Rough style as a finished style?

  • Hello!

    I wanted to ask for a bit of advice. Sorry if this is in the wrong topic! Trying to kickstart my journey into editorial illustration. But I'm a little bit nervous that I'll run into problems down the road as its whole look and feel is based around a messy or energetic aesthetic. With smudges and often rough hand lettering. It wouldn't be something that could be done over and over again with touch ups and the like. Do you think it's worth the time and effort investing in my style of illustration or should I scrap it and approach things with a fresh perspective? Wondering how guys like Quentin Blake, David Hughes, and Ralph Steadman handled stuff before they got very well-known. Here's a few rough examples:

    Sketch_Swimmer.jpg Sketch_Officer.jpg Sketch_Goat.jpg

  • I'm neither pro nor expert but I love it! If you're worried about marketability start making a list of clients that currently publish this kind of stuff.

  • @Zachary-Drenski Thanks man! Yeah I guess that's a good start as they'd be used to that type of thing.

  • This is fun stuff! I like how you do the “messy but controlled” thing.

  • @Brett I'm in much the same boat as you, I like messy, weird, stuff. I can see the Steadman here (he's something of a hero for me). My impression - and I'm banking on this being accurate - is that almost anything goes, style-wise, in editorial. I can easily point you at successful working illustrators and illustrators turned agents who work in messy ways that are a long way style-wise from the cleaner and more refined comic and children's book styles. All that said, I'd be very interested to see what the pros around here have to add on this topic, so thanks for asking. I love your style!

  • @bugeyefly ah that's really encouraging! Any names you could think of off the top of your head? Interested to see some of your stuff too. Trying my best to make it not too steadman derivative but I'm sure that will come with time. David Hughes and Daniel Egneus are also great examples!

  • @Brett I hope I didn't make you self-conscious! It doesn't look too much like one illustrator, it's still you. Anyway, agent Lilla Rogers has a pretty loose style herself. David Shrigley does strange things. Miroko Machiko and Toraneko Bonbon both do loose, colourful work. Japan and Korea seem to embrace these things - have a look at all the various artists whose work ends up on clothes at Always makes me feel at home. Charlotte Ager is another one that comes to mind, I really like her stuff. Eric Hanson is another.
    I didn't know either of those names, but they're great examples too. Anything goes, I am convinced of it.

  • I really like it, but I struggle to draw like that, it’s surprisingly tricky. Check out Ian Pollocks work too.

  • Pro

    @Brett I love it too! I think the key here will be to have impeccable presentation in your portfolio. Draw on good thick paper to avoid any ripples, scan you images instead of photographing them and spend time adjusting them in Photoshop. If the presentation is messy, it'll just just like a mess. But if the presentation is clean and ultra professional, it will look intentional and modern.

    I would also maybe experiment with mixed media. When I saw the goat I immediately pictured this image with some flat blocky digital colors not quite inside the lines. Sort of like a manual printing of an engraving, do you know what I mean? If that is something that could interest you, it could add another facet of your style, more possibilities to explore in future contracts. Again, the contrast of messy and clean (in this case clean blocks of color) could be very interesting to explore.

  • @NessIllustration I agree entirely with this. You have to present things like this in a very tidy and clean format.

  • @Brett I think it's great! There are people who illustrate in a fairly rough style and yours reminds me in the style of someone I know from my time studying: Felix Scheinberger, here on instagram. He's got mainly personal drawings there, but google his illustrations. I think you could perfectly do editorial illustration. Just not sure about the smudges. It's something that also happens to me when drawing with ballpoint, but I try to avoid them ... Maybe pulling them less straigt through your image might work better. It can give an interesting effect, like with the sun. In the first illusration I thought they were there just by accident ...
    Typography is fine. Copy some types you like to broaden your style.
    And I think you should decide wheather or not you want naturalistic drawings: Everything is so stylized (which is great), but then there is this goat which couldn't decide if it wanted to stay realistic, or become rather stylized ... But maybe that's just my opinion.

  • Pro

    @Brett Your style also seems like it could be a natural fit for watercolor, which is an unpredictable medium that can be quite messy. If you embrace the drips and splashes, this could do great things for you!

    There's room to experiment here, unlock your creativity and discover your style. There's this class I've been eyeing this week and considered buying, and I think it could also be a really cool one for you:
    (It's also only $10 for cyber week, hard to resist!)

  • @Brett said in Rough style as a finished style?:

    Quentin Blake

    I think it's okay to work roughly, but it will help if when you present this style you scan it in and correct the lighting, otherwise it looks unintentional that you work rough. Also, for Quentin Blake, part of what I like about his work is his gesture and posing of his characters. They are very dynamic and full of life I would study his posing and gesture as well as his technique.

    Good luck!

  • @Brett said in Rough style as a finished style?:

    Wondering how guys like Quentin Blake, David Hughes, and Ralph Steadman handled stuff before they got very well-known

    You no longer have to wonder because Quinten Blake wrote it all down!

    I own this book and love seeing his old art paired with writings of what he was experiencing at the time. I think you'd find it really interesting. There's a follow-up called "Beyond the pages" that goes into his later work as well.

  • @NessIllustration I love Adolfo Serra's art, and his course also. The only thing is that I do not speak Spanish. The video comes with subtitles, but the website was a bit hard for me to navigate, and I could not utilize the student discussion forum.

  • Pro

    @xin-li Thank you so much for giving your thoughts on it! I'm still debating it and knowing your opinion and experience on it is really helpful ❤ Thanks for taking the time!
    I used to love working in traditional, especially watercolor, but haven't done it in years. I feel like since I started working professionally 4 years ago I've switched to an approach of performance with art, and less learning, experimentation and creativity. I'm thinking this class may help me recenter, you know what I mean?

  • Moderator

    I love Ralph's work, found him through Fear and Loathing so many years ago.

    Your work is great, I personally like the smudges. I could see it in editorials, especially political cartoons, shirts, covers, etc.

    Your best work comes out when you do what you love. You could always develop a bit of a second style on the side, unless you wish to be known for only one. Perhaps add a bit of color to some pieces.

    Check out Bill Sienkiewicz art, especially his inks. He gets pretty chaotic sometimes, but also does some more refined work.

  • Moderator

    @CLCanadyArts Here is one good post of his showing ink vs painting with color.

    Hes done many covers, interiors, posters, etc.

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