Thursday, 31 March 2016

Antoine Bonnet


What's cool anymore anyway? It seems pretty dam subjective. As someone who a lot of people think is "a bit weird" my definition of cool is probably a little different to others', but I'm guessing that's the same for everyone. However if you're here and you're reading this you must at least have a shred of respect for my decisions of who to share with you guys (or you're just here to laugh at me....).


Antoine Bonnet is, in my opinion, infinitely cool. From his illustration style alone he comes across as someone I would be too scared to approach. -That- particular kind of cool, unapproachable and completely aloof. His pieces while feeling strong and self assured have that special and completely blocked off vibe, you will never be as cool as that guy guiding a huge ghost like fish, yet my god you wish you could be. 




What seems to take them out of the condescending context and into the just plain cool category is that they all have a sense of movement; the character isn't looking down their nose at you, they just are doing something infinitely cooler than you and they are getting on with it. I mean, in the case of the The Do front woman pictured here, she kinda really does.



I really hope you think he is as great as all this, or perhaps i've just outed myself as the bottom of the food chain in the school hierarchy. ( I was a real Janis Ian, I feel you should know). You can keep up with Antoine -who is still only a first year university student! - on tumblr and on his facebook page. 

Karolis Strautniekas


Good evening from a quiet balcony in perfect 27 degree weather in Singapore. I was trying to find an artist from my list to share with you that evoked the feeling I get whenever I come here. A perfect kind of nostalgia for those very VERY hot summer days. 


Days when you can't decide whether you should just wait it out and stay in all day with the fan three inches from your face and watch yet another Catdog rerun on Nickelodean or actually go out an enjoy it because lord knows (in England anyway) it sure as hell won't last. I grew up out here so I will always have a strange love for humidity, the feel of marble under your feet and falling asleep to the whirr of an air conditioning unit. 


In hind sight this was a pretty tall ask of an illustrator who has never met me and to be honest in all my art loving years no one has quite hit the nail on the head of representing what a summer in the tropics is like. If anyone would be up to the task though it would be Karolis Strautniekas. 


Karolis is doing a pretty bang up job of carving out a career representing everything from feelings to crime stories. Sometimes something a little more metaphorical is the only thing that will do. And it's nice that his pieces come with a heavy punch of texture and lovely calm colours. 


He's even made me love something to do with James Bond (see this smokey black and grey illustration? That was in celebration of Spectre), which I really can't get on with.


Perhaps an illustrators' job when it comes to creating a piece that inspires empathy in the onlooker isn't to create a piece that picks up directly from its accompanying article, but to boil it down so you "get it" immediately, but leaves you wanting to learn what inspired it. And Karolis is definitely very good at that. I urge you use your easter bank holiday off to have a look around his website

Midori Asano



If anything has ever been able to calm my mind it's been travelling. I've been around South America, lived in Costa Rica, Singapore and Tokyo, hitchhiked around Iceland and America, and I've lost count of the number of times I've been to Spain. As someone who doesn't have a particularly quiet mind I sometimes wonder if I just agreed to keep travelling to keep my mind quiet for extended periods of time. It doesn't make much sense considering travelling for months at a time often meant more worries at the end of it, but somehow the feeling of just keeping going had a quietening effect. Maybe it's to do with a lack of commitment to one idea. 


One thing I tried to do as often as possible while travelling was keep a sketchbook to quickly note down those little details from backpacking that stuck out the most. Whether it was sketching my hiking boots while waiting for a hostel's breakfast to be served, or a quick little scene out of the Greyhound bus window at a truck stop. My favourite illustration from travelling is actually of a man dressed as Charlie Chaplin and a woman dressed as a cat on drawn while stuck on a notoriously crap LA bus. Those scattered little calm memories.


Midori Asano's illustrations of everyday objects evoke those times for me. Quick little snatches of something important to you at the time but might seem humdrum and everyday to someone else. 



There is something warm and comforting about the attention to detail she pays to something as simple as some stacked mugs. You know she felt something important about their presence and wanted to remember it, and indeed share it. And they were just as important to her as the snowy scene of the train winding through the mountains (another image evoking another kind of travel.)


My Japanese is pretty limited so I can't tell you too much about Midori but you can explore her blog and her flickr. 

Charlotte Dumortier


Do you ever attribute human characteristics to a feeling? And I mean that in a totally Pixar's Inside Out way. Anger plays a large part in my life. I think often that comes as a surprise to the people who meet me..or maybe more of a surprise when they witness it. 


Most people scream and shout, or bottle it up and just simmer away. Anger doesn't come out of me properly, it manifests and comes out in bouts where I do strange things that make complete sense at the time...In a way they still make complete sense to me, outwardly though, they're frightening or just plain stupid. I suffer from a disorder that I won't name ( I think there will be a better time for that and I'd like to actually find a way to raise awareness) but anger and anxiety fizz out of me and take over and manifest in strange states.



In my head anger's huge and green (which is a shame because Disgust is my favourite character in Inside Out) and sits over my body like some sort of overwhelming wet suit. The first time I saw Charlotte Dumortier's comics I saw that overbearing character, but drawn in different shapes and forms, but all relatable and all easy to understand. I wish all illustrations could help others understand that feeling of dread for getting simple things wrong, or could so perfectly show that anxiety pretty often has many faces, or that anger hurts you inside too. 




Charlotte makes fantastic little comics that illustrate people's daily emotional struggles. Somehow seeing them on paper, and knowing someone else out there gets it enough to make such wonderfully crafted drawings makes me remember that we're all going through something hard, but we're all in it together, and that someone else out there totally gets it. 




Go check out her website because Charlotte's pretty special.