Featured Artist: Felipe Novoa
In our latest Featured Artist, we have returned to Bogotá, Colombia, to show you the work of Felipe Novoa (FEN), an illustrator who has been able to create his own style through urban art and the lowbrow movement, adding a touch of humor to his work.
One of the things that characterizes his work is that it is full of color, something that connects him to his roots and that has influenced, to a large extent, his style and his way of working in the illustration field.
And the fact of the matter is, in the creative process, choosing a color palette that works with our design is not easy at all, which is why the varied and attractive combinations used in his work are so striking. “I think you train the eye and the brain over the years to understand which colors work well together and which don’t. This is achieved by drawing inspiration from different sources, such as films, paintings, other illustrators, etc.”
Tip for designers: “A trick that I always use in my work is to balance out the color in the composition, in other words, to ensure that there is more or less the same amount of one and the other in the image as a whole.”
Illustrations that connect with the public
Connecting with the public’s thoughts and feelings is something that all artists wish to achieve through their work. For this reason, this Colombian designer always pays close attention to facial expressions and feelings in his illustrations.
“I think the general public can feel more identified with an emotion than with the image in itself. That’s why I place so much importance on the faces and expressions of the characters I draw, to create a more personal connection with the spectator.”
Furthermore, the use of grotesque expressions has served as a way of adding a touch of humor to some of his illustrations, becoming yet another characteristic of his style.
From a terrible sketch to a detailed illustration
It’s interesting how Felipe Novoa explains that his creative process stems, in his own words, from a “very terrible sketch”. Yes, you read that correctly! When we ask him how he begins his illustrations he explains that the first step is always a sketch, and, although at first it may look like “something that seemingly has no shape”, it is a starting point from which the artist can begin to define the general composition of the illustration.
After this first step, he creates a second sketch, in which he improves the level of detail of the characters, expressions, scenes, etc., before adding the contour lines and all the other elements of the image.
At this point, he adds color and lighting, then finally adding some extras “like color filters or textures”. You already know what the final result is!
A blend of styles and fun sources of inspiration
While each artist must follow their own style, as with everything, it’s important to have sources of inspiration. This is what Felipe Novoa thinks: “The style of each artist is created through their life experiences, their visual sources of inspiration from childhood and their creation technique.”
His illustrations include a blend of characteristic elements of urban art, like graffiti, with other movements such as the lowbrow movement. This has led him to create a very personal style which, at the same time, is full of references to these two artistic concepts.
His work is also marked by several sources of inspiration, some classic, such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, others from street art, such as Obey Giant, Banksy, el Pez and DFace.
“In my country, urban art gained huge popularity in the 2000s, particularly Saint Cat, Gleo, Lesivo and Stinkfish. There was then a wave of outstanding illustrators such as Felipe Bedoya, Lorena Álvarez, Rodez and Guacala, among many others. I think they have all contributed something to my work and to my goals as an illustrator.”
The pop culture of the nineties is also reflected in the illustrations of this artist, from which he considers that “he learned a lot about photography, composition, color and emotivity”.
“The Ninja Turtles, The Biker Mice from Mars, The Simpsons and all the series on the Cartoon Network at the time: Dexter, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, etc. When I was older, I acquired an incredible taste for movies. I love movies by Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese and many other classics. Although, more than any series or film, I was greatly influenced by the Garbage Pail Kids trading card collection, something that I try to include in my drawings even today.”
As good lovers of design, we couldn’t miss the chance to show you the experience and work of a designer like Felipe Novoa. Nor can you let pass this exclusive collection that you’ll only find on Freepik, which will serve as a support in your designs on mental health. It is increasingly important to raise awareness and give visibility to this issue.
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