Bryce Louw’s name has been coming up a lot lately, both online and in conversation. The illustrator and designer is constantly putting great work up on his blog and we’re super keen to check out the graphic novel he’s working on. Stathi Kougianos chats to him after the jump.
DIY: What motivates you to post new work on your blog as regularly as you do?
Bryce: Um, a combination of ego-stroking and a way of keeping myself disciplined. It’s nice to have somewhere I can post a piece of work and someone I have no knowledge of, someone on the other side of the world will “like”/”favourite”/comment on it and assert me as a creative being. The blogging platform; where frequently updating can be very rewarding in terms of reaching a bigger audience, as your posts will take up more of a user’s feed, is another element that provides me with motivation to work. It’s a little shallow, but it helps. I guess it’s also a place where I have to present myself and keep producing, I’m not sure how much I’d be motivated to produce personal work without it to be honest. I recommend creating a public blog to anyone who wants to keep up a consistent stream of work.
You don’t want to just be another face in the crowd.
DIY: Do you ever feel intimated that it’s not good enough?
Bryce: I used to, but over the past few years I’ve come to realise the value in mistakes and accidental marks etc. I’ve also become a lot more confident in my own skill. So all together I’m never consciously intimidated these days, but there is always this presence; subconscious or otherwise that nags at you to produce work that you’d want other people to see.
DIY: Do you think your personal growth can be seen from drawing to drawing or is it the behind the scene process which is more important to you?
Bryce: For me, it’s constant, every time I make a mark I’m practicing. I’m considering something new. Obviously you can become stagnant doing the same thing over and over again, but simply changing it up, sketching something you usually wouldn’t, leaving your comfort zones and doing things differently can make a massive difference. And aside from the actual act of drawing, there is value and growth in experience and challenging one’s self in other aspects of life that can and most often do filter through and have some kind of effect, whether it be conscious or subconscious, on ones growth as an illustrator or artist.
DIY: What aspects of your work depicts your personality?
Bryce: Flip, I don’t know… The messiness of it? Haha, you should see my workspace, scary. But I guess my style would have to have been influenced by my personality in some way or another. Although I can’t say I’ve ever really thought about it and the thought of analyzing my own drawings makes me feel a little ill.
DIY: Creating graphic novels requires unbelievable amounts of patience, do you ever just wanna throw in the towel and give up? What keeps you going?
Bryce: Haha! Of course, well, kind of. It can be extremely tedious and frustrating at times, especially when something just refuses to work and you spend hours and hours reworking the same sequence or frame. but the challenge and reward of it outweighs that I think. The ability to create a movie, a scene, a sequence, the way I’ve envisioned it; is awesome. And with illustration there are often times where accidents and experimentation are extremely rewarding, which is something that keeps me excited and involved. Flip, I can full on create any world I wish! That’s freaking motivation enough.
DIY: What is your favourite and least favourite thing about drawing?
Favourite would be: Being able to express my imagination and the individuality of artists’ styles. It’s also something that can provide some degree of instant satisfaction.
Least favourite: The feeling when every bit of effort you throw at the piece of paper is in vain and nothing works or feels right. The preconception that drawing is just a hobby or effortless thing someone does to pass time.
DIY: What’s the biggest hurdle you have faced developing your style?
Bryce: Um, I can’t really say I faced any hurdles while developing it, as it wasn’t something I’d ever thought about. It came naturally as I grew as an illustrator. In the last two years or so I’ve found that people have really begun to notice and react positively to the mark I make. I think I’m lucky to have something that sets me apart. Something that is particularly challenging though; there are times where, for a certain client or look and feel you have to accommodate a style or remove yourself from your normal, natural style and embrace another. That shit can be tough.
DIY: What advice can you give to young artists who are daunted with the notion of “having a style”?
Bryce: Try not to worry about it too much. And know that in the industry will require you to be someone you’re not. At the same time, do not let yourself fall into a stylistic trap, where you’re imitating the style of someone else. Or else you’ll have nothing new and unique to offer an employer or your audience. I notice this a lot on sites like DeviantArt where specifically Anime and Manga styles are copied and repeated, and the distinction between artists is lost. You don’t want to just be another face in the crowd. Experiment, go crazy, listen to reckless music and do what makes you feel good.
DIY: Any new comics on the horizon you would like to talk about?
Bryce: Yeah actually, I won’t say too much. But a good friend of mine and I are currently producing a colab graphic novel. He’s a mad crazy Swiss comic artist with so much style! It’s going to be so sexy, dynamic and full of energy. Hopefully we’re going to blow some people away. I’m going to be trying to find some places to stock it soon, so keep your eyes and ears open for something with my name on it in the next few months.
DIY: Goals for next year?
Bryce: Well, there’s a lot happening for me now, a lot of changes ahead. But I want to have this graphic novel colab published and be rolling in dollars, of course. And to hopefully get involved in some overseas projects, I want to travel, to learn, to draw people in coffee shops, in trains, I want to fill as many sketchbooks as I can carry, and meet interesting and vibrant people. I want to spread my wings and get my feet in as many doors as is possible. So yeah, those are pretty much my goals for the next year, as long as I keep improving and exploring I’ll be a happy camper.
Check out more of Bryce’s work on his tumblr