Illustrator Andrés Lozano on his improv line work, brazen use of colours & hand sketching

Andrés tells us about developing a playful style, and his love for both painting and line work.

Bright colours, impeccable line work and whimsical characters are what make up Spanish illustrator Andrés Lozano’s artworks. The 24-year-old currently based in London is inspired by nature, architecture, Franco-Belgian comics and film noir. He’s recently published a brilliant series to Behance of personal work, showcasing delightful fluorescent colours and textures.

His cheeky yet relatable characters (with peculiar noses) are often immersed in very detailed environments – whether that be inside a messy studio or on a beautiful bike ride in Berlin – it takes a while to cast your eye over every fragment of his illustrations.

Alongside commercial works – for clients such as The New York Times, Coca Cola and Little White Lies – Andrés is working on two picture books and a series of large format paintings.

He tells us about developing a playful style, creating composition and renting a studio with friends to paint big format canvases.

 Miriam Harris: Tell me a little bit about how you began illustrating.

Andrés Lozano: "I've always loved to draw. I started making comics as a teenager and painted a bit on my first year of fine arts, it was around that time that I found out about illustration – I thought I could give it a try as it seemed to be something in between comics and painting and I didn't have patience for the former nor things to say for the latter."

 MH: Why did you choose to embellish line work?

AL: "I've worked with and without line and still do, but I find line work allows for a level of spontaneity and improvisation I find difficult to get working with just colour."

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 MH: Recent submissions to Behance show surreal scenes and use of colours – are you developing a more playful style?

AL: "I never thought about those drawings as surreal but now you mention it they might be a little bit. Lately I've been trying to figure out a way to colour line drawings that works for me and those drawings are experiments in that direction."

MH: Does inspiration for your personal illustrations derive from your own activity, eg the interior of studios and 'Trip to Berlin' (seen here)?

AL: "Not all of them are inspired by my personal life (coincidentally those two are) but I'd say the main inspiration for my personal work comes from improvised drawings and sketches."

MH: Your illustrations are made up of lots of detail – how do you visualise each element and the coming together of the overall composition?

AL: "I normally make a really loose sketch to find a composition I like, then on top of that I either draw the final ink illustration or I define the sketch further before going to final if it's a complex image."

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MH: What are your favourite things to draw and why?

AL: "Plants and people. Both allow for a lot of variety and improvisation. There are a tonne of different plants and people you could draw."

MH: Talk us through your creative process – from conception to the finished artwork.

AL: "I start with a loose sketch to put things in place and then ink on top of that using a tracing table, then I scan and colour using Photoshop.

"Going back to hand drawing my illustrations has been a long process (I had been talking about doing it for a long time but I always found I stressed out about drawing something without the ability of going back If I screwed up). Also I was making the sketches way too defined so then tracing over them became an excruciating process.

"About a year ago I started taking sketchbooks more seriously and drawing everyday so when the time came to draw something I had enough practice and self confidence. Keeping the sketches looser helps me not to obsess that much about tracing everything perfectly and allows for fun and improvisation."

MH: What are some short-term goals you’ve given yourself?

AL: "Just a month ago I rented a studio with a few friends, having the space to paint big format canvases and not worry about getting paint all over the floors and furniture is very nice.

I had always wanted to go back to painting and for the last few months (and specially since I moved to the new studio) I've been doing more of that. I'd like to put together an exhibition of paintings and some drawings but right now I'm focused on actually finishing some paintings."

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MH: What is a favourite tool you’re using right now?

AL: "I bought a small box of oil pastels and they are really fun."