We used a combination of DTG printing and white SOL’S tees to produce a number of new t-shirts for London-based illustrator Eleni Kalorkoti.
We’ve admired Eleni’s work for some time now, and are particularly fond of the pieces she’s produced for The New York Times. So it was great to have the chance to talk to her about her inspirations and working processes, as well as the freshly printed t-shirts we produced for her at Icon Printing HQ in London.
Q. What can you tell us about your new t-shirt design?
A. It’s taken from a series of drawings I’ve been working on for a zine entitled Glitch. The images are about things feeling a bit off or on the fritz. Here I wanted to illustrate what it’s like to go for a stroll, to feel yourself moving through the world and music moving through you.
Above: Eleni’s glitchy new t-shirt design printed by Icon Printing
Q. Looking back, can you remember what inspired your decision to become an illustrator?
A. In retrospect, I think the artists that had most of an impression on me when I was growing up were illustrators – from reading Janet and Allen Ahlberg’s The Jolly Postman as a wee kid to Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World as a grumpy and confused teenager. When the time came to go to art college and choose a subject, it had become clear that illustration was right for me. It seemed to encompass everything I was interested in and enjoyed doing, and had far less potential to drive me insane than painting!
Above: Illustration for The New York Times, which accompanied an article about the US government spying on itself
Q. How do you approach promoting yourself as an illustrator?
A. I try to be good at the Twitter / Instagram / Tumblr thing and put out regular and interesting updates. I’m also trying to get better at sending actual mail outs to art directors too. Nobody can ever remember how they found out about your work though! The best approach seems to be to make the best work you can, and share it with people whatever way you can.
Above: A piece produced for the ‘Textile Illustration’ exhibition at Kalopsia Gallery, Edinburgh
Q. You mentioned earlier that you’re working on a new zine, which will be one of many self-published titles you’ve made. How did your interest in self-publishing begin?
A. I’ve been buying zines since I was a teenager and have always loved their DIY ethos and immediacy. But it took me a while to get into making my own, mainly because I would sit around waiting for the perfect idea to come along, which of course it never does. Now I just dive in whenever I have somewhere to start, however vague it may seem.
Q. Which of your recent projects have you been the most proud of?
A. Probably my Good Witch / Bad Witch zine. I actually managed to have (mostly) good time while making it, and I still like a lot of the images in it.
Above: An image taken from Eleni’s ‘Good Witch / Bad Witch’ zine
Q. Talk us through