I had originally planned to take my initial character designs, that were all a bit boring and uniform with no individuality, and make them look like they were screen printed. Chris Madden in the 3rd year has recently pulled this off in his children's book illustration ( http://maddenillustration.blogspot.com/2009/09/my-childrens-book.html )but I was looking at Adrian Johnson' s Robinson's adverts which are clearly digitally made but have hand made/hand drawn appearence (like a cross between screen printing and pastels). http://www.adrianjohnson.org.uk/
What I admire is his use of shape to suggest character and personality... the recent figure project has opened my eyes to this and like Johnson, I too enjoy 40's, 50's and 60's illustration. He names some of his influences (the great Charley Harper and Jim Flora) but I can't help feeling like it's just too easy to mimic this style... I seem to be falling back on this as a way of just producing a piece of work that I think will satisfy the brief. The initial sketches for my animation cast was purely based on the same way Johnson creates characters heads, quite literally like a template.. but I'd like to think the cast I posted in the last post has some uniqueness and that they dont look too similar (e.g. my batman and soldier characters). Johnson actually pointed this out himself in an interview with retro design blog, Grain Edit, in which he talks of how a fellow designer sent him a link to Ryohei Yanagihara's work and how it bares a resemblance to his own. Despite having never seen any of Yanagihara's work before, Johnson doesnt hide the fact that there are similarities but he also goes on to say...
"The thing is, I’ve always striven not to reference any existing work, full stop… I consider myself more conceptually driven / inspired, with the idea leading the way, as opposed to being more stylistically led."
and... this little bit which is what i really need to hammer home...
"Q: Can you offer any advice for newer designers struggling with the concept vs. style problem? A: I think a lot of students think that it’s all about having a recognizable style- you know, like being a ‘brand’. I get the impression over the last few years (in the UK in particular) that many illustration students / graduates are directly influenced by contemporary illustration / illustrators. It’s all about zeitgeist. It’s understandable I suppose- you just surf the net, see some great websites and there’s your inspiration. Because the internet hadn’t really taken off at the beginning of my career my work was more influenced by the music I was listening to, the books I was reading, or the films I was watching. Whenever I’m teaching (which is not that often these days) I find myself saying the same thing. Ideas never go out of fashion. Style does."
this actually leads me back to an artist both Jo and Eleanor suggested I look into, Rick Myers http://www.rickmyers.co.uk/... honestly though i have only briefly looked in his direction but... they both told me that artists, illustrators and in fact all manner of creative folk can be comissioned on their ideas alone rather than their "style". At the time, I didnt see how this applied to me, but it's opened my mind to the possibility that I could be a team leader in an art department (or similar occupation), meaning I dont need to worry about having my own marketable "style" but as long as I keep firing out all my different ideas then I'm safe.