Squiggles, grids and googly eyes
Tim Colmant is a graphic designer and illustrator who lives and works in his native country of Belgium.
Squiggles, grids and googly eyes are regular features of Tim’s uplifting designs, that sit somewhere between pop art and posters from the 80s. Creating digital drawings made up of happy shapes that pop and fizzle across the page; washed out, sun bleached summery tones are outlined in black and surfaces are covered in dots and grids to eye dazzling effect.
Here Tim tells us about his open minded approach to image creation and how practice makes perfect.
Hi Tim – first up, tell us about yourself and your background?
I studied in Namur, Belgium at HEAJ a graphic design school for three years. Then I moved to Brussels and did one year in La Cambre in the typography department but I didn’t enjoy it, so then I moved to Ghent to finish my masters at Saint-Lucas, an awesome school where I made a lot of good friends. I have not studied illustration, but I started a Tumblr during my year at La Cambre and I discovered artworks that I love by Nathalie Du Pasquier in the magazine Apartamento. And with the internet I was beginning to do exhibitions and to work for clients as an illustrator. I didn’t intend to become an illustrator. I’m still doing some graphic design work and it’s something that I would like to do more. Graphic design is a whole thing for me; it encompasses illustration, typography and art. I don’t want to be bored and I like to get inspiration from different practices.
Pattern is something I have always loved. Abstraction and playing with shapes and colours always fascinates me.
I have developed my style by making and making and making things. Practice is the key.
As a Belgian creative, can you tell us what you love most about the country and the city you live in?
I was born in Belgium, my family and friends are here, that’s the main reason I like it. I moved back to Namur just after my graduation, my girlfriend works here so it was kind of the obvious thing to do. I don’t have favourite places to hang out in Namur, most days I stay in my apartment to work and read. During the weekend I move from city to city to see friends or travel. Namur is really small and there isn’t that much to do here if you are not a student anymore (I mean drinking beers in crappy places). It’s a shame but a new cultural place opened a few months ago and I hope that this will be the start of something exciting for the city. The plan is not to stay in Namur all my life. We have fallen in love with Ghent and Brussels is also a city with a lot of opportunities.
The most important thing is to be diverse; everything you are doing that seems not relate to your practice does in fact relate unconsciously.
Tell us a little about your working process – do you keep a traditional sketchbook or work mostly digitally?
I think a lot, draw some real quick stuff and then I work with the computer. I use a digital tablet so I can do some sketches directly in digital form. When I move from paper to the tablet I want to translate the information and use the pressure of the digital pen to create a line or a dot; the digital pen is harder to control (actually you can’t control it one hundred percent) and I have some happy accidents from time to time.
Your recent collaboration with photographer Brian Vu is great – how did the project come about?
It’s a Tumblr thing again. I think I spoke with him telling him that I really like his work and then we planned to do a collaboration for fun. As simple as that. Maybe we will continue, I don’t know. He is a great photographer and film maker too now. Big up to him if he’s reading this!
Can you tell us how you have developed your style? Have you always used pattern to build up surfaces?
Pattern is something I have always loved. Abstraction and playing with shapes and colours always fascinates me. I have developed my style by making and making and making things. Practising is the key.
Any advice for this year’s graduating illustrators, or those thinking of following the profession?
Think twice! No seriously… well, make it happen!
We really like your ceramic pieces – what do you enjoy about working with clay?
Thanks! I did ceramics as part of my masters in the graphic design department at Saint-Lucas, it doesn’t get better than that. I like it because it’s different and funny as hell to come to the ceramic studio, knowing nothing and just do it. It’s the most important thing; to try to be diverse and everything you are doing that seems not relate to your practice does in fact relate unconsciously. And that’s something you can use later on, it’s a whole like I said before. Be open minded! That’s much better advice than my previous answer.