The Union of Pencil & Pen to Create Surreal Illustrations

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In a time when design and artworks surround us all, the importance of doing things differently is what counts. Illustrator, Iain Macarthur from England, discovered a unique way to marry pencil and pen to create intricate patterns and lines that result in surreal outcomes.

CG: Your designs are surreal and make use of carefully crafted patterns. What would you say is your illustration style and how did you work towards achieving it?

Iain: My surreal illustration style is very diverse, sometimes it can be a combination of elegant photo-realistic drawings or wildlife animals created in organic patterns. I began drawing in this style during my college years when I was experimenting pencil with other materials such as paint, charcoal and ink. When I introduced ink into my pencil drawings I immediately became addicted to using it into my work. The reason why I was experimenting pencil with other material is that I wanted to create a unique and unusual look to my work instead of just pencil all the time. The combination works magic.

CG: Your designs are dark and mysterious in appeal as well. What do you generally try and communicate through your designs? Is there a story involved in your illustrations or is it merely a depiction of your imagination?

Iain: Most of the pieces I make don’t necessarily have a story behind them. I get a lot of inspiration from nature, wildlife and traditional native patterns and weave them into my work. Women also inspire me, and I enjoy drawing their eyes to make them look mysterious. When I merge the patterns into my female subjects I like to create it as a decorative element like jewellery or a headdress as I think that form works really well with the pencil drawings.

CG: You seem to use simple tools while crafting your designs. Tell us about what tools and techniques you use in your designing process.

Iain: I mostly use pencils and ink, usually pigment liner pens such as Staedtler pens or Uni pens. They generate really thin and delicate lines that help me draw intricate patterns.

CG: How has illustration evolved over the years? What other potential do you see in this design form that hasn’t been discovered yet? How do you plan on using your illustrations to enhance user experience?

Iain: This illustration form can be used in many ways as it’s quite a decorative and presentable style in more ways than one. The style can be printed on products such as clothing, posters and skateboards and can also be used as tattoos, to name a few.

Published in Issue 28

This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!


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