Interview with Alexis Marcou
Tell us something about your upcoming work. What are you into at the moment?
I am currently working for a company in India called Black Swan, a company in Hong Kong called MsEnvy and another also situated in Hong Kong called TEELOCKER. I am also currently working on an illustration for Fade the Shadows and a poster ‘‘The Snow Queen” illustration for a play, for Subplot Studio. I have a personal project I am working on as well which I hope to post on Behance Network by the end of July. It will be called ‘Prism’.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: where is home, and how long have you been a designer/illustrator?
I was born March 1984 in Greece (Larisa). My father is from Cyprus (Nicosia) and my mother is from England (Cheltenham). I currently live in Cyprus (Nicosia). I have been drawing from a very young age but I have been working as an illustrator since 2007.
Could you tell us some more about your illustration? How would you describe your style?
I would define my style as Expressive, Minimal, Vibrant (high use of contrast)
Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?
The main process followed is: Internet research, creation of draft sketches, mood boarding, digital drawing and finishing (Photoshop) but of course all of these are affected to some extent by the client.
If you could change one thing about being an illustrator, what would it be?
The long hours spent in front of computer screens.
Do you remember the very first piece of art that you worked up?
The very first piece I drew that I remember was a ‘whale’ and I did this at the age of 3 or 4.
What artists have influenced you, and how? Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?
Many artists have influenced me but the main ones are Picasso, Richard Estes and Masamune Shirow. It is difficult to say what inspires me in my personal life and work. Many things might inspire me without realizing.
What was your favorite book as child?
‘Dr. Seuss’ and ‘Noddy’
How has your work evolved over the years from when you where beginning?
It evolved from basic shading and errors in proportions to more complex designs. The levels of shading have increase and I started to introduce more color. Also I have introduced more shattered and distorted lines which have their influence at cubism.
What inspires you and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
I find inspiration in different things I might come across in my daily life. This might be an image I come across on the web or a scene in a movie or a person I meet, or even a news report. Most importantly, other artists ‘work inspires me very much. Peoples’ appreciation and positive feedback motivates me.
How have you handled the business side of your work?
I try to keep my clients happy. I always complete the work on time and to their satisfaction.
What is your family background? Were there any artists or creative types in the family?
Yes there are. My grandfather is an archaeologist and has been designing for more than 70 years. My great grandfather used to draw and my mother also draws as a hobby.
What upcoming shows, exhibitions, do you have coming up?
There is an exhibition coming up in July by Fade the Shadows which I will be participating in. Also in September there will be another exhibition in Italy Cosenza which I will also participate in and it will be about the collection of tales by Paolo Rumiz. DACS (Designers Against Child Slavery) are doing another exhibition called ”Episodes” which I will take part in. Finally, I am planning to exhibit my work in Cyprus (Nicosia) next winter.
What’s the best part of being an illustrator?
You get the opportunity to work with many different people. I also like the fact that you can work for different companies (size, product etc.) and learn from your clients.
The hardest and the easiest part of your passion?
The hardest part is when a design doesn’t come out as you expect especially if it is for a client. The easiest part is that I can work from home.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your illustration fresh?
Peoples’ appreciation and positive feedback motivates me.
I keep my illustrations fresh by doing lots of research and avoiding repetition.
Do you conduct workshops for aspiring illustrators?
No, but I try to help as much as I can when they contact me.
What good advice do you have for people who want to be illustrators?
Work on your technique and on creating your own unique style. When working for different clients listen but try not to compromise your style.
Before you put your work “out there”, do you have it critiqued by someone else, or do you just go with what your heart tells you is right?
Usually I don’t’ have my work critiqued before I post it. I prefer people to judge my work after.
The first illustration that comes to your mind in front of your next blank canvas?
The ‘Snow Queen’.