Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Illustrators Arise: Matthew Ellero

Hello, everyone! Welcome to this month's Illustrator Arise (evolved)! If you're not familiar to this feature, I will basically introduce my favourite illustrators from all over the world every month in the form of an interview. This month's lucky fella happens to be a quite unique one I've found so far. Welcome to the stage, Matthew Ellero!

A: Hiya, Matt! Thanks for this opportunity. For starters, could you tell our readers a thing or two about you and what you do?

M: My name is Matthew Ellero, I'm 29 and I'm a freelance illustrator. I live in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.

A: What first got you into illustration?

M: Back in primary school I saw a book by Rolf Harris about cartooning. I loved that book and would copy the pictures in it. After a while I started to create my own characters and drew my own comic books, and I have been drawing ever since!

A: What are your most prized works?

M: Probably my most recent work - which was a competition to illustrate a vinyl sleeve for Laura Marling's song 'The Beast'. There are another couple of recent illustrations 'swing' and 'flower alphabet' which I really feel is me beginning to find my niche. I'm also proud of my first wall mural - for a school in Lincolnshire - which took a couple of months to complete and was a massive learning curve, but was very enjoyable and all the pupils got involved!

A: Do you usually work digitally or traditionally? What kind of tools do you usually use? 

M: A mixture of both really. I really like working traditionally, and tend to do most of my work that way, but will often add colour to my illustrations in Photoshop. I use a lot of tools: scissors, pencils, card, scanner, graphics tablet, photoshop, Canon camera, foam board, double sided sticky pads. The sticky pads are a great help when i'm building the 3D frame for my papercuts.

A: Ah, speaking of 3D papercuts, I found a lot of 3D Papercuts in your gallery/website. What inspired you to get into that in the first place?

M: It was really trying to find a niche for my illustrations- trying to do something that other people were not doing. One of my pencil illustrations was really detailed and I wondered what it would look like in 3D so I created a 3D papercut and loved the results. I've been trying to refine my papercuts ever since. They are really time consuming and I'm trying to find a way to get better results, quicker.

A: Do you have any artists you look up to? Anyone who inspire you?

M: Camille D'errico is inspiring - I love her characters and how she has been able to make a career out of drawing. Looking at photos of her working you can see she is really enjoying what she is doing.

A: What does the future look like for Matthew Ellero?

M: Hopefully a life spent illustrating books for children. My dream job! I would love to have children and read to them a book that I have illustrated.

A: How did you first start out?

M: I was actually working for a local council but after 5 years in the Communications and Marketing department was made redundant. It gave me the opportunity, and drive, to go freelance. It's hard work and i'm still learning from my mistakes but hopefully i'll get there one day!

A: Thanks for the time, Matt! One last thing: What kind of advice would you give novice illustrators out there?

M: I still view myself as a novice illustrator so not sure how much help I can be but i'd say try and find your own niche. Don't copy other styles but find your own. Freelancing is lots of hard work- it is good to have a part time/full time job to begin with to help with finances as it could take a few years to become fully established.

Noah's Ark mural with over 100 animals
Laura Marling's "The Beast" vinyl sleeve 
Fire in London 3D Papercut (my personal favourite)
What I indubitably adore about Matt's style: The unique 3D papercut idea was the first to be noted, of course. I love how he stacks one detail after another, turning them into a small panoramic setting. I love his childish style and those adorably huge heads. Haha. Although most his works are in black-and-white, when he uses colour, I love the soft colours and shading he chooses. Suitable for children.

Journey to the Mountains 3D Papercut

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to stop by his gallery. Also, check out last month's feature here.

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