What do “chopped onion rolls” and “a really shiny toenail” have in common? Well, they are in fact snippets from Ollie Hudson’s phone notes which go onto inform his fantastic works. When we first came across Ollie’s work, we were struck by the freedom of his lines, the sharp wit of his characters and most of all, his humour. Most of his work consists of documenting things that happen around him. It could be how he’s feeling that day, or something that he saw on TV or listened to on a podcast. These little inklings then make their way onto Ollie’s phone in some form, telling It’s Nice That on the matter: “My phone is full of meaningless notes I’ve written from sudden moments of inspiration.” The aforementioned onion rolls and toenail an example of this eclectic feat.
“I used to think of drawing as a planning step before using a ‘proper’ medium, and honestly took myself way too seriously,” explains Ollie. Having just graduated from the illustration course at Arts University Bournemouth last year, Ollie admits his work is “far from what it was a year ago,” embracing the joys that drawing can bring as a fully rounded “proper” medium indeed. Like most illustrators before him, he’s exercised his fair share of experiments in the past. While studying on a foundation course, in particular, he tried lots of different modes of image-making, but came to the conclusion that he had “the most fun and felt the most comfortable drawing.” This is a relief for his fans who can indulge in one hilarious image after another.
His carefree style has no inhibitions and traditional technique, but this wasn’t always the case for the Bournemouth-based illustrator. In the past, he’s spent a lot of time struggling to find a visual style that felt unique to him. It got to a point where, eventually, he gave up and decided to draw exactly what he wanted, which changed everything. “As my work became more concept-driven, I started seeing the same visual elements appearing in my drawings and animations,” he continues. From there, his style – which we know and love today – gently developed, culminating into something that Ollie didn’t wholly suspect at first.
“Somehow, my work is filled with flowers, clouds with faces and a weird blobby character,” he says, the blobby character is one of the best characters that we’ve seen in a long time. Their expression always feels bang on, often a mixture of disgruntled and sarcastic, or alternatively, weirdly charming. They can be seen dozily waking up to a grimacing alarm clock. Elsewhere it is indulging in a delicious “sketihoop diet” and looking out of a window at a particularly cheeky bee. “I like how smug the bee looks and I think the piece summarised how I, and most people, are feeling about being stuck indoors at the moment,” adds Ollie on the funny illustration.
In another work, an animation, in fact, Ollie came up with some visuals to accompany a song his girlfriend came up with about a noodle bar near his house. Aptly titled noodle bar, Ollie talks us through the weird and wonderful piece of work: “I animated a whole scene about an evil pea which I took out of the final piece as I thought it was a bit too much.” For the illustrator-cum animator, working with music is a handy way to start a project, as it provides a structure to base the visual narrative off. It’s something he’s dabbled with in the past with bands, and something he’d like to stretch further in the future, too.
As for Ollie’s other aspirations, he’s looking into new ways of applying his illustrations onto other media. Clothes have been the most recent endeavour, providing Ollie with a new material to experiment with, as well as the chance to explore his fun-loving characters in a new media. “I like creating stuff for different formats,” he finally goes on to say, “testing out what looks good not just on Instagram, but on a shirt of a hoodie. It’s also really cool seeing people wear something you’ve made. So apart from that and some other collaborations, I’m always looking for more opportunities.”
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.