He is young and talented. He graduated with a First class BA degree in Illustration in 2013 and won the World Illustration Award in 2015. He likes seaside walks in his hometown Margate, yet he has worked for names like Roald Dahl, Anorak Magazine, Hallmark/M&S cards.
Meet the award winning illustrator Alex Foster…
Tell us a bit about yourself
I grew up in Margate in the South East by the seaside, then after my foundation year at UCA Canterbury I did my degree at Middlesex University. After my degree in London I came back home to Margate to focus on working in a nicer, more open and accessible environment where I can see my girlfriend, friends and family regularly, and go for seaside walks. I think it is important to mention that I only discovered what a foundation year in art was, and what the University for the Creative Arts was because of my art teacher at school – Mr Lavern.
Commercial projects first really started half way through my degree. Thanks to my tutors and contacts at uni my first major project was a torch map through Barnet for the Olympics in 2012. This was a great experience to learn what a real live project was like.
What are your biggest achievements?
My biggest and proudest achievements have to be working for the Roald Dahl Literary Estate. I went to their new offices in London and spoke to Roald’s Grandson Luke. The whole process was amazing and I was treated great. The project involved making a personal map/menu design for a dinner for Ophelia Dahl, a Chocolate Timeline for their kitchen, and the main illustration was a huge map depicting all of Roald’s books, characters and locations.
As well as this, winning a World Illustration Award for my Totally Thames poster, and seeing it in train stations and underground stations was kind of strange and overwhelming in a really good way!
Where do you get inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. Sometimes from a story in a podcast or a film or book, and sometimes the project will have a fairly tight brief and a good idea of what it will be, so in those examples inspiration is more practical and how I will style it and use of colours and composition etc. This will come from design and illustrators and nature, all kinds of things.
How long does it take you to complete an illustration?
- It depends of course on what the project is. For example the Roald Dahl Map, which was 4 x A1 size and the biggest thing I’d ever made, took me around a month and a half, I think. It was tough to organise and get my head around! Something like a House Portrait can take me 3-4 hours, or a detailed map can take a few weeks.
How your art can be part of our every day life?
When people order a House or Pet Portrait for example, it has a personal touch. I’ve heard some really lovely stories from people who have a touching personal story and reason why they are placing the order. Many people of course will commission one because they are proud of their home which is of course great too! My new Drawing Box as well is very practical as it includes a notebook set and a mechanical pencil – notebooks and sketchbooks are a vital part of many people’s working and personal lives.
Which is your favourite work up to date?
My favourites at the moment are probably the Roald Dahl map because of what it represents for me, the Totally Thames map for the same reasons, and the recent Paris Map – I think I’m proud of how the composition and colours have turned out. Sometimes a beautiful house or pet will make it easy for me to make it look nice!
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into Alex Foster’s world of illustrations.
He kindly offered a 15% discount for the readers of my blog with code BALGARKA – if you’re looking for a unique gift idea or to add a touch of his art to your home decor, check out his online shop.
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