February 10, 2016

Left it until the last minute to get bae a Valentine’s Day card? You swore you’d be organised enough this year to not only buy a card, but prepare a wildly romantic weekend away complete with delicious chocolates and lavish gifts. Let’s be honest; at this late stage, is this a realistic goal? Damn right it’s not. However, there’s still time to make your own V-Day card with East London print studio, Hato Press and illustrator duo Joe Gamble and Alice Bowsher. Head down to our Oxford Street store between 6-8pm Thursday 11th February for a free emergency service.

We caught up with Alice and Joe before the workshop to find out more.

UO: You’re both publishing books with Hato Press in 2016. Can you tell us a little about your stories?

Joe: It’s called Martha’s Moths and it’s about a young girl who collects giant moths. One day her desire to find the last remaining moth for her collection as well as her intrigue as to what they really want, leads to her being taken far away from home.

Alice: Mine is called Scruff and it’s about a scruffy man who finds a scruffy dog; they discover together that neither of them are as scruffy as they appear. Just a couple of cute guys helping each other look even cuter.

Image Credit: Alice Bowsher

UO: What originally attracted you to illustration as a medium?

Joe: I’ve always wanted to draw and create, so the illustration route seemed the most direct way to achieve this; working to a brief that provides context. Recently however, I’ve found that the work I create myself is what I’m gaining the most recognition from. That’s a really nice feeling.

Alice: It was completely by accident actually. I explored fashion, fine art and graphics before settling on illustration (for now). I always loved drawing but never thought I could just draw all the time with a purpose. I love illustration as it covers so many grounds and the projects can all be so varied. But I’m still greedy so I like to dabble in many a medium.

UO: What’s your creative process, (if you have one) from initial idea to finished product?

Joe: I work quickly, so often an initial drawing used for a first idea finds its way into the final thing. I don’t like overthinking things and prefer to act on instinct. Working this was feels a lot more real to me, rather than refining things too much.

Alice: It really depends what I’m working on. If I am free wheeling I would go straight in with ink and paint until I can no more. I love to work quickly and enjoy the mistakes that can happen when working with just ink. If I need to do something specific and more refined, I draw sketches with a fine liner and use them to inform more controlled ink drawings. I do edit my work on the computer, but I like to keep this stage to a minimum to keep the natural charm.

Image Credit: Alice Bowsher

UO: How would you describe your artistic style in three words?

Joe: Spontaneous, intuitive, wrong.

Alice: Simple, bold and fun.

UO: Are there any themes you are repeatedly drawn to in your work?

Joe: I have always done a lot of football related work. That and large mammals.

Alice: Cats. Matthew E White. Yoko Ono. Zebras. Vases. Statues. Henry Moore sculptures. Cups of milk. Sunglasses. Bathing suits. Birds. People wearing glasses. Horses. Monkeys. Palm Trees. Geese. Alligators. Jungle scenes. Eyes. Monsters. Dogs. Faces. Fruit. Bears. Cats. These aren’t all things I like, but are all fun to draw.

Image Credit: Alice Bowsher

UO: What’s your favourite tool in the artist’s box?

Joe: At the moment it’s charcoal, although I’ve been dabbling with coloured pencil a bit more. I flit around quite a lot. But I’d say a solid charcoal pencil is ever present.

Alice: I love black ink and a smooth brush. And cardboard. I love cardboard.

UO: What do you love about the risograph printing method?

Joe: It’s such a great haphazard way of mass producing work. You can see clearly the merging of flat colours and often they don’t line up perfectly. I guess it suits the way I work as well in that way. You can see the human touch, even though it’s such a chunky piece of machinery. Proper manmade.

Alice: I love how fast it can print and I also love the noise it makes. Although I work in mainly black and white I love the layers you can create using different colours.

Image Credit: Joe Gamble

UO: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind these V-Day cards for Urban Outfitters?

Joe: Statues of Cupid. Wow, what a figure.

Alice: As with most of my work, I stared into the eyes of loved ones as I drew each piece.

UO: Favourite way to spend the Valentine’s weekend?

Joe: A Cupid life drawing marathon

Alice: The best Valentine’s night I had was in a half grim pub screaming Dolly Parton 9 to 5 on karaoke. If I could do that again this year for a whole weekend, that would be perfect.

Image Credit: Joe Gamble

And Finally..

The ultimate break up track is… Black Sabbath – Evil Woman Don’t You Play Your Games With Me
Most romantic getaway… Elland Road
The most epic love song of all time… Black Sabbath – Sabbra Cadabra

Image Credit: Joe Gamble