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Work / Publication

Iris Erlings’ delicate drawings are inspired by the works of modernist sculptors

Iris Erlings has created MYND, a Risoprinted zine that depicts works by the illustrator’s favourite modernist sculptors including Jean Arp, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. “I’m really interested in sculpture and form, but I’ve only ever been good at making 2D images,” says Iris. “I decided I wanted to make drawings that represented the materiality, texture and physicality of these beautiful works. On top of that I mainly sourced referenced photos that came from old catalogues from around the 60s, where the image quality and high contrasts added another layer of texture to the sculptures.”

MYND is the first physical thing Iris has created having studied photography at LCC then realising a couple of years ago that illustration and drawing suited her better. “Illustration is particularly appealing as it just seems so limitless and it can be achieved mostly by just sitting at your desk without too much interference,” says Iris.

The illustrator describes her style as “detailed but relatively simple and clean” and this is echoed through her blue-tinged drawings that celebrate form and shape, and are packed with delicate intricacies. “The graphic element to my work is just as important as the content and the accuracy of the drawing,” she explains.

All of the works in MYND are representations of the female body. “I loved how the materials used – such as stone and marble, as well as the bold forms – really worked together to capture strong images of women,” Iris says. “Even where the surfaces had been chipped away at and some parts were missing, what’s left behind is this sturdy core.”

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Iris Erlings: MYND

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Iris spent a long time researching the project trying to find the best images to reference as it was important to capture the catalogue aesthetic she was after. After measuring points on the page, Iris then began drawing the main outline. “From there it’s just very meticulous shading using a fairly soft pencil. Sometimes these drawings would take me days to complete as the surfaces of the materials were so complex and difficult to capture,” she explains.

“I chose Risograph printing mainly because I had seen a few friends use the technique and love the way their work had turned out. I used to use a photocopier a lot for my work, and the Risograph machine delivers a fairly similar feel, but without looking cheap. I also like the idea of the added layer of texture that would come through.”

Every aspect of the project is important to Iris’ process, from the research to the drawing, from composing an image to creating a book. “I want it to be really satisfying to look at and feel in your hands,” says the illustrator. “My favourite things to draw are the sorts of things that make you want to touch them when you see them, even if it’s just a chunk of rock, a slimy snail or even just an abstract shape. I kind of want the whole image to be mesmerising.”

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Iris Erlings: MYND

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Iris Erlings: MYND

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Iris Erlings: MYND

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Iris Erlings: MYND

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Iris Erlings: MYND