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Call us: Holme made Cakes! No Bookings being taken in the cafe.
We caught up with Chester at his studio in Forest Hil hot off the release of the Legends Capsule to discuss his story, and shed some light on his unique illustrative style. ILU: Hey Chester, thanks for sitting down with us. I do a lot of editorial illustration for magazines and stuff, but I also make comics and ceramics and prints when I get a bit of time between commissions. I work from home, got a nice little studio setup in my flat, and spend my days looking out over the London skyline from my desk which is a bit of a winner!
What are your favourite places in London? And some of your go-to things to do?
The Ken Price pretty much my favourite artist show at Hauser and Wirth a little while ago of both his paintings and his ceramics, was similarly incredible. My girlfriend has a real-life job where she actually has to leave the house shocker, I knowso I try to get up with her in the morning, fall into the shower, make a coffee and then sit down and figure out what I actually need to get done that day.
Like I said, bad at routines! Although, I suppose it does only happen once every 4 years, and It is, of course, coming home. ILU: So how did you get into illustration? I dunno, it was kind of lucky I guess. Basically, I just got really bored of everything apart from Art when I was at school, and so when I left I went to go and do an Art Foundation, which is a yearlong course where you get a little taster of all the various disciplines and degrees that an art college offers — Illustration, Graphic De, Fashion, Fine Art, 3D de, Animation etc.
I got a bit more serious about it all over the next few years and got really into the alt-comics scene.
People like Patrick Kyle and Michael Deforge and Jesse Moynihan just blew my mind, I couldn't understand how they could be so prolific and yet keep the quality so high, and I think still now a major drive for me is trying to emulate their output. I think another really valuable thing I got from those guys as well as lots of other comix people, was the realisation that you can be confident in making really weird stuff. Often the weirder an image is, the better, and It certainly means the process of making them is a lot more fun.
Helena bonham carter: eudoria holmes is a woman that i’d love to have met
ILU: How would you describe your illustrative style? I hate fussiness in illustrations, cross-hatching can do one, so can fineliners. I like really decisive, confident images, so I use quite strong linework with no variation in width, small groups of really nice strong flat colours that tone well together, and maybe the occasional area of texture.
I think I unconsciously approach image making from a print-making perspective, where you keep your of colours small and so have to be extra clever about how you use them. I think these sort of restrictions really improves the quality of the image; you have less elements so you kind of don't have anything to hide behind. Each mark has to be clearer, more communicative, more beautiful and better constructed.
I work pretty much entirely digitally, just using a sketchbook to write down ideas and work out any particularly weird or tricky bits of anatomy or composition. ILU: Have you always strived to be an illustrator and make a life out of being a creative?
Did you ever contemplate a more traditional 9 to 5? I guess the idea that I would be able to make a career from creativity never seemed out of reach because of my parents.
ILU: What advice would you offer your younger self? I mean, I spoke before about how important the confidence to make weird shit was for me, and I think that probably the earlier you realise that, the cooler you and your work will end up being.
Just start and let yourself figure it out as you go. Just start and let it go where it goes!
All for love, written by heather holmes
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