing pictures and drawings about my days in Japan – the first country I visited, but it didn’t  look like a professional book. I kept trying new things and I found out that a comic could be a good method for telling the story of my travels, but I had no idea how to make a comic! So after 6 months of trying, I finally had the first chapter ready and I started to send it to publishers, but with no results. So I asked myself: “do you want to continue with the rest of the story without having a publisher?” and I said “yes!”. Two years later I’m answering this interview for the crowd funding campaign of my first comic book!

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What is your advice for aspiring artists who look up to you as a role model?

I recommend to all new writers and illustrators that if you believe in an idea you should fight for it! So don’t give up too early, you can still learn a lot in the process. And never forget to have fun at work, you live only once.

 

Lastly, tell us something random about your trip! (any funny details or happenings, or even tips for traveling in Asia perhaps?)

The most amazing thing that happened to me in Asia was my experience with food! I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should travel to Asia at least once and try as much food as they can – for me it’s a big enough reason to go back.

Thanks so much Pablo!

You can support Pablo’s Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign here! (Hurry, there’s not much time left!)