“I think I’ve become more comfortable trusting myself and my ideas” says the illustrator Evan Cohen on the progression of his work over the past year. “I spent a long time finding my own voice and now, I am trying to focus on just making as much work as possible.” If you follow Evan on instagram, you’ll know that he’s really been churning out the goods. Not only is this a benefit for his fans, but he also finds it helpful to have several ongoing projects going on at the same time. “It keeps me in the right mindset and I can get a lot accomplished” adds the illustrator.
Recently, Evan’s focused much of his attention on producing comics. But not your usual comics. He’s developed an ongoing theme that has quickly become a signature style that breaks the traditional boundaries of the rigid comics layout grid. “I enjoy breaking the boundaries” says Evan, “where the panels all of a sudden become part of the image and the characters can interact with the page.”
Like many other comics artists, Evan likes how the comics panels act as a natural constraint that can inform composition, but also act as a barrier to break. When he realised this, “it opened up a whole new way of viewing [his] work” and he started experimenting with dissolving and deconstructing the comics panels literally and metaphorically. “It’s a powerful narrative tool that can sum up a lot of different experiences and emotions at once.” And more importantly, it has become a concept for Evan to come back to “as a reminder to let go.”
In the last few months, the illustrator has been working towards Cake, to be published in June. “It’s an exploration into what it means to remember” says Evan “and why memories are so important to me.” As a new challenge, he’s been experimenting with traditional mediums for this comic which he’s seen as a “fun experiment” all while continuing his role as the Hudson Valley Brewery’s illustrator. In terms of this work, though it doesn’t reach an arts audience in the usual way, Evan’s learnt a lot through this kind of commercial illustration.
“I’ve learnt that I want to explore new ways of bringing illustration and comics to people who normally wouldn’t seek it.” He believes that “there are a lot of great artists working today that could use this kind of outlet to showcase their work in a brand new light and to a new population of people.” As more thoughtful design and illustration becomes more integrated within branding, Evan predicts that this kind of illustration work will “become vital in a competitive market”, providing more work for illustrations in general.
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