Illustrator Jordan Moss shows us how to work a good gradient

The Brooklyn-based illustrator and designer has an eye for all things tonal, colourful and textured.

12 March 2021

A quick Google of Jordan Moss and you’re greeted with her colourful portfolio, replete with a welcoming mix of graphic design projects and fruitful illustrations. Then you navigate to her ‘about me’ section, during which your eyes are drawn to some facts about the artist: “Plants. Capricorn. French fries. Gradients.” Summarising yourself in all but a few words is no easy task, but Jordan has done so in such precision that you instantly get a feel for what’s to come.

Jordan’s illustrative work is abound with texture, where bold, primary colours are blended with those that are more tonal. Artful displays of cafe settings and shiny chairs are paired with juicy flowers, detailed interiors and depictions of powerful women – women skateboarding, hanging with friends or modelling some new hairdos. It’s a joy to observe, and the Brooklyn-based illustrator knows all to well how to work a good gradient. So much so that her work has now been featured widely in publications such as 3x3 Magazine Archive, Zupi Magazine, American Illustration and Quell Skateboarding, and she’s also built a client list ranging from Adidas, Target, Hewlett Packard, Refinery 29, Medium, Fuku and Atlantic Records, to name a few.

At the moment, Jordan is both a full-time graphic designer and freelance illustrator. “So each day can be a bit hectic, and my creative process needs to be adaptable,” she tells It’s Nice That. “But each project starts with me highlighting the key ideas, messaging and visual goals I want to achieve. Sort of like elements of a story.” This pre-planning phase is imperative to the process, after which she’ll begin to piece each part of the narrative together in order to continue with the next section: research and finding any references that she might need. “I work out my composition and values in black and white, and I explore colour and texture last.”

It’s a detailed methodology and one that comes naturally to the artist. When Jordan was growing up, she was surrounded by all sorts of creative people. For one, her friends and family are all writers, designers, actors, musicians and artists. She’s also based in New York, which is famous for its underground art scene. “You’re surrounded by every form of expression you could think of,” adds Jordan. “The city is filled with an energy that wants you to explore your most creative self.” With these influences in tow – and with the supportive environment to match – Jordan was set up for a career in the arts. It worked in her favour, as art was what she always wanted to do, “the only thing that’s ever felt like something that I belonged to.”


Copyright © Jordan Moss, 2021

Art has long been ingrained in Jordan’s daily life, to the point that she can find inspiration in just about anything. It takes a skill to be able to look at your surroundings, to observe the world going by and then notice something usually beautiful about it. “I feel inspired everyday in all new ways,” she continues to say of her reference points. “I love learning and observing new perspectives and executions through all kinds of processes.” Usually this takes shape in anything from browsing the internet, heading to galleries and viewing some art, or digging through publications. “But I feel most inspired when I make time to do things that reset my mind. This could mean finding a new furniture store to obsess over, spending time in nature or a new playlist to vibe to.”

All of Jordan’s artworks are made using digital techniques, and the ones that she’s most proud of tend to be those created in her out of hours – free time where she’s able to relax and tune in with her craft, simply creating for the sake of creating. Most of the works are done in a manner that sees the artist push herself to new extremes, especially when it comes to colour and texture, or making the piece appear less digital. “As far as concept, the pieces tend to be based on nostalgic or dream-like imagery that has struck with me over the years that I want to bring into my world and make my own interpretation of,” she says, resultantly in work that has a familiar essence about it.

While meandering through her dreamy creations, there’s no doubt that Jordan’s audience will find her work to be recognisable. And if that’s the case, then she's one happy artist. “I would love my audience to always be able to find something in my work that they can relate to,” she concludes. “Feelings or memories that can speak to them on a personal level.”

GalleryCopyright © Jordan Moss, 2021

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Copyright © Jordan Moss, 2021

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.

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