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Meet the Contrado Artists #14: Intricate Illustrations

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It’s time for the 14th edition of Meet the Contrado Artists: Intricate Illustrations

In the last meet the artists post, we took a look at the use of colour, specifically the bold and beautiful. This time we thought we would bring it back to the basics, and take a closer look at some intricate illustrations.

Meet the Illustrators

All of our artists this month use illustration in their work, and it creates an amazing, dramatic effect. Join us as we speak to them about where it all started, what sparks their imagination and where they find their inspirations.

illustration drawing

The Contrado Creatives

Avalana

Hazel from Avalana Design has been designing for around eight years now. Favouring illustrations and watercolour, her work features a lot of flora, fauna and animals. She entwines this with bold geometrics which are often inspired by spiritual geometry, celestial influences and those of bygone eras. Although her design style has evolved over the last eight years, flora and fauna have always been a staple of her work. The added elements and the intricacies are what came later.

Hazel uses trend analysis and market research in her thought process when creating a new design. She draws inspiration from everywhere and uses this to start painting and drawing. She then scans these and using a mixture of Photoshop, Illustrator and AVA she builds up the designs until they become the finished piece. Hazel’s main influences are Anahata Katkin aka PAPAYA! and she has recently discovered Bruno Penabranca. Alexander Mc Queen, Gucci, Delpozo and William Morris. She says

“It’s the symmetry thing again.”

illustrations avalana
Beautifully illustrated botanicals, bold geometric prints and maximalist statement pieces with a mystical twist.

Seraphim Soul

Kim from Seraphim Soul has more than six years of designing under her belt, inheriting her artistic streak from her mum’s side of the family. With a style that strongly features illustration and is detailed with a gothic twist, Kim is highly inspired by history, myths and fairy tales. The Seraphim Soul designs are aimed at anyone and everyone. She loves the diversity she sees in her customers, telling us that imagination has a universal appeal that everyone likes to tap into. She says:

“At fairs my customers can range from little girls, to middle aged ‘proper’ blokes, to ladies who are young at heart; and I LOVE that.”

Kim’s creative process sparks when she watches or reads something that she can mull over and obsess about. She researches this, reads more into it, starts to make plans and then begins to collect reference photos. From there she gets straight into it. Her illustrations can take up to four months to create, depending on the level of detail that she puts into each one. She works first and foremost in pen, and sometimes will add colour into her work digitally. Kim, however, favours tonal pieces, occasionally adding texture overlays.

illustrations seraphim soul
Seraphim Soul uses gothic and fantasy art by award winning illustrator Kim Fowler to create unique clothing & homeware products with an unusual twist.

Swade

Swade has always enjoyed drawing, and since a young age has been a creative soul. Growing up with severe Dyspraxia, he often used his drawings to portray how he was feeling and what he was thinking. Becoming more and more engrossed in the world of art as he grew up, and having an artistic family set him on the designer path. Designing as Swade since leaving college three years or so ago, he’s had a distinct style from very early on. Swade is drawn to bright colours that are strong and bold. Consisting mainly of abstract shapes and rich colour schemes, Swade’s work also includes lots of textures from close up photography and mark making with various objects.

Swade is inspired hugely by Van Gogh. From the moment he first looked at his work, he was sparked to create work which similarly used abstract shapes, lines and colours. He tells us that he is also inspired by so many things in his everyday life. From the shapes of shadows to landscape photography and images of mountains. He says:

“I surround myself with inspiration.”

Swade then uses this inspiration and starts with quick sketches of his ideas. He uses pen or paint to add more detailing, building up his illustrations. Once that is done he then digitally experiments with numerous colour schemes until he finds one that feels right. Swade finds texture to be very important to him, and he uses this at the end of his process to bring everything together.

illustrations swade
Swade is a young illustrator and graphic designer. He loves to play around with different colours, textures and shapes inspired by nature in his work.

Edge of The Meadow

Anjali from Edge of The Meadow has always had a passion for drawing patterns and colour. This led her to do an Art Foundation course, which guided her into a Textile Design degree. All of this was over 20 years ago. Since then, she has worked at an independent store in London – in the buying department – and as a freelance textile designer. With a family history of talent in both music and art, it’s no surprise that she has such an affection for creativity. Her style is elegant in appearance, vibrant, but with an edge. Anjali’s source of inspiration hasn’t changed much at all over the years, but she has begun to use photography as her medium and has noticed that this makes her style more colourful, dynamic and eclectic.

Having lived in the city, the country, the Far East and in Europe, Anjali uses her life of contrasts to inspire her work. She takes differences in cultures and concepts, and explores merging them to create something unique. Using this throughout her design process, Anjali tells us that it could translate in her work as taking city inspired geometrics and mixing them with countryside leaves and florals. She says:

“I love it when two polar ideas meet and set each other off. There is so much magic in exploring this concept and it helps to make sense of an increasingly fast changing world.”

Anjali says that she is inspired by David Hockney’s pragmatic approach to his artwork. His sketches are beautifully detailed and his colour use is bold and innovative. She loves how creative he is with technology.

illustrations edge of the meadow
Edge of the Meadow is a surface pattern brand specialising in vibrant printed products for the home.

Bloom and Gloom

Amy from Bloom and Gloom has always been a creative person. Around 10 years ago, she got into Fashion Design at college and tells us that it was an invaluable experience. Amy has always been drawn towards art, and so she decided to combine the two and went to University with a focus on Textile Design. Coming from a very creative family, Amy’s mum is fantastic with drawing still life, her brother and sister are great artists and she told us that her sister is also an amazing creative writer. Amy’s style is very distinct and this can be seen in the Bloom and Gloom designs. She uses dark colour palettes or a dark context, and then adds a softness or light to it. She says:

“My designs sometimes have imperfections that I like to keep. I work on creating imagery and effects that are unusual for the pattern or motifs.”

Amy uses a lot of research in her design process, so that she can understand her chosen subject the best she possibly can. She uses books, museums and even the internet to do this. Her research ends up as drawing and mark making using a variety of mediums, and working out print backgrounds. She also uses this research to come up with her layout ideas. Amy then draws motifs and chooses from those illustrations which ones she wants to use in the digital part of her process. From that point she will colour test with a basic design and then once she has that, she begins creating collages to use as patterns. A lot of Amy’s inspiration comes from her favourite designer, Haider Ackerman, often looking at his collection archive for textile inspiration. She told us that she is always inspired by Lord Frederick Leighton’s artwork. How he would be able to produce realistic paintings and capture a mood forever amazes her.

illustrations bloom and gloom
Bloom and Gloom collections have a melancholic demeanour. Inspiration is drawn from symbolism, art and historical contexts whilst incorporating nature to bring beauty, artisanal charm and originality to each piece.

Contrado Creatives

We have a number of incredible illustrators within our #ContradoCreatives community, who bring their illustrations to life on our curated marketplace. Browse through these designs, among many others and let us know what you think. We are always looking out for new talent, so if you want to partner with us, get in touch – we’d love to talk to you.

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