In his incredible sketchbooks, Madrid-born illustrator Andrés Lozano creates intricate scenes packed with narrative, that he says unfold in a serendipitous way. “Almost all of my personal drawings are improvised on the go,” he explains. “If I start with a really clear idea of what I’m going to draw, I get bored and sabotage the final result. Part of the fun is not knowing where I’m going and if I’m going to fail.”
Setting out on a drawing, he tries to use themes that he feels offer opportunities for improvisation, such as nature, interiors and architecture, adding a character as the focal point. “I like letting it take you places you didn’t expect at first. For example the drawing of a guy hiding behind a sofa after getting a box of snakes as a present: I started drawing the plants on the top left corner and the sofa, and the character ‘appeared’ behind the sofa, looking scared,” Andrés says. “So I built around that and thought a box of snakes would be funny.”
His sketchbooks primarily feature tonal black-and-white line drawings, busy with detail and stories to tell, intermittent with colourful works. One particular “improvised” drawing has recently evolved to become a 100×100cm canvas (top image), showcasing his deftness for character, comedy and rich detail. “I’d been wanting to do some bigger paintings for a while because I think it’s a really powerful medium. I’d been struggling, ending up with really derivative stuff and again was sabotaging myself by overthinking. So the painting was based on a drawing from my sketchbook but, wanting to keep improvisation part of the process, I changed and painted over it a lot, moving elements around, adding and editing. I find painting really engaging compared with digital techniques, I’m more immersed in the process.”
Inspired by Franco Belgian comics and film noir, Andrés cites his creative influences as Hergé, Sempé, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, Philip Guston, Wes Anderson and Richard Neutra – “not directly the visual part but the tone and atmosphere created by their work,” he says. Having worked for clients including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Coca Cola, he’s currently working on a series of non-fiction books with Wide Eyed Editions.