Green, red, yellow, brown, blue… If you look in Luke Scriven’s paintbox you’ll probably find ‘cute’ hiding in there next to all the colours and brushes he uses. After all, one of his goals as an illustrator is to make viewers say ‘awww’, which they do with regularity, and the Wiltshire-based artist has developed a style ideal for the children’s market.
One of Luke’s favourite pieces of advice came from his grandmother, who encouraged him to draw and paint as a child. “You have to use the white of the paper to your advantage,” she told him.
His composition skills have been added to with expert watercolour techniques, and a knack for capturing expression and emotion in just a few simple, gestural marks. The animals and little people he paints are always there to tell a story, and Luke is inspired by the likes of Maurice Sendak and Tove Janson, as well as videogame heroes like Super Mario.
Luke has a BA Hons in Animation from Southampton Solent University.
An image usually starts with a series of line drawings, always with pen, and always more complex than the finished work will be. Luke then uses a light box to take elements from each drawing, putting them together to form the line work he’ll use. This is transferred to watercolour paper, and the image is built up in paints until he’s satisfied. All his images are created traditionally using waterproof pen, watercolours, and standard paper. Once complete, they are scanned, cleaned up and delivered digitally.
‘Scratchy scrawly’ is one description of his work that Luke likes. The soft, simple innocence of his images often belies the skill he has in building up the paint, and imbuing the work with subtle light and shadow. His images tend to be clear and striking, even though he has stripped out much of the early detail from his drawings.