“Drawing on a computer can be quite brutal, so I’ve been thinking about how I can make it more beautiful,” explains London-based illustrator Thomas Hedger. Having gained a reputation for his landscapes in poppy colours with punchy, thick outlines, Thomas has spent the last year or so finessing his work and immersing himself in longer projects.
“Working like this has let me spend more time mulling over finer details and I think that has led to my work becoming looser and more experimental,” he tells It’s Nice That. Recently working on a series of visual essays for Lobby Magazine and Das Mag, both projects tackled sensitive topics — fallout shelters and the Mexican border respectively — they also coincided and so greatly informed each other. Both of the series’ utilise Thomas’ newfound stylistic nuances, including an injection of “hazy gradients” and similar colour palettes which allow him to “create subtle tones, rather than always clashing the colours around.”
It’s not just Thomas’ static work which has experienced rapid progression. 2017 saw him take his first steps into the world of moving image with Posters for Peace for Sid Lee Collective: an open call for all creatives, designers and illustrators to submit their visions of peace in a 24” x 36” poster. The short promotional animation, which is also Thomas’ favourite project from the last year, features his sickly-sweet illustrations brought to life by animator David Leclerc, juxtaposed with disturbing real-world footage of war and destruction.
Despite the obvious changes, Thomas’ work retains the “little human normalities” that have always interested him. “I’ve zoomed out with my work, thinking more about aesthetics and trying to make something more fluid,” he explains. This approach has enabled him to incorporate more narrative into his work, even in the static imagery. By taking advantage of symbology and focussing on projects over a longer time-span, he has begun to create work which conveys feeling and atmosphere in a less literal manner.
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