David Magowan : The Daily Illustrator
David Magowan is today's Daily Illustrator. "I studied fine and applied art at the University of Ulster, specialising in textile art. Textile art allowed me to experiment broadly in my work but illustration was always at its core. I graduated in 2012 and since then i've created a variety of work concentrating on drawing and painting. I would now class myself as an fine art painter and illustrator creating monochrome hand drawn images. My work references literature, film, architecture, everyday life and the darker side of humanity."
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START ILLUSTRATING AND KNOW WAS IT SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO DO AS A PROFESSION?
As an artist I have experimented with a range of different materials and mediums but drawing has always been at the core of my work. As a kid I used to draw and sketch in my spare time. The first of my drawings I can remember was of a deer at the age of six, soon after I had my first ever exhibition on the front of a fridge door and I've been hooked ever since. I'm not always great at expressing myself with words so I have always found illustration a good tool for me to portray my thoughts and ideas, anything else I get out of it has always been an added bonus.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
The inspiration for the my work comes from traditional printing techniques such as etching which creates a line based image often in black and white. My work has a macabre quality and sometimes a dark humour, I think the stark white and black look lends itself to this type of subject. I've always loved reading fantasy fiction and myths and legends. Sometimes I create illustrations based on characters and scenes from books I've read, or from ideas I've had for books I'd like to write myself, but just can't find the words for.
HOW DO YOU GET THE IDEAS FOR YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?
The ideas for my illustrations come from loads of different places. I might base one on something that's happened during my day, from a film I've seen, from a book I've read, architecture or from historical references. I try to keep a daily sketchbook where at the end of each day I draw the most interesting event, idea, or thing I've seen during that day. I find it a good way to generate and develop ideas for illustrations and a good source of inspiration if I ever get a bout of artists block.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM TO WORK WITH?
I tend to work free hand with a pen and blank sheet of paper. I normally use a very fine nib for the majority of my drawings and then build up depth afterwards using thicker nibs for dark shadows and cross hatching for shading. I like how an illustration can be built up gradually by hand and the accidental mistakes and variation of line quality you can create. I very rarely colour my drawings or do anything digitally but this is something I would like to experiment with, especially digital collage. I'm a coffee addict so one thing I do use photoshop for is to remove the odd coffee splash from my work which probably happens more frequently than it should.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I've just recently finished a large scale illustration for the newly refurbished Bubbacue restaurant in Belfast city centre. I'm also working on wall murals for other businesses in the city but their still in early development. It's great to get the opportunity to work on a large scale and to be able to work with different briefs and subject matters, I've always enjoyed variety within my work.
CURRENT PLAYLIST AS YOU WORK?
I've never been great at keeping up with music trends and I think my taste is pretty varied, but I quite like listening to film soundtracks while I work. I find that they easily blend into the background and sometimes help to influence the tone of an illustration. Again I don't have a favourite composer but recently I've been listening to Alexandre Desplat, Hans Zimmer and Simon Rattle. I do also have a soft spot for the Soundtrack from The Lord of the Rings by Howard shore. In truth i'm probably a big geek at heart.
ARE THERE ANY ILLUSTRATORS THAT YOU ARE A FAN OF THAT DESERVE SOME EXPOSURE?
I'm not sure he needs much exposure but I really admire the work of John Vernon Lord. His illustrations are magic and quirky and very detailed. His style is similar to my own but his draftsmanship is great. Again he already has a big following but I also really like the work of Bill Crisafi. He's a New England artist I found on Instagram. His work focuses on witches and American folklore and all things dark, it's great!