Like many illustrators, Minnesota-based Kevin Bergquist went on a creative expedition to discover and develop his certain style. “I was obsessed with finding an illustration ‘style’,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I was drawing with pencil and paper, really honing in on technique and line work, trying hard to make the process my own. Eventually I hit a wall of sorts, and it just wasn’t fun anymore.”
Kevin found a way to climb this wall, beginning to work in a more “cut and paste method of illustration”. The result is a series of illustrations that use a scanner to create and manipulate the drawings.
This method of using a scanner to utilise the capability of a finished piece is one regularly used in photography, or even graphic design, but not often illustration. “The scanner itself is such an interesting tool,” says Kevin.”I mean, essentially it’s just taking a photo, but it moves so slowly, and the slow speed gives you a chance to get in there and mess everything up while it’s trying to do its job. I love that sort of thing.”
The time consuming process allows improvisation to occur. “I crave spontaneity, and get that with cutting, pasting, scanning and distorting,” explains the illustrator. “It’s really fun because when I sit down to make something, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s always a bit of a surprise. I think that’s where the best stuff comes from, that stuff that I have to trick myself into making, where I find ways to shut off my brain and just let things happen.”
This series of bright primary coloured jiggling drawings is what Kevin has been working on most recently while he was working as a Zamboni driver at a local ice arena. “I wanted to make some art that was quick and somewhat simple to do.” The process begins with collage, Kevin finds an illustration and scans it around 10-15 times. “Each time, I move the image around the scanner bed in slightly different ways. I don’t look at what I’m getting on the computer until I feel like I’ve done enough attempts.” Once he’s happy, Kevin magnifies the scan on Photoshop and asks questions so that the completed piece is just right. “Too literal? That’s boring. Too abstract? That’s unrelatable… If I feel really good about an image, I’ll head to the garage and screenprint it onto paper.”
Now, Kevin has nestled himself into a pocket of illustration that is his own. “It’s about finding those cracks in the process, those points where you can jump in and manipulate things and create some chaos before the work is finished.”
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, was made deputy editor and in November 2021, she 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.