Meet the Artist
When "Doodling" becomes an Artform - feature on Steve Turner
- Written by Vanessa Champion Vanessa Champion
Steve Turner uses Strathmore Bristol Smooth to create the designs for his linear colouring books and T-shirts. He has transformed the Doodle into inspirational art, giving pleasure to hundreds of artists and creatives who buy and enjoy his books. We catch up with him in-between him honing his cross-hatch method and fulfilling commissions.
1 Can you give us a bit of background on yourself? How you started as an artist?
My background has always been in art. I studied at Art College after school, before moving on to train in animation at university. Following graduation, I became a graphic designer. After a decade in the wilderness, I picked up pens again just a couple of years ago as a form of relaxation. I started doing what I did as a kid - mindless doodles to fill a page. This became a hobby and I started researching other artists - I found out that “doodling” is a popular artform in itself. I started posting pictures of the things I had drawn online, and people started asking me for custom doodles. This led to a sort of secondary business for me. I started doing custom doodles as gifts. This has led to lots more commissions, projects, books and more.
2 Love your style of art, what media do you use?
I love to try different mediums, but I always seem to come back to a nice clean white page, and a fineline pen. Sometimes it’s good to leap out of your comfort zone and try new things - occasionally I dabble in pastels, charcoal, paint on canvas, but I always come back to pens. I also like to combine the two - sometimes a detailed pen doodle can work nicely with a pastel coloured background.
3 What is it that appeals to you about your linear method in particular?
I think intricate pen drawing is so appealing as it becomes a sort of rhythm in the method with which you apply the pen - a blunt shading pencil can quickly fill a space, but with a pen, that would look like a scribble. Honing a method, whether that is cross hatching, pointilism or just small lines, is therapeutic to me - a million tiny lines to make a larger shape is what appeals to me. I’ve practised so much now that I can very quickly fill a space accurately. Materials used are always Bristol paper and UniPin fine line pens - from a 0.05 nib to 0.8.
4 You create designs for t-shirts?
Yes, I’ve done a few t-shirts. I have some designs available on Print on Demand websites and a small clothing design company in Folkestone, close to wear I live, has my designs on some of their t-shirts. I’ve yet to see anyone on the street with one of my designs on a t-shirt yet but when I do I think I’ll run up to them and probably freak them out. ;)
5 You use Strathmore Bristol Paper, is it smooth or vellum? What do you like about it and why? How does it affect your art and inspiration?
I use Bristol smooth and also sometimes the Toned Tan paper. I love the smooth - the pen glides easily, its a good weight, and preliminary pencil work rubs out well. I’ve tried other papers but find them a bit toothy for a 0.05 nib pen. The Strathmore Bristol smooth is perfect for my needs.
6 You create some wonderful colouring books, what is your inspiration?
Many people suggested coloring books. I started my research and found that a lot of the colouring books out there had very simple illustrations. So I started creating colouring books with intricate drawings which are quite challenging. I started off with a standard book of varied illustrations, then an alphabet book of doodled letters. Then I did a children’s colouring and poetry book with my good friend who writes the best kid’s poems. After that, I produced a beach themed book called A Day At The Beach which is in the top ten on Amazon in a couple of categories. I’m just about to release a book entitled Creative Insults which is definitely NOT for children. :)
7 Heaven forbid it should happen, but if there was a flood what would you rescue from your studio and why?
If there was a flood, my studio would be the last to be flooded, as it’s at the top of the house ;) however if it did happen, I would grab my vintage set of colouring pencils that are no longer available, a piece of driftwood that I painted a long time ago, and some drawings that my children have done in my style.
8 If you were a Strathmore Paper which one would you be and why?
Ha ha.. If I was a paper I would the Toned Tan - as I love the summer and I like being tanned ;)
9 How can people find out more about you?