Andrew Denholm

A freelance illustrator hailing from Melrose, Scotland, Andrew Denholm is a talented character in possession of a portfolio that demands attention. Illustrators are generally a humble bunch, happy to waive overt praise in favour of sitting quietly in their studios working diligently to please the public with startling and beautiful imagery. Andrew is one such creative, though we find him far too humble given the brilliance of his illustrations. Trippy, primal and bursting with energy, Andrew’s creations are formed of strong, thick lines and precise patterns lending them a folkish quality, though by contrast, garish colours and contemporary cause his characters to fizz within their frames. Spaghetti monsters and tribal masks gnash teeth and seem to be perfect company for this artist’s interpretation of the many grotesque faces and characters of London. The snake-bearded, boundary-pushing hipster has to be our favourite.
Andrew says he’s been drawing his whole life. As a child, it was either football or drawing, “so”, he says, ” I spent a lot of my time picking up skills on my own. At secondary school we had a fantastic art department that really encouraged students to progress and think about a career as a creative person. I managed to build up a decent portfolio and applied to Edinburgh College of Art. I spent 4 brilliant years at ECA learning lots of different techniques and this is where I eventually chose Illustration as my main focus.”

When asked about specific influences, this artist has lots to say and certainly doesn’t limit these influences to just one discipline. “My first passion was for comics like the Beano,” says Andrew, “I grew up copying and making my own characters. I also loved Quentin Blake and lots of other children’s illustrators when I was growing up, enjoying the images more than the stories sometimes. As I got older I began to be more interested in artists like Peter Howson, Lucian Freud, Picasso and many more. Lately I’ve have looked at ancient art alongside modern street art and tried to blend the two. I personally think artists like Keith Haring are great.”

A hardworking guy with a high regard for humour and fun, Andrew’s love of brights and bolds colour has been recently offset by stark, monochrome images. These illustrations, part of a series titled simply, ‘Black & White’ depict a range of natural scenes; ocean waves, rolling mountains, jungle animals and cute farmhouses. These striking images are akin to ultra-modern fairytale illustrations and hold a great sense of narrative. Andrew has said that his chief passion is creating original characters for onlookers to enjoy. When viewing his array of editorial and commercial projects for various clients such as marvellous magazine and pride of Scotland, The Skinny, this passion is as plain as day.

“I love to create complex images that are built up with pattern and line,” says Andrew, ‘So, I find inspiration in ancient art forms. I think their simple ways of using shape and design are really effective. I am drawn to masks, carvings and sculptures from different civilisations around the world. I see lots of similarities in this type of art and really like to unpick the ways in which they have been created.” Next year Andrew’s looking forward to a number of t-shirt projects and new commissions. We’re keen to see more show-stopping work from this illustrator and are very excited about a forthcoming YGT collaboration. Watch this space, as they say.

 Find more here 


Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth

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