Meet the 'Charlie Brooker' of illustration, Marco Bevilacqua, who discusses today's image of the day
Computer Arts: What's the creative process like for you?
Marco Bevilacqua: The creative process will always just start with a few very rough doodles and sketches – stick men and incomprehensible scribbles. But when I've got a good idea about the composition I'll then set about doing the proper drawings. This is always the stage that takes longest – taking my time and getting a decent drawing that I'm happy with.
What can be challenging is maintaining a realistic and consistent style of drawing after a few jobs in a row. Your patience starts to go and it can be easy to get frustrated and allow mistakes to creep into my work. But you learn to take a step back and just concentrate again. After that it's scan-and-tidy-up time in Photoshop, before putting together the finished piece, again in Photoshop.
CA: How did you get into illustration?
MB: I got into illustration after being bored and frustrated at my call-centre job. Looking around at all the white, blank faces, staring at the computer screens and apologising to customers all the time. I thought to myself that, although I had a great wage and a brilliant pension, I didn't want to end up there forever. It's a cliche, I know, but I've always drawn from a very early age. I still have paintings in the local hospital from a competition I won when I was 13, and if you look at the info section on my website it features a self-portrait I did when I was six. It's incredible. I love how I captured my ears.
Anyway, so after a few years of being in the call centre, post-flunking out of Uni after the first attempt, I started going to night classes to build up a portfolio and then went to art school to study visual communication. I've just graduated. I originally wanted to do painting, or some other fine art course, but I soon realised I was far too shallow for fine art and always seemed to be going on about death or something equally as heavy and morbid. So for my last fine art project in first year, before I headed off to visual communication and design, I built a full-sized coffin and got a friend to place an obituary in the local paper entitled Death of a Fine Artist, and stapled it to the coffin and stuck it in the art school. I think, in the end, I just prefered illustration and design and also that I liked briefs and working with people and clients, so illustration was just a fantastically natural path to take.
CA: How would you describe you style?
MB: I would describe my style as realistic with controlled mess. Quite dark, but humorous. I like to try and add a bit of my own humour where possible. Someone once said my stuff was like Charlie Brooker, mixed with a pencil and a ZX Spectrum. My style is influenced by my appreciation for street art and japanese horror movies. But the influence of the subject matter generally involves people, technology and politics. I studied a lot of politics at high school and have always kept up to date and opinionated on it. I don't listen to much music, rather just political chat on the radio.
I tend to use hand made and digital techniques really just to try and reflect the multimedia age we live in. A lot of my personal work revolves around reflection and just observing what's going on in the world and commenting on it in the form of a drawing, but also the fusion of handcrafted and digital gives a nice contrast in the illustrations aesthetic. I was a mature student, so there was on occassion a brilliant clash of cultures with my younger peers which I relished. For example in the dubstep illustration. It's just how I felt after a night out. As I say, I just like to comment and reflect on things I see and experience, usually in a slightly cynical way for hyperbole.
Check out more from Marco Bevilacqua at wantsome.co