Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us! Here are the rest of the submissions for my Valentines Open Brief, see more here, and see the ones which were chosen by East End Prints to appear in their True Romance exhibition here. I hope you’ll all be feeling the lurve this weekend.
Eugenia Tsimiklis (above)
Reality Bites: This film has significance for me as a romantic comedy because it encapsulated awkward post-university faltering relationships. It’s a movie about connecting with people, being emotionally vulnerable and a search for identity, and opportunity during economic recession. Reality Bites is the archetypal slacker romantic comedy and is concerned with not being a “sell out” and choosing integrity over financial gains and choosing the slacker penniless hot musician Ethan Hawke over the earnest suited TV executive, Ben Stiller. Stylistically, I love Reality Bites, because Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder are the ultimate nineties pin ups, wearing grunge thrift store clothes and hanging out in dirty bars, driving beat up old cars, working in jobs they hate and smoking cigarettes and feeling misunderstood.
I drew this based on the movie poster but I wanted it to have more of a comic feel. I drew it in pencil and added Indian ink, and a splash of red. I like the starkness of a limited palette and black and white poster art.
Alison Day Designs
The inspiration for my Valentines Art illustration came to me one evening by chance. I have worked for many years as editor and designer of an expatriate magazine in the Netherlands. In 2013, I decided that it was time to take the plunge and put all my energies into my business: Alison Day Designs. I am inspired by imagery and the world around me, and I enjoy working in my garden studio on personal design and illustration projects.
My piece is inspired by the french film, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain – probably one of my all time favourites. The line “Even artichokes have hearts” immediately sprung to my mind when first approaching the design, appearing within the scene where Amelie confronts the bully of a greengrocer. Although not seemingly the most romantic line, or scene, within the film, I thought that it perfectly captured the charm and romance of the story without being too obvious. The film is simplistic, lighthearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously, so I have tried to keep that theme within my own work. I originally drew out the artichoke and the title by hand and then decided to progress with the design digitally. I have always admired simplistic and graphic posters, such as the work by Saul Bass, and have recently tried to bring this approach back to my own work. There is something incredibly difficult about keeping a design so simple and making it still look good whilst still having a clear meaning.
I’ve never been keen on romantic/soppy declarations and find it all a bit naff to be honest. My friend was eating some love hearts and I noticed that one of them had MINE stamped on it. This struck me as a little too possessive and controlling for my liking, and left me with an image of a little cartoon love heart being told off for being a little too keen. I sketched out a few rough drawings until I had it looking the way I wanted it, then scanned my favourite sketch into Photoshop, blew it up to the right size (as I naturally sketch quite small), then polished it up and added colour in Photoshop, using a photo of love hearts I found online for colour reference.
This illustration is a mixed media piece that was originally inspired by the Russian artist duo – The Popovy Sisters and their beautiful artist dolls. I wanted to portray a sense of fragility and melancholy through the form of a slim, breakable doll. Although she has a dolls body, I feel I captured something hauntingly human about her expression and mood. I painted the girl using watercolours in an impasto method by mixing white acrylic paint to the colours. I also hand painted each individual moth in watercolour. Originally during my planning of this work I painted two girls facing each other in a romantic or sisterly way. I wanted to express the way love is universal and mostly, indiscriminate. I erased the second girl and instead drew two red flowers in a vase to simply suggest a romantic aura. I feel I captured the theme of love in a subtle way.
Love is all around, sometimes you just have to look a little bit harder to see it!
The design I’ve created is inspired by traditional folk art and takes inspiration from nature. I’ve always been drawn to folk and fairy tales, which is something that runs through most of my work and the illustrations I choose to create. This design is based on floral folk art, in particular ‘Scherenschnitte’, the German art of creating intricate cut paper designs. These need to be designed in a way that every piece is connected so that the whole design is held together- I like this idea of everything being connected, which seems appropriate for such a romantic theme.
Although I work a lot with inks, and prize them for their vibrancy, this piece is super-saturated in colour even by my standards. When I thought of love, I wanted to show it bursting out all over, with flowers springing up spontaneously, trumpets playing triumphant fanfares, and everything – seed heads, rainbows, hearts and flowers – just exploding with the sheer exhilaration of it all.
In retrospect, I suspect the colour theme is influenced by a childhood exposure to Sesame Street and Seventies cartoons, where pink, purple and orange could, and did, co-exist in harmony. For those who didn’t grow up in that decade, I apologise, and hope that your retinas recover soon.
I sketched this piece out in pencil initially, which allowed for some crazy sweeping lines, then coloured it, via a lightbox, onto a new page. It’s barely touched up in Photoshop, hence the uneveness in some of the colouration – hopefully all adding to the general feeling of being swept up in the moment of irrepressible, undeniable, exuberant love.
Queen of Hearts was created using Staedtdler Fine Liners and Uni Posca marker pens. It is the next in a series of illustrations I am producing on playing cards.
My inspiration was one of the most romantic movies of all that I know: An Affair to Remember starring lovely Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant as Terry and Nickie, who gently fall in love with each other during their trip on a ferry. Although both are actually involved with someone else, after their journeythey decide to leave each others’ partners and meet in 6 months time on top of the Empire State Building in New York. After watching the movie again and making some sketches and notes during the film, I started painting a remake of the movieposter. I went for an old poster format, like some french theatres (particularly Folies-Bergère) or events used to have around the 20s/30s. And some british illustrative posters of the 50 inspired me as well.
Illustrated film posters from past romance movies inspired this illustration, with those a single image had to depict a story and intrigue viewers to come and watch the film, so I wanted to include just enough to entice the viewers imagination and curiosity and let their mind run wild with creating a story, situation and relationship for these two. This image started off with a couple of quick layout sketches to try and plan out the colours, but that all went out the window when I started the actual drawing and just coloured it in what I felt looked decent and worked. I wanted the image to have an almost screen printed retro feel to it with the flat bold colours, clashing just enough to get your attention but hopefully not so much you need to pop on a pair of sunglasses mid winter.
My two greatest passions in Art are line and colour; I grew up on Dartmoor surrounded by a dramatic landscape and hardy livestock and would go out with a sketchbook to draw – I liked the challenge of capturing the ‘essence’ of the animals and the scenery. At secondary school my art teacher recommended I attend life-drawing classes. I enjoyed being able to draw the full human form but found I missed portraying movement. I love location drawing, sketching people going about their business and creating ‘characters’ in just a few lines.
I chose the tale of the Frog Prince as my female figures tend to have a whimsical air and my animals a personality of their own; so when brought together I felt they represented well the ridiculous and yet wonderful sentiment of the tale.
I start my illustrations by drawing subjects from reference or moving image, sometimes I will capture a subject in one drawing, another time it will take dozens of attempts, but I will know when an image is the right one; it feels like a type of magic! I then work over the drawings, and create textured backgrounds, using watercolour or watercolour pencil.
The valentines theme took me straight towards a heart so I started with a basic outline, white on black. I wanted to make this piece unique with randomness, simply because you never know who you might fall in love with, it’s random. Having added colour to the individual heart, I thought it looked bare by itself, therefore I used the same illustration without colour with different opacity which created a heart series which I think has worked well.
- Valentines Open Brief: Submissions Part 1
- Introducing True Romance: Print Designs chosen for an exhibition curated by East End Prints
- Love Spain, Hate Bullfighting – Art with a Heart
- Easter Art: Bunnies and Hares and Eggs and Chocolate and Spring Vibes in the Air at last!
- An interview with Jennifer Leem-Bruggen: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.