Carine Brancowitz studied illustration at the Estienne School of Arts in Paris before working as a junior art director at a fashion agency. Now a freelance illustrator, her clients include Nylon magazine and fashion brands Kitsune and Celine.
Brancowitz describes her style as full of contrasts and contradictions – “but I don’t think I’ve chosen to draw this way or that. It’s a more unconscious process,” she says. She enjoys the flexibility of working with pen and paper and her drawings combine intricate detail with bold, minimal colours.
“I spend an awful lot of time constructing an image, changing directions, thinking of where to draw details. It’s a pyramidal structure – when you move something, you break the balance of it all,” she says.
Once she has decided on an image, Brancowitz sketches a pencil draft before drawing over it in pen – a process she describes as stressful and complex. “Working with pens means you’re not really able to do corrections or changes in the original, which creates a tension – you find yourself on the verge of failure during the whole process, like walking on a tightrope,” she says.
Alongside working with major brands and magazines, she has built up an impressive body of personal work inspired by daily life, sketching scenes of people snacking on noodles or travelling on the train.
25 year-old Lynnie Zulu grew up in the Scottish borders and studied illustration and animation at Kingston University. She is now based in east London and her vibrant designs have been applied to homeware, album releases, bar windows and designer clothing ranges.
Zulu’s biggest influence is her mother, an artist who was born and raised in East Africa. “Her paintings of African surreal scenes are far removed from the surroundings in which she lives and works,” she says.
“This incongruous mix of Scottish and exotic had a big impact on my childhood and has influenced the way I work – it opened up many creative possibilities of where you can take your imagination [and] I think it has given me confidence to form my own visual identity,” she adds.
When working on commissioned projects, Zulu works from sketchbooks and in Photoshop but for exhibitions, she prefers to draw in large scale without prior sketches, using Posca pens and Japanese inks for finer details. “I’ve always enjoyed working spontaneously because I want my work to carry an energetic, lively quality. I enjoy the whole process of watching an illustration unfold on the paper, which is why I prefer not to pre-plan it,” she adds.
Her dream commission, says Zulu, would be Jamaican model and singer Grace Jones, known for her outlandish outfits and performances. “I would love to be let loose on a new image for her, involving everything from artwork to creating visuals for sets and costumes,” adds Zulu.
Edward Cheverton studied illustration at the University of Brighton. He works in a variety of formats, creating playful pencil drawings, 3D models, zines and collages. One of his biggest influences is jazz music, he says – a genre he has been inspired by since his early teens. “For me it’s one of the most raw and powerful forms of creativity,” he adds.
While his aesthetic approach varies, Cheverton’s work is always light-hearted and humorous. “It’s bright, colourful, very playful and quite silly,” he says. He has twice produced 100 collages in 24 hours and has also created a line of 3D figures for personal project The Jazz Factory, as well as a number of comics and zines on trains, planes and fictional characters.
“I don’t tend to stick to one medium with my work. I try to switch between drawing, mixed media collage and 3D regularly, to avoid getting too attached to one,” he says. “I also find that with a lot of my work, especially when I’m designing characters, it helps to visualise something in a variety of methods,” he says. “I’ve learnt that what might work drawn in one way might not work so well when done with collage, and so it then informs when I draw it again,” he adds.
Thibaud Herem is a French illustrator based in Dalston, east London. A graphic design graduate, he specialises in producing detailed architectural drawings using pencil and Indian inks.
Herem has recently designed wallpaper for Nike and Anya Hindmarch and editorial illustrations for Wallpaper*, Acne and Esquire magazines. He’s also released two books: Know Your Rodent, a humorous collection of illustrations and descriptions of 23 rats, mice etc with writer Ziggy Hanaor, published by Cicada; and London Deco, an illustrated look at London’s art deco architecture published by Nobrow.
“I’d describe my practice as a contemporary take on an old school technique,” says Herem. “I decided to go against the trends in illustration at the moment and went into a very detailed, slow technique – cross-hatched drawing as it was done for etchings. This allows me to study my subject properly and give something different to the public – a drawing that needs time to ‘read’,” he adds.
It takes Herem around 150 hours to draw a building – “but the first took me eight months,” he says. “I like the final drawing to be good enough to not have to do corrections digitally,” he adds.
His dream project would be a detailed map tracing the relationship between architecture and social habits. “I like to focus on something complex – to spend a lot of time drawing and see things that people who are not doing the same as me would not see.” 1
Pick Me Up is at Somerset House, London from April 24 until May 5. For details, see somersethouse.org.uk/pickmeup