ISSUE 10 / HUMOR / RYAN CHAPMAN / JENNI SPARKS
Notes Showcasing humor in work does not come easy for all, but for some illustrators it’s second nature. It’s great to see when an artist’s personality shines through in their work. It adds more character and enhances the meaning. In this issue we explore this theme and interview Ryan Chapman and Jenni Sparks. Ryan has a really sharp style and manages to add a bit of lighthearted humor when necessary to his pieces. He has done work for the New York Times, Google and Grove Made, among others. Jenni’s work is an extension of her personality. Her “Music Monday” series often takes a humorous turn on her blog, and her portfolio is filled with expressive quotes and characters. Two and half years ago PeculiarBliss started with a simple idea of featuring artists that have a unique approach to their work, with a theme everyone can contribute to and partake in. Today, we are at issue 10, and we couldn’t have imagined reaching this point. As we celebrate this milestone, we are also taking a hiatus from the magazine. It has been a wonderful experience exchanging ideas with everyone. Thanks to all who have contributed. We greatly appreciate your support. Thanks to all of the featured artists that have made this experience even more amazing. Special thanks to Shannon and Hannah for all their hard work on the magazine. We’ll be back at some point in the future and hope you’ll join us on this creative adventure again. Vaughn Fender, Editor/Publisher @vaughnfender
Peculiarbliss Issue TEN PeculiarBliss.com is a stream of doodles and images, featuring creative, original works from sketchbooks and other mediums in one location, with the hope to inspire continued creative thinking. PeculiarBliss Magazine is the quarterly continuation of this effort. This issues theme: “Humor” Cover & Back Cover Images: Ryan Chapman
â€œHumor in my work is very natural. I think if you are doing something honest your personality will come through in your work.â€? Page 19
Photo by Erle Taklai
“Humor” - Lucy Driscoll
Lew Currie - “HUMOR”
“HUMOR” - Lucy Freegard
Camille Dagal - “HUMOR”
“HUMOR” - Alexandra Hundsdorfer
Jenni Sparks loves music. She loves music so much she draws upon it every Monday in her “Music Monday” series. Graduating from the University of Plymouth, UK in 2011, she’s been building a bold, colorful and humorous portfolio of lettering and illustration.
Tell us a bit about yourself? My name is Jenni Sparks, I’m an illustrator originally from the South West of England and currently living in London. What was your school experience like? I was a bit rubbish for the first year studying illustration, because although I knew I could draw, I was going through the motions trying to find my ‘style.’ As the years progressed, and through the help of my tutors, I slowly grew in confidence and that was it, I knew that I wanted to draw for the rest of my life. Can you describe your work process? It varies from day to day, but it mainly involves a lot of drawing, coffee, and swearing. Where/Who do you look to for inspiration? Ideologically, I look at the everyday for inspiration–ketchup bottles, cigarette packets, trashy magazines, bad TV, hen nights, pubs. I try not to actively look at other illustrators’ work too much as I’ll just get jealous, but I really love the cartoonist Natalie Dee and her brilliant sense of humour.
“It’s an incredibly therapeutic
thing to sit down, put a great
album on and draw all day...
I wanted to express that love
and as I can’t create music,
I can at least try to draw it.”
Photos by Benjamin Muir
â€œThings That Hipsters Like â€? 11
Illustration, Digital Personal project which was then turned into a giclee print to be sold in my online store.
What made you start your “Music Monday” drawing series? I’ve always listened to music full blast when drawing, I find it hard to separate the two. It’s an incredibly therapeutic thing to sit down, put a great album on and draw all day. I guess I wanted to express that love and as I can’t create music, I can at least try to draw it. What’s on your current playlist? A mixture of stuff: Washed Out, Boys Noize, Hot Chip, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Simian Mobile Disco, and Major Lazer. I flip between genres a lot. Your personality and humor shine through your work. How do you actively maintain that in your work? I guess it just something that happens! I don’t want to be someone who tries too hard to be funny. I think that’s the worst thing you can do. I think the beauty of being an illustrator is that you almost have to use your personality and incorporate it into your work, it makes it so much stronger. If you’re a funny person, be funny. If you’re dark, be dark. If you love nature, express it in your drawing. What has been your most personal piece to date? Probably a piece that I did recently for Puck Studio who were exhibiting at Pick Me Up graphic art fair. They gave us free reign, and because I felt so honoured to be part of it, I wanted to pay tribute to my background and say thanks to my mother for her support. The image is a over-crowded pattern of caravans—I used to work on a holiday park in my hometown and she now manages one, and caravans played a big part in our lives. “Spirit” Illustration, Digital Designed for Don’t Panic to be distributed in their packs and also sold in their poster shop.
