Illustration

An Interview With Linocut Artist Sue Todd

Sue Todd is a brilliant illustrator based out of Toronto and living in two worlds, the analog and the digital. She’s literally carved out a niche with her linocut technique, which she then colors digitally, thus enjoying a variety of activities to fire her passion for problem solving with imagery. Her client list includes Barnes and Noble, Crown Publishing, Pearson Education, Klutz Press, Andrews McMeel Accord, The Wall Street Journal, the American Bar Association, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Walmart Canada and more.

We recently had the opportunity to have a chat with Sue about her art, her inspirations and her obsession with Marie Antoinette.

Tell us a little about what your process is like. 

Everything begins in my sketchbook where I scribble ideas and develop characters. Once I have established a particular look, I create a small dummy, about half size, to keep a consistency and flow throughout the story. After approval of rough sketches, I begin my final art process.

My technique is linocut, which is a form of relief printmaking similar to woodcut. The medium is linoleum, just like the flooring material but without the finish. With relief printing you carve away the bits you don’t want and whatever is left will be the image that is rolled with ink and printed on paper. I have a table-top press for smaller images and use an old fashioned burnisher and lots of muscle for larger pieces. The black and white print is then scanned and colored in Photoshop.

How is Linocut Art Used Commercially?

Linocut art can be used in pretty much all the same ways as more traditional illustration methods. My work has been applied to all kinds of commercial products ranging from something as small as a flash drive to the children’s health-mobile that was wrapped in my art and driven all around Phoenix. I’ve had work in a TV commercial, on t-shirts, posters, signage, coffee mugs, shopping bags, pens, books, magazines and greeting cards.

 How did you come to start working in linocut?

I had another career before illustration, as a layout artist in retail advertising. This was the pre-digital era when dinosaurs roamed the earth. We designed and drew by hand every catalog, flyer and newspaper ad to create a guide or map for photographers, typographers and assembly artists. As digital technology took over, all of these positions eventually became amalgamated into one: the designer. While this change was occurring in the industry, I felt the need for a personal change and began looking around for a creative outlet. My husband introduced me to linocut and I fell in love with printmaking, a love affair that continues to this day. A friend saw my work and suggested I turn it into an illustration style. I took her advice and never looked back.

 What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of what you do?

Undoubtedly the most challenging part of any assignment is the conceptual stage before the rough sketches have gelled. I sometimes call it the ‘drowsy rough stage’ because I feel an overwhelming desire to take a nap. Even after all these years there is still the nagging fear that the muses will abandon me in my hour of need.

But the whole process is incredibly rewarding and I love the variety that comes with this technique. I am working in an ancient analog medium one minute and modern digital the next. Carving is a bit like knitting and allows me to catch up on the news, listen to podcasts or think about the next assignment while working. My favorite task is adding color in Photoshop. It’s a thrill to watch what’s been a black and white process transform into full color!

What do you enjoy most about your career?

Art has been a lifelong passion of mine and now I get to do what I love and make my own hours doing it. I’m making a living doing what I did in kindergarten, you can’t ask for much more than that.

Do you have any new projects coming up? Anything exciting you’re working on?

Now more than ever, I’m inspired by strong women in history, ordinary women who have led extraordinary lives. I am working on a graphic novel series on this theme and enjoy re-telling stories in a way that is relatable to a younger audience. I’ve also fallen into an obsession with the period of the French Revolution and I can’t stop making images of Marie Antoinette.

I have a couple of big projects going on right now that are still mostly under wraps, but you might be able to catch a sneak peek at them if you check out my social media.

You can see more from Sue on Directory of Illustration portfolio page or on her website.

 

Fatinha Ramos’ Sonia Delaunay: A Life of Color

Illustrated by Fatinha Ramos, Sonia Delaunay: A Life of Color is as delightful introduction to abstraction and one of the early twentieth century’s most groundbreaking artists.

Published by the The Museum of Modern Art New York (MoMA), A Life of Color tells the story of Sonia Delaunay and her young son, Charles. “Together they fly across Europe in their magical car so that Charles-encountering new sights, sounds and feelings-can learn how, for his mother, life and art are one and the same. Featuring vivid reproductions of Sonia’s work from the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Centre Pompidou, Paris, this book brings her most fundamental ideas about art and life into focus for young readers.”

The picture book earned Ramos an Excellence Global Illustration Award from the Frankfurt Book Fair for her brilliant illustrations and interpretations of of Delaunay’s work. In a raving New York Times review, Maria Russo says “Ramos’ lovely, playful art pulls off the tricky task of evoking Delaunay’s while standing strongly on its own.”

You can see more of Fatinha Ramos’ signature style in her Directory of Illustration portfolio or on her website.

Artist Spotlight: Karen Hollowell’s Creations

Karen Hollowell is an award-winning illustrator, designer and art director.  She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University and continued her education with a year in London studying with the illustrious Edward Booth-Clibborn.

Over the years Karen has worked with several top-tier clients including Disney, The Smithsonian Institute and more. Her creations are full of emotion and nuance, traits that are often lost in the world of modern illustration.

You can find her work displayed across the country and around the world. From passionate portrayals of Jazz musicians to fun recipe posters, Karen’s signature style shines through in everything she creates.

To see more from Karen Hollowell visit her Directory of Illustration portfolio page or her website.

  

Cover Showcase: Dave Plunkert For The New Yorker

Dave Plunkert’s illustrations have appeared in advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, they’ve graced the folds of major newspapers, and more recently, they’ve been popping up on the covers of magazines. In the past couple months, Plunkert’s work has twice been featured on the cover of The New Yorker. Each illustration was a strong statement piece that elicited plenty of reactions from people of all beliefs. The first image, an illustration of Trump providing the wind for a white supremacist sail, debuted shortly after the incident in Charlottesville and Trumps subsequent inflammatory remarks.

The second illustration came after the deadly mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival that ended with 58 people losing their lives and over 500 being injured. Each cover gained national attention for it’s emotional imagery and political statements.

To see more of Plunkert’s work check out his Directory of Illustration portfolio or his website.

 

Artist Spotlight: The Illustrations of Danny Schwartz

Danny Schwartz is an editorial illustrator from Westfield, New Jersey, now living in Astoria, Queens. He has a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University and currently teaches editorial illustration as an adjunct professor at his alma mater.

All it takes is a quick glance at his portfolio to realize that Danny has an unmistakably unique style. That distinctive look has earned him favor with publications across the country. The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Barron’s Weekly, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are just a few of the editorial clients that he works with on a regular basis.

Below you can find a series of illustrations from Danny along with his own descriptions of each work.

To see more, check out Danny’s Directory of Illustration portfolio page or visit his website.

Sam Rael — a W&M alumni — was a budding film maker back in 1995 when he hired Gary Hilton as a story consultant for a horror movie he was shooting in Georgia. The film eventually finished shooting and the two went their separate ways — Rael continued making movies, and Hilton became something of a horror movie himself — he was arrested in 2008 for the murder of Meredith Emerson, as well as several others. (The College of William and Mary Alumni Magazine).

For the Los Angeles Times — the article was about a humorous alternative Golden Globes category for miscellaneous achievements in television, like how Psych had a pineapple in every single episode the whole series, or how Scandal hid Kerry Washington’s pregnancy for a whole season, or how intensely Veep lobbed insults at Jonah. There were many others. Great story.

FDU Alumni Magazine ran a feature about a student who studied in South America for a semester. She went on all kinds of wonderful adventures, and so we obviously wanted to showcase the spirit of adventure for the cover illustration.

Every year, Westfield, New Jersey holds a fall apple festival. I’ve painted an image for the poster each year since 2009. This year, I was told to keep a 1950s theme, and so I decided to showcase the diner theme the café was taking on. Something about a happy, comfortable looking date both accurately represents the gentle pleasure of the festival itself, and also my relationship with the client, which now goes back many years.

Created for Rutgers University’s anniversary issue’s cover story, reflecting the changing body of students that have passed through a great institution over it’s history. We thought a literal parade of changing faces would suit the concept nicely.

Every year, Westfield, New Jersey holds a fall apple festival. I’ve painted an image for the poster each year since 2009. This year, I went for a retro advertisement — like, really retro, because the client wanted an image that was inspired by the imagery of the 40s.

For The Atlantic — a look at the quintessential British-ness, along with the contradictions, of A. E. Housman.

Artist Spotlight: James Lebbad

James Lebbad is a graphic designer specializing in typographic design and handlettering. He has created award-winning designs for domestic and international clients including NBC, CBS, Arista Records, Campbell Soup, Viacom and Random House Publishing to name a few. James’ artistic genes came from his Dad, Anthony, a Pratt alumni himself.

Ever since he can remember, James has had a pencil in his hand and has been drawing away. Even in grade school he was designing and drawing art pieces for friends and relatives. During high school he was the art department for the local newspaper and upon graduating from Kutztown University, James headed straight to New York where he started his career at New American Library as a book cover designer. While he was there, his handlettering skills won awards from the Type Directors Club. After that, James moved on to Berkley Putnam Publishing where he was named Art Director. Under his art direction, numerous PTB covers won awards from the Society of Illustrators.

Since creating Lebbad Design in 1981, James’ work has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Type Directors Club International Typeface Design Award.

You can see even more of James’ work on his Directory of Illustration portfolio page.

Campaign Spotlight: Nathan Smith’s Robotics Images

Nathan Smith was asked to produce a series of visual works for a large UK organisation earlier this year. The brief was to create a robot that was both intelligent and inquisitive, and who would elicit an emotional response from the viewer.

Staying true to the brief, Nathan used a limited and subtle color palette made up of mostly of whites and grays. He managed to create an image that felt edgy and cool, while remaining non-threatening, even with visible tech under the body plates acting as an homage to the history of robotics.

He gave the robot’s almost human face green gel eyes to induce a curious, cognitive response from the viewer.

Nathan composed the image in a way that conveys a sophisticated, yet sensitive relationship between the robot and the object rising from its hand. He kept the design minimalist, thus allowing for it to have a strong silhouette and plenty of negative space and screen estate for text.

Nathan is represented by AAARep. You can see more from him on his Directory of Illustration portfolio page.

World Illustration Awards 2017 Exhibition

The World Illustration Awards 2017 Exhibition is now open to the public!

This week the WIA returns to London’s Somerset House for a sixth year. The exhibition will display highlights from this year’s shortlist, comprised of both emerging and established talent. With over 2,300 entries from 64 countries and eight categories of competition, this year’s exhibition features one of the most diverse collections of arts the WIA has ever seen.

In addition to the award-winning art, the exhibition will also feature fun and free activities workshops for the whole family.

Don’t miss out on this year’s World Illustration Awards Exhibition. The event runs for one month only, from July 31 to August 28. For details about opening hours, please visit the Somerset House website.

The Directory of Illustration, in partnership with the Association of Illustrators, is once again honored to present the 2017 World Illustration Awards in partnership with the AOI. This year’s awards raise the creative bar for both newly-minted talent and seasoned professionals. We’re excited to provide this opportunity for such inspiring artists to promote their work to a global audience.

Artist Spotlight: Rui Ricardo

Rui Ricardo, a Folio artist, draws on manga influences to create his highly polished illustrations. He often combines cartoon-like exaggerations with magical realism, a technique that his given his artistry an international appeal.

He began honing his skills early on and was first published at the age of fifteen. Ricardo’s love for illustration and comics carried him to university in Porto, Portugal, where he now lives and works.

Ricardo’s illustrious resume includes animation and motion design work for several TV shows, music videos and commercials, as well as editorial work for FHM, Men’s Fitness, The Times, The Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, GQ, Popular Mechanics, The Guardian, Marketing Week, and many more.

You can see more of Rui Ricardo’s work on his Directory of Illustration portfolio or on his website.

To see more incredible Folio artists, visit their portfolio page on the Directory of Illustration website.

 

 

 

Bijou Karman for Annabelle

Bijou Karman was commissioned to illustrate a spread on the emotional topic of mother-daughter relationships in a special issue of the Swiss magazine, Annabelle.

The article deals with topics of identity, jealousy and in-law relations with Bijou’s perfectly accompanied illustrations that show the complex aspects of contemporary mother-daughter conflict.

Bijou is represented by Pocko. See more of her work through her Directory of Illustration portfolio and at pocko.com.

©Bijou Karman

©Bijou Karman

©Bijou Karman