“Using my art to communicate concepts and stories is a process that really appeals to me,” says Brooklyn-based illustrator Ariel Davis. Having created work for The New York Times, MIT Technology Review, Buzzfeed, Refinery29, Pitchfork and a whole host of others, Ariel describes her work as being composed of “hand-drawn graphic shapes” using specific colour palettes to set the mood.
Her latest works see her using atmospheric hues of purple and blue which she began using as an alternative to black. “It became part of a palette I’ve used a lot because it’s a really versatile colour,” says Ariel. “Recently I’ve been experimenting with other palettes that stray away from being so purple heavy. I’m interested in seeing how colour relationships can give a certain hue more or less power in an image.”
The illustrator’s work is often less character-focused and instead explores wider landscapes and intriguing crops, meaning her work suits editorial commissions that consider multiple themes. As a result, Ariel enjoys creating illustrations around science and technology subjects for her commissions because of the various abstract concepts and ideas she’s able to play around with, and deciding what they might look like as a tangible object. “In my personal drawings I often reference photos I take of things that catch my eye while I’m out,” says the illustrator. “It’s a way I practice unusual compositions or colour combinations.”
Ariel’s illustrations start life as basic compositions and colour tests in her sketchbook before graduating into the final image. Often the illustrator uses coloured pencils and gouache to achieve the vibrant block colours that characterise her work. To push her work further, Ariel has also started making her illustrations into gifs, which gives each piece a new layer of energy.