Do you see your work evolving into animation? Absolutely, I would love to work on an animation. I would really like to work on something set to music, as this would combine my two favorite things!
Above - “Cheap and Cheerful ” Illustration, Digital Part of my ‘Music Monday’ series.
Top Left - “The Queen” Illustration, Digital Personal Project.
Left - “Tourist Season” Illustration, Digital Commissioned by Puck Studio to be sold and displayed as a screen-print at Pick Me Up graphic art fair 2012.
“Gossip Magazine” Illustration, Digital Personal Project.
Selections from the ‘Music Monday’ series.
“Oh Snap” Illustration, Digital Personal Project.
Can you tell us about your recent Hand-Drawn map of London project? I was commissioned by a wonderful company called Evermade.com to produce a map of London that didn’t go down the usual tourist route and instead reflected all the different facets of the city. As 2012 is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year and the Olympics, the world is going to be looking at London and it was great to be able to kind of show the city in all it’s glory. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but so rewarding in so many ways. I feel like I’ve learned so much from the process. Are there any companies or other artists you would like to work with? I’d love to work with a clothing company to make some nice t-shirts, or a band. In terms of other creatives, I’d really like to work with Kate Moross, as I think she is wonderfully multi-talented and I could learn a lot from her! Plus she loves music as much as I do. What’s next? Much of the same: drawing, coffee and swearing. I wouldn’t have it any other way! END 16
“Catalogue Men” Illustration, Digital Personal Project.
Visit Jenni’s website for more info:
www.JenniSparks.com Keep up with her “Music Monday” Series here:
Abe Honest - “HUMOR”
“HUMOR” - Jade Alexandra Spranklen
Ryan Chapman Photos by Erle Taklai
With a crisp, clear cut style, Ryan Chapman moves easily from illustration to painting to sculpture. His work can be seen in some of your favorite publications and online features. Residing in East London, he brings a subtle, clever sense of humor to his pieces— whether client based or personal.
Can you tell us about your path to becoming a full time illustrator? After high school, I fell into a National Diploma course at Newcastle College studying Graphic Design. After I graduated I worked a few creative jobs, but got a little frustrated with the industry and the way illustrators/freelancers were treated. So I took a big break and traveled, surfed, worked random jobs and lived a really good, simple life for a while. When I came back to illustration a few years later, I had a whole new outlook and approach to my personal work. I stripped down my character work and color palette to a simpler form, then I set about creating a body of work I was happy with and started approaching clients I thought might enjoy my work. How do you approach your projects? The style is similar but I approach them a little differently. For the commercial work the turn around can be pretty quick so it’s almost in and out in a few days, which can be great as it keeps you on your toes and always thinking. With personal work. I prefer to work a little slower and work with materials like paint and clay. Is there a preference between your illustration work vs. your paintings? My paintings I guess are a little more minimal than the commercial work and there is a lot more room left for personal interpretation. The main thing I try to create with the paintings is clean lines and block colors. I really try to make it look almost like it’s not painted and it might of been created using a computer or screen print. With the commercial work it’s just about getting that good balance of a personal touch, but what also fits for the client.
â€œSeeing different places and cultures can add so much to your outlook on things.â€?
Can you tell us about your work process? All the commercial work I do is done on computer. I start off with reading the brief a good few times to really get a strong idea for the project. Then I start sketching out ideas, roughs, suggestions to send to the client. Once one idea has been approved (which isn’t always as straight forward as that) I create the finished artwork in illustrator. It’s such a great way to work if you have a tight deadline and also really handy if you’re on the move.
“Origin Coffee” Illustration, Digital Bag artwork for Origin Coffee’s new South American blend with hints of tropical fruit.
