Lew Currie has been designing and illustrating – often on behalf of a bunch of the UK’s coolest bands and labels – for a few years, growing an appreciable steezy, slacker style which is big on bold, contrasted colourings and nice little glitches of detail.
Amazing at bringing life to often very ordinary topics, activities and people, Lew creates vast scenes of colour and commotion that are dreamy, playful and almost psychedelic. During 2015 he’s released a couple of books, both of which pay homage to different loves – one being The Streets and the other football. The way he envisions happenings and people make his drawings verge on commentary, which when coupled with his unique style and process create something pretty special. To top things off, Lew also plays drums in Nai Harvest, a two piece that you’ve probably heard on the radio that do super cool dreamy, poppy stuff that’s catchy as hell.
He answered a few questions for Overdiluted and was even kind enough to draw us a few doodles that cover him, his motivations and a playful twist on this very website. Here’s what he had to say…
Take me through what you’ve drawn, what’s going on in each one and why have you chosen these things?
The guy eating food is me at my happiest. I struggled on this one for a while cos I’m quite a negi dude to be fair haha. Then I was having my tea and realised I was stoked!
The three objects are my favourite ‘things’ - football, Video Games and drums, simple as! UTB.
The group of people is what motivates me, and finally the hand pouring cordial into the water is what I think of when I hear the word ‘Overdiluted'. The main reason for this one is just ‘cos me and you used to have a running joke when we were teenagers about how I liked my cordial proper weak, to the point where it just looked like water haha.
How would you describe your work?
Goofy, stupid looking cartoons.
What do you like to draw?
I just focus on communicating an idea as simply as I can, normally through expressions or literal things. I prefer that to drawing abstract stuff. I like to draw people ‘cos they’re funny, it’s easy to make them look or feel a certain way.
What influences you?
Probably people. My day job is being an ice cream man, so I get to spend a lot of time people watching. They usually do something stupid, or something that you wouldn't expect if you keep an eye out.
Take me through your creative process.
It depends really; if it’s a project where the client has given me a very specific idea, then I’ll just rough it out and get on with it once they’ve approved the initial thing. If it’s a personal thing, it’ll more than likely be an idea I’ve had for a while and kept in the notes folder on my phone, I have a list of things I think would make good illustrations. In terms of working process, it’s: idea, roughs, final linework in pen, final textures in a mix of media, scanning all that in and then coloured and edited in Photoshop.
I often find it kinda funny that the better people get at something, the more 'back to basics' their style gets, what do you think of this?
Yeah! I definitely agree with this, in fact only recently I noticed how simple my work has become over the past year. I’m not saying I’m amazing like haha. For illustration, I think it’s just about honing in on a particular way of working. It becomes less about the amount of detail and complication and more about a recognisable style and process... I could be talking shit here like, who knows!
What first set you off to get into design, illustration and drawing?
I was always into drawing as a kid and all that stuff. It was only in college when I properly got into ‘illustration’ though. I discovered a number of illustrators and designers who were all being recognised for their work in the underground music scene. Things like MySpace and Blogspot made it really easy to showcase work and at the same time, easy for people to follow it.
Their work fascinated me as they had a certain style, I thought it was cool how you could be known or recognised by a drawing and wanted to do it myself. Through a trial and error process I worked out how to make a drawing on the computer, haha. And then I guess since then, I’ve just been adding/ editing my process/ method. It takes so long to get a style down, it pisses me of when people ask 'how you do something’ – just work it out for yourself!
Who do you look up to in terms of creativity and design?
I have a lot of illustrators I follow, but none of them are particularly prestigious. My initial love was for Keaton Henson, but he doesn’t draw much nowadays. Other than that, recently I’ve been enjoying the work of Jay Howell, he does the drawings for Bob’s Burgers and stuff.
Playing in Nai Harvest, illustrating... do you always feel the need to have some sort of creative outlet?
Most definitely! I’ve always known I had to do something creative, whether it be art or music. Kinda sucks that now I’m a bit older, I have to get a real job to pay the bills and can’t just piss about with my mates all day, writing tunes or doing some kind of creative project. I’ve also never really been interested in anything else so I don’t know what else I’d do to have a good time. Apart from playing video games, but that gets you nowhere!
On the subject of Nai Harvest, how does the outlet of playing and writing music differ to illustrating?
It’s very similar: theres a process/method (of songwriting with initial ideas) and a final outcome (a set of songs which you end up recording and putting on a physical). The only difference is there’s a group of you all working on the same thing.