For this week’s feature, I talked to Karl Jones, a third-year Illustration student from the University of Brighton. His style, which makes use of simple colour hues and fine-line patters to create unique characters and mesmerising natural scenes, is infused with feelings of solitude and self-acceptance. Throughout our conversation, we discussed his relationship with film and storytelling, and the way in which he has developed his own style.
Tell me a bit about your personal background.
I’m from a working-class family in Southampton. Being the third of four male children meant that growing up was a very loud experience, which led me to look for various forms of escapism such as music, film or drawing. Drawing was the one I stuck with as it allowed me to transport myself to new places and time would just fly by when I was doing it, which is why I decided to pursue this further in education.
What’s the process like when you’re working on a new piece?
I generally have an initial idea, then I do some preliminary sketches or find a reference picture, and eventually I just jump into drawing!
In terms of technique, what tools do you normally work with and why?
I either use a fine liner pen, watercolour paint, or ink and wash. I use these materials because I enjoy how fluid they are. In a way, it is as if they have their own movement, so it’s up to me to make something out of it, which I find quite exciting.
Your artwork is quite minimalistic in terms of colour and style, why is that?
As an illustrator my work is primarily used for visual communication so I like to challenge myself to convey a message in its purest form. The phrase ‘less is more’ is sort of my mantra.
I’ve noticed that a few of your pieces depict scenes from films, how does cinema play a part in your inspiration?
I think it’s a celebration of the fact that every frame of a film would have to be composed and carefully thought out. By showing a singular moment that may have been overlooked, and by isolating it, I am allowed to think why these moments resonated with me.
Is there a specific topic that you like to explore through your drawings?
I mostly like to explore the minutiae of textures and atmosphere. I also like to explore subjects through observation, whilst also taking inspiration from films, history and folklore.
Do you have a favourite piece? If so, what made it your favourite?
My favourite piece is one I did quite a long time ago of a monster under the bed. I liked it because the response was very good, and I was really proud of the level of storytelling and atmosphere that I managed to convey through it.
To see more of Karl’s work…