1. Please could you tell us a litlle bit about yourself, your background training and experience, where you are based, what you do now etc?
Hi I’m Lee Cosgrove, www.gorillustrator.com and I currently work as a freelance illustrator from my home studio near Liverpool. Most of my work to date has been in the realm of children’s publishing which I really enjoy, probably because I loved drawing so much as a kid. In fact it’s something I’ve been absolutely crazy about since I was old enough to hold a pencil, whether it was copying superheroes from comic books, or inventing my own characters and the worlds they live in. So I guess its a good fit that I’m now drawing things that kids want to see, and copy and hopefully inspire them to use their own imagination to create for themselves.
I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator now for about 3 years and have only just made the jump to full-time illustration this year, leaving behind a career in telecoms.
So far I’m loving it.
2. What is your Face Fest project and what inspired you to start it? Why did you choose faces, is this the sort of illustration work you most like and want to promote?
Face Fest is a little self-initiated project I’m currently working on where I create a new face illustration every day throughout October. The faces can be anything, ranging from an Indian princess to a rotting zombie, the only constraints are that they all have to fit within the a certain set of dimensions.
The original idea came about when I was trying to design a new business card for myself, I didn’t want a wad of cards that all looked the same; I wanted some variety, so that if a potential client didn’t like the gorilla face image on the card – no problem, they could take a robot one instead, or a spaceman, or a tiger or whatever. I wanted the cards to be a mini portfolio I could carry around with me. So I set to work designing a unique face each day, it has been a lot of fun and I’m only just over halfway through.
3. Please can you tell us the process you go through to create your illustrations eg. Brainstorm, sketching, what software and techniques?
Usually my process involves me just very roughly sketching out a few ideas straight into photoshop, I usually have quite a few in my head at any one time, some are more suitable than others for the dimensions of the cards. Once I get something that I think will work, I tighten up the sketch (but not too much) and start playing around with some colours, block in the main elements and mess around with layer opacities and blending modes, etc. Once I’ve got the basics I go in with some texture, either from a library of photos of materials like wood, rusted metal, concrete, etc or with some texture brushes made from scanned paint or ink strokes. Then maybe some final tweaks of the image colours and contrasts and we’re done.
4. Once you have competed your October Facefest challenge what are going to do with the illustrations?
Once the full set of images are complete I’ll be sending them off to get printed as mini business cards and sending little variety-packs to art clients in my next promotional mail-out (I do a few of these each year). On top of that Im thinking there might be some other uses for the images, maybe some fun mini fridge magnets or some other kind of collectibles.
You can see more of Lee’s Face Fest Project below and on his blog