Drawing the FFF Team
To celebrate the redesign of FFF, 10 years after it launched, we asked Illustrator Jennifer Dionisio to draw portraits of each of our contributors for the FFF team page. Not an easy task with 29 portraits to be drawn from photographs of varying lighting and quality. Getting the line weight just right, showing enough character to make the portraits recognisable and being kind enough that everyone was happy with their image certainly made this a test.
I had a chance to ask Jennifer a few questions after she finished the job.
Tell us a little about how you became an illustrator.
Sure, I am originally from Canada. I now live and work in London, I went to school here for a BA (Hons) Illustration at London Metropolitan University. I have been freelancing since 2015 and I am a member of Puck Collective.
What’s it like to be part of a collective like Puck as a freelancer?
Puck has been a wonderful way to meet other illustrators. I’ve been lucky to get advice and support from such a fantastic and experienced group of artists. It has also been great for getting my work out there; we’ve done illustration fairs, a publication, workshops and a group show. Our next publication, ‘Puck Collected 2’ is set for Spring 2017.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give an illustrator just finishing University?
Be proactive; don’t wait for people to find you. But also, don’t feel like you need to rush in to contacting people right away. If you are still unsure about your work, it is ok to wait until you have built up a small portfolio that you are really proud of. If you don’t have commissions, just keep making personal work. Make the work that you would ideally want to be paid for. It might be a long hard slog, but don’t give up.
How would you describe your work?
My work is inspired by my collection of vintage imagery and ephemera, film noir and pulp science fiction. I like to take a cinematic approach to composition making. I use painted textures and detailed hand drawing before colouring digitally.
How do you approach a project like drawing 25 portraits for us?
For this brief, it was important for the drawings to read at smaller sizes, so my approach was looser with bolder line work than I normally employ. I made a pencil sketch of the photograph for a guide. Then I used fine liners of varying widths to draw the portrait over top. The pencil was then erased. Finally, the image is scanned and in Photoshop, cleaned and sized.
Can you describe your workspace to our readers?
I am fortunate to live in a warehouse conversion, so we have plenty of space for a desk in the living room area. This is where I work most of the time. Sometimes I go to cafes to draw for a change of scenery.
Do you listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks while you work?
Mostly music, right now I’m loving The Zombies, ‘The EP Collection’ and Dark Dark Dark.
What would be your dream project?
I would love to work across various mediums for a big project, like the branding of a restaurant or cafe.