I first noticed Alex on Instagram and immediately fell in love with his playful and charismatic illustration style. A few emails later and a shipment across the pond, here we are featuring his awesome work… not to mention, he’s an award-winning illustrator with an array of awards, exhibits, and recognition! I’m excited to introduce Alex Foster as our next Spotlight Artist…
I really like his floral and houseplant prints and stationery- they’re so fun!
My absolute favorite pieces are his custom works. Alex will illustrate custom pet portraits, home portraits, and even maps of your favorite places! I love that they’re one-of-a-kind and meaningful. Handwritten titles are also an option… wouldn’t these make the most thoughtful gift?
Aside from illustrating custom maps, he also has a couple in his shop that feature New York and London. I love the pretty saturated blue that adds a pop of color for spring. Not to mention, they fit perfectly inside the matted Ikea Ribba frame.
He’s probably one of the most friendly artists I’ve met and is super easy to work with. That’s the beauty of supporting artists like Alex, you get to know them and it makes the piece that much more perfect! Let’s get to the interview (and giveaway!) …
S: When did you begin your illustration business? Have you always been interested in drawing? Are you formally trained or self-taught?
A: I started working commercially in my second year at Middlesex University in London where, thanks to the help and suggestions of one of the tutors, I managed to work on a map or Barnet for the 2012 Olympics. It featured the Olympic torch route through Barnet and some of the sites along the way. That was a great first ‘real’ project because it taught me a lot about how the commercial illustration world works – it went through a lot of different people and alterations and had it’s own challenges.
S: I love your high contrast and colorful style! Your work is very bold and graphic… have you always had this aesthetic or was there a point in time in which your work evolved?
A: Thanks! Colours are such a huge part of it for me, and I think it has evolved from screen printing. I always liked the way lots of screen printed work looked, and how lots of illustrators I liked didn’t just draw outlines and colour them in – it was the shapes themselves that made up their illustrations. So I had started working that way screen printing, then a technique evolved where I’d draw all the shapes in pencil on paper, scan them in, then compile and colour them on Photoshop. This gave me the texture and hand drawn qualities I wanted, but gave me the versatility and options of digital work where I could change sizes and colours on the fly.
S: What is your most popular print, or what do people always ask you to illustrate?
A: I’ve made almost 150 House Portraits now, that has by far been my biggest ongoing project – especially around Christmas when the gift guides come out. I love seeing all the different types of buildings across the UK and sometimes abroad, and drawing them has taught me so much about the architecture. I’m really grateful people are still ordering them and giving them as gifts.
Maps are another huge part of my work, they can be used in so many ways and I love making them. I’ve made lots of maps for weddings, prints for people’s homes, area guides etc.
S: What has been your biggest achievement in art so far? I’m pretty impressed with your resume!!
A: Working on the Roald Dahl map and prints for the office, and discussing it with his Grandson Luke was an amazing experience – I loved every second of it from chatting to Luke and planning the work, to making the Chocolate timeline and researching all the books, loctions and characters for the map.
My most commercial success has been working on the Totally Thames poster, the Art Direction was great and it lead to a nice big print of London which was displayed at Train Stations and billboards all over the country, then this image won me the World Illustration Award for Advertising last year so that was an honour!
S: Favorite and least favorite things about your job?
A: Least favourite is probably doing lots of the ‘businessy’ side of things like the emailing and marketing etc, there is a lot of that. But I don’t mind doing it at all as it’s a vital part of the whole process and it enables me to continue working as an illustrator. There are lots of favourite parts for me, I feel very lucky that I get to draw for a living, and that there’s a lot of variety in my day to day work – sometime’s I’ll be drawing all day working on a commission, or sometimes I’ll be printing, posting and packing orders, or, like last week I spent a few days with the kids at St. Mary’s Primary school in Folkestone for book week which was a lot of fun!
Three Room for Tuesday readers will be selected at random, and will win one specified print. Giveaway closes in one week. Good luck!!