How have your travels influenced your work? Yeah a fair bit. Just seeing different places and cultures can add so much to your outlook on things, which then comes through in your work. I lived a few years around the Scandinavian countries and it really opened me up to a whole new style if illustration. I was really drawn to the old 60’s and 70’s children’s books with flat and minimal color palettes they have, just simple and direct. How does humor work its way into your pieces? Humour in my work is very natural. I think if you are doing something honest, your personality will come through in your work. Sometimes the job brief requires more of a witty or humorous approach and it is always interesting to try and get a message out through humour. Also I use a lot of bright flat colors so I think that helps to create that happy, humorous vibe. 22
Materials/Mediums you can’t do without? Right now I’d have to say a computer, it’s such an easy way to get the work done to a level I’m happy with, not to mention the fact you can work for clients in other countries as easy as if they were right here in London. The internet plays such a big role in freelance illustration that you can do it anywhere, anytime. It’s amazing. You recently took part in a group show called “Cut & Run” at the Kemistry Gallery in London. How did this show come together? I had just moved back to the UK and had been toying with the idea of putting on a small illustration show in London, I got in touch with three illustrators whose work I really liked Matthew Dent, Jack Teagle and Matthew Bromley–all of which I had met or spoken to over the last year and it all just came together really easily. In regards to the space. I approached Kemistry Gallery which was my first choice. They have had some amazing shows in the past with people like Geoff Mcfetridge and Parra. I thought it would be a long shot, but they were really into the idea and concept behind it. The show Opened early January 2012 and had a really great response.
Clay Sculpture Experimenting with different materials.
“Inside Out / Open Mind” Clay Sculpture One off original sculpted/painted figures for the ‘No Place Else’ show at LCB Gallery, London.
What is your ideal workspace? Something with a lot of natural light, quiet and a lot of room to have 2-3 different projects going at the same time. I used to share an amazing top floor warehouse space with a few photographers, graphic designers and film makers. It was a great place with so much light we had a lot of musical instruments in the space, a ping pong table and a nice library. It was a super place to create and relax, not to mention it was a steal.
Who are some of the most influential people you have met so far? Since moving to East London a few months ago, I’ve had the chance to bump into a few people whose work I really admire. It’s funny because with certain people you almost expect them to be like the characters in their work and in some ways, a few are. I had the pleasure of meeting James Jarvis a few times at various openings and events. It’s really nice to talk with people whose work is such a big influence. He’s a cool chap.
Do you collaborate with other artists? And if so, tell us a bit about recent collaborations. Not so much; it’s something I would really like to do if the right collab came along. I have been playing with the idea of working with a few illustrators/artists on some limited resin toys, so maybe we’ll were that goes.
Can you tell us a bit about your experimentation with different materials like the Volcano piece? I like playing around with various materials to see if I can create the same look as the illustrated characters, sometimes they turn out ok and others not so much. The clay pieces really just came together because we
“Cut & Run Show” Kemistry Gallery Show.
“Concrete Wave & Smoke on Water” Acrylic on Canvas Kemistry Gallery Show.
“Up Up & No Way” Acrylic on Canvas Kemistry Gallery Show.
must have Books in RYAN’s Library
Babel New Treehouses Of The World Pete Nelson It’s a great book and full of just amazing imagery, and a really great way to look at the world.
Jim Houser One of my favorite artists, his style and approach to everything he does just really fantastic.
Surfing Photography From The 60’s / 70’s LeRoy Grannis Really great style and characters throughout the whole book. I look to these types of books a lot for inspiration for my personal work.
How To Be An Illustrator Darrel Rees It’s a really great book and taught me a lot about how to approach the freelance illustration industry.
Pictoplasma Character Compendium Pictoplasma It was just released in May and is packed full of really great character work. I was lucky enough to have a very small bit featured in it.
“Submarine” Etching, Iphone Case Laser engraved bamboo iPhone4 case in collaboration with Portland company Grove.
had some children’s plastercine in the studio and I decided to make a few bits. It’s funny because I got a really good response from those and it was really just for fun on a sunny afternoon. How did you get involved with creating clay figures from your illustrated characters? The figures were something I had wanted to do for a while, something to sit along side the paintings to add a little bit more depth to the paintings. With the Golden Delicious figure, I decided to try my hand a resin casting. It’s a process were you make a silicone mold of your original sculpture and pour liquid resin into the mold to reproduce the model. Sounds a lot easier than it was, but was still a lot of fun. I made a limited edition of only 15 with each one hand painted. It was a really great to see the characters in a 3D form and definitely something I will do again, maybe next time on a little larger scale.
