Welcome to the Lumps: A surrealist land created by illustrator Sam Drew

Date
15 October 2019
Reading Time
3 minute read

Welcome to the land of the Lumps. Here, grinning characters go about their daily antics – they go shopping for rainbows, beers, packaged babies, and head to the local all you can eat to feast on some luggage. With perfect yet sinister smiles pinned to their faces, some are even morphed into objects like cans, cigarettes, coffee dispensers or plant pots. It’s a strange place here, but everyone seems rather happy about it.

This colourful and dystopian world is created by Sam Drew, an illustrator from Cardiff who is currently based in Stevenage. As a keen advocate for the arts, drawing is something that has always been of interest and later led him to study product design at university. “This is where I learned technical drawing, but it felt a little restricting and I didn’t feel satisfied,” he tells It’s Nice That. After graduating, Sam consequently steered in a new direction and decided to take on freelancing, web design projects and “any job that came his way”. It was in his spare time that Sam would draw up his own fantastical world, which in turn “became a bit of an obsession,” he says. “I started to post them online and I was really surprised by how well it was received.”

Now revelling in his chosen profession as an illustrator – and quite rightly so – Sam has developed a distinct style that gives a firm nod to the grotesque. “My illustrations mainly portray these characters that I have created, called Lumps. They are a futuristic version of humans and live in a dystopian world,” he explains. “The weird-looking characters often have broad smiles and are placed in colourful, surreal scenes.” Indeed hinting to the familiar, what’s most unsettling is the apparent use of everyday human life and experiences that have been taken, morphed and placed into a future vision. Perhaps his version of where the world will be in a few years, Sam draws from topics such as consumerism and mental health and intertwines these themes into his illustrations. “I’m also a big fan of post-apocalyptic of dystopian worlds,” he says, “so I find myself drawing this type of scene all the time.”

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Sam’s characters were initially formed out of a desire to create the “weirdest character” he could, combined with a longstanding interest in surrealism and automatism. “I loved how the first character turned out and over time they developed into their own little species,” he says. “The Lumps characters are living everyday life, laid back, happy, and some take on the form of everyday objects.”

The mouth is, quite obviously, a reoccurring theme throughout his work. As a visual double entendre, what’s most interesting is that, at first, these smiling characters appear to be quite ghastly, quite sinister or villainous. But on second glance, these creatures seem to be filled with joy. “I like how much expression is put on the characters when I add a big smile,” says Sam. “I have always seen them as positive and happy characters despite their surroundings. I didn’t realise this at first, but some people see the smiles differently, such as being tense, evil or menacing. I like that the drawings are viewed in different ways.”

A lot of the time, art can be seen as a window into the creator’s mind. For Sam, he consciously uses illustration as a portal into the inner workings of his highly imaginative brain. “There are times when I am somewhere like a a really busy supermarket with people rushing everywhere, and I think about how the scene looks so alien. Just observing the world around me can inspire new illustrations,” he says. “That being said, I have no idea where some of them come from!”

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Above

Sam Drew: Lumps

Share Article

Further Info

About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and continued to work with us on a freelance basis. In November 2019 she joined the team again, working with us as a Staff Writer on Mondays and Tuesdays. She's contactable on aa@itsnicethat.com.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.