For most comic artists, trying to cram in as much of an illustrative narrative as possible into a panel drawing is a very difficult task. However rather than pushing it to the maximum, illustrator Matthew Kramer creates an instantly digestible drawing with just a few swift line marks and always the same cream background.
Mainly publishing his works in the digital panel format of Instagram under the name canttakemeanywhere, drawing is a relatively new creative venture for Matthew. Studying an art minor at university before working as a public sculptor — “but I hated the bureaucracy and the grant application process, plus I didn’t have room in my home to work on the projects” — Matthew began making doodles, “and my friends really liked them,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I guess I just kept going from there.”
A mix of typewritten style text and curved illustrations, Matthew’s pieces are “often pretty simple”. His approach appears to just be natural. “I guess I am trying to pare down an image to its simplest form,” he explains. “People always ask me, ‘why do you draw like that?’ or ‘how do you do it?’, honestly I have no clue, I just draw that way. Even when I try other styles, deep down they have the same line quality.”
To apply the tone of text in his illustrations Matthew has multiple approaches. Sometimes ideas or written sentiments develops immediately while drawing, “but not all the time”. In other instances the illustrator takes notes on his phone if something clicks even stopping “mid-conversation if I think something music or salient has been said,” he explains. “But the text is not all form things my friends say. There are a lot shower thoughts and midnight wake up note taking.” The illustrator is also dyslexic, admitting it’s quite difficult for him to write, “so it’s important to me that my style slows readers down,” he explains. “I want the abstraction to force readers to deal with the image more than the text. They must form lines into forms in the way that a dyslexic forms letters into words.”
In terms of developing his style, Matthew wants to continue a feeling like he’s writing by hand when illustrating. “I want the process to be smooth and fluid,” he goes on to explain. “I hope to develop more styles that feel as fluid to me as my current line work. As for text: I am really invested in everyday dialogue and aphorisms. I think that they will keep me busy for some time.” The illustrator is also about to have an exhibition, I Don’t Know What To Tell You, Man at Trade Pop Up in New England from May 10 – 13, details of which can be found below.
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.