Illustrator Lorenzo Gritti uses little colour in his works, instead putting the emphasis on the sparse elements he includes. “I know I prefer atmosphere rather than details. I like a sort of cleanliness in my illustrations, with a few bold lines and strong background colours,” says Lorenzo. The illustrator says he learned to draw from looking at old comics from the 40s and 50s. “It has always amazed me how you can put an entire universe in a tiny rectangle, creating atmosphere in black and white, separating the spaces by shadows,” explains Lorenzo.
The Milan-based illustrator mainly depicts solitary characters and surreal landscapes, for an array of clients including The New Yorker, Penguin Random House, Monocle, and New Republic. “My work starts with choosing colours and then creating one digital level for each one. I like to overlap the colours and then try to figure out how to eliminate some of them without compromising the concept behind the sketch,” says Lorenzo of his creative process. “When I have the colours I define the borders of the shapes, often working with the eraser rather than the brush. When I’ve done that as much as I can, it’s almost done.”
Often in portraits Lorenzo adds in bold linework over the colour levels in a bid to simply “underline” and emphasise certain features of the subject. Working completely digitally, he creates his own digital brushes, papers and textures. “I really enjoy playing with them and more often than not it leads me to interesting places where I find new ways to make my images,” he says.
“The big challenge for me is always the idea, the concept has to work with the text and without the text. I’m often a little tense while working on the sketches, especially on a tight deadline. I don’t want either to be too didactic or to be too abstract,” explains Lorenzo. “I want the client to have as many choices, but I don’t want to give something I’m not 100% happy about. So I’d say balance is the issue when it comes to concepts and ideas.”