Your “Submarine” design was used for a wooden iPhone case–how did this come about? When they asked if I had any ideas, I knew I wanted to do something that represented travel and exploring. The idea that we explore and discover new things everyday with our iPads/iPhones is sort of the meaning behind the design. Originally, the idea was to incorporate the camera on the iphone into the submarine design, ideally the periscope, but it just didn’t fit well into the space so I left it out. How was the experience of seeing your work etched into wood? The people at Grove are amazing. Once the project was released, they sent me a few samples which just look stunning. I was a little worried some of the smaller detail would be lost with it being etched, but its so clean. They do such a good job and the products they make are really nice. I have actually just finished a second Continuation piece with them this time for the iPad, called ‘Deep Search’ and I think it will be out sometime in the next month or two.
“Orange Mobile” Illustration, Digital Character artwork for Orange Mobile on the theme of “Orange Announcements.”
“General Electric” Illustration, Digital Illustration for General Electric’s Ecomagination on the use of Renewable Energy in NASCAR racing.
“King Jack In The Box” Illustration, Digital I illustrated the story of “King Jack In The Box” for the Autum edition of the amazing magazine Anorak.
â€œGlamping & Treehouseâ€? Illustration, Digital Illustrations and icons for Lufthansa Airlines inflight magazine German Wings on alternative camping in Europe.
Is there any other medium you would consider working in? I would like to work a little more with wood in the future. I did a ‘Ship In a Bottle’ edition for the ‘Cut&Run’ show which I really enjoyed. Each ship was made out of wood and was designed so that it could be built up almost like LEGO inside these old 50’s milk bottles. I called the ships ‘The Zinc Aquatic Sea Scout’ and my idea was to re-create the traditional ‘Ship In A Bottle’ but with a modern/minimal twist, maybe something that would sit on a bookshelf in someones home.
“The New York Times” Illustration, Digital Illustration for The New York Times Op-Ed page on whether college drop-outs are better off than graduates.
You collect cameras? Yeah I have a few I have picked up in various thrift stores or auctions. I like old polaroid land cameras best. The film is pretty steep, but I just like having that physical framed photo in your hand once you take that picture; it’s really nice. I was lucky enough to win a photography competition a year or so back with Sony. As a prize, they gave a me a new Sony camera to test out while mountain biking in the Alps in Switzerland. It was a cool few days. Can you tell us about any upcoming personal projects? I have just finished writing a children’s book I’m hoping to finally send out to publishers. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while now. Also I’m working on a few commercial bits which I don’t think I can say much about, and doing a few screen prints for various group shows happening over the next few months in London. But who knows. Freelance is so unpredictable you can never really tell whats going to happen until the project is actually finished and in your hands. END
Visit Ryan’s website for more info:
www.Ryan-Chapman.com Keep up with him on Twitter:
@ryanxchapman “Computer Arts Magazine Icons” Illustration, Digital 10 icon illustrations for Computer Arts Magazine for “Managing Client Expectations” written by Michael Gough Director of Sparks Studio.
ISSUE 10 Editor / Designer Vaughn Fender www.vaughnfender.com @vaughnfender
Writer / Editor Hannah Fichandler @247main
Writer / Educator Shannon Duggan @sduggs
Follow us on twitter @PeculiarBliss Check out the FEED PeculiarBliss.Tumblr.com
Contributors Jenni Sparks www.JenniSparks.com
Alexandra Hundsdorfer www.alexandrahundsdorfer.brushd.com
Ryan Chapman www.Ryan-Chapman.com
Abe Honest www.flickr.com/photos/abehonest
Lucy Driscoll www.lucydriscoll.com
Jade Alexandra Spranklen www.spranklen.com
Lew Currie www.lewisillustration.tumblr.com
Chris Piascik www.chrispiascik.com
Lucy Freegard www.lucyfreegard.com
Jessica Hunt www.jeshunt.co.uk
Camille Dagal www.camilledagal.blogspot.com
ISSUE 10 - Q2 - 2012
Chris Piascik - “HUMOR”
“HUMOR” - Jessica Hunt
Chris Piascik - “HUMOR”
THANKS FOR READING.
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This issues theme was “HUMOR”. Featuring interviews with Ryan Chapman and Jenni Sparks. A big thanks to all who have contributed and helped...
Published on Aug 3, 2012
This issues theme was “HUMOR”. Featuring interviews with Ryan Chapman and Jenni Sparks. A big thanks to all who have contributed and helped...