Challenging The Threshold Between Digital and Analogue
‘Martin Nicolausson is an illustrator. He believes in igniting curious thought whenever and wherever he can.’
Inspired by the playfulness of modernist painting as well as folk and vernacular art, the Swedish graphic designer/ illustrator Martin Nicolausson experiments within the realm of both the digital and analogue to create his unique style.
Who influences you graphically?
My influences are many and vary quite a lot through different periods. Although, I keep going back to the playfulness of modernist painters like Matisse, Arp, Picasso and Miró. And to Edward Hopper and how he depicted light. I’m hugely inspired by folk- and vernacular art – characters, masks and figures of different sorts.
In an analogue world how would you re-imagine the work? How would the medium effect the output?
What digitality has provided, in respect to my work, is an environment where experimentation is possible in a vastly more efficient way. A lot, but not all, of my work is conceived spontaneously, basically through trial and error. Without the possibility to CTRL-Z my way out of things I don’t think it would look the same.
I’m trying to get back into working more hand to paper without the involvement of the computer. But I find it frustrates me more often than not. Like what sitting in front of a screen all day has done to other aspects of life (my attention span is not what it used to be) I think it has also impacted my working habits in a similar way.
What is your take on colour?
I’m not sure if I have one. I think color is an important identifier of my work, but I try not to get stuck with a certain palette or group of colours. I’ve been going through a period of using more muted and pastel tones and that comes very natural to me, but I’ve also felt the need to break out of that recently so I will try forcing myself to work with a more saturated palette.
What is your work process in terms of concept development?
Depending on if it’s a self-initiated project or a commission I will either come up with a concept before starting the actual work, usually in response to a brief, or just start working from nothing or a small seed of an idea and see where it takes me – the concept will usually be conceived along the way. I prefer the latter but quite explicably clients tend to like knowing what they’re getting beforehand.
What programs do you use?
The usual suspects, Illustrator and Photoshop mostly. Indesign and After Effects occasionally.