Despite his work being awash with colour and using both digital and analogue techniques in his illustrations, Alex Ram still always starts a drawing traditionally with pencil and paper. First, he’ll sketch ideas and a possible composition, which he plays with “until things begin to make sense,” the illustrator tells It’s Nice That. “Like starting with a mixing pot of related ideas and then concentrating on them until those ingredients become cohesive.”
Originally studying graphic design and stating that he “learned a lot from the course,” Alex left his studies realising “it wasn’t the perfect fit.” It was the illustrative approach of graphic design he took away from university, and the seed of illustration was firmly planted in his creative sensibility.
Since then, Alex has learned a lot about the practice, and “in terms of my work, I’m making an effort to balance developing a recognisable style whilst making work that is fitting to each project and feels true to myself.” The result is a myriad of references viewers can take from Alex’s eclectically fresh illustration work. With oversized limbs often elongating his characters, there is a pinch of Alva Skog and Molly Fairhurst’s work in his drawings, particularly in pieces which feature no outlines. Yet when pencil marks are visible, it is more traditional illustrators that come to mind, with a certain etching-like quality to his work. “I’m a big fan of any hand-drawn elements that make it into the final piece or illustration,” he adds on this aspect, “this is something I’m currently trying to incorporate more.”
There’s also no boundary to what Alex can lend his drawing style to with his portfolio so far already including everything from illustrations of bands such as Joy Division or Viagra Boys, or simply just the cutting of a courgette.
With the title of an illustrator still being a relatively new role for Alex, working in the medium particularly “feels like an exciting time at the moment,” he tells us. “I have the base ingredients ready in terms of the feel of my work and topics of interest, but in a similar way to how I develop my ideas on paper, I’m still concentrating them (whilst apparently dropping in cooking analogies) into a hopefully tasty stock!”
With food-related analogies being the accidental theme of this article, we are pretty sure several publications will be tucking into his work for commissions very soon too.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.