Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Portfolio Visit: Nobrow

Nobrow is a publisher that specializes in showcasing the work of illustrators. I’ve been a big fan of Nobrow since I first discovered one of their publications in the first year of my degree. Ever since then I have watched with a keen interest everything that they have published as their collection grows along with their reputation for representing interesting, exciting and diverse illustration from around the world.

I was really excited when, on a recent journey to London, Myself; Dom, Jord and Kris went along to the Nobrow Headquarters for a portfolio viewing. When we got there we met with Sam, one of the founding members of Nobrow. He began by talking to us about breaking into the illustration industry after university.

He talked of how upon finishing university, few students ever actually progress onto becoming full time illustrators and that those who do make it in the industry do so through persistence. He spoke of how many students wrongly assume that upon finishing their education, they are the finished article and that their working method or ’style’ is set in stone, and how in reality the most successful of styles are those which are developed over many years of refinement and persistence.

Then he looked at my portfolio. His preferred pieces were those, which had more of a ‘hands on’ physical process behind them. He was less keen on the digital pieces and preferred those that had been created through printmaking. He said that it was the texture and imperfections of those pieces that made them more interesting. He said that although this process had its limitations when compared to working digitally, these limitations worked towards creating stronger more interesting work.

When I mentioned that my main interests lie in character design and children’s illustration he recommended I look at the work of Mark Boutavant (who Nobrow have worked with in the past). He said I should work towards creating my own ‘world’ of characters in the same way as Boutavant, where the style is versatile enough to apply to a variety of characters but also refined enough that we can tell that they all belong to the same ‘world’ created by the same artist.
The advice we all got regarding our work was helpful, informative and honest. Thanks to Sam from Nobrow for taking the time to see us and helping us to move forward in our careers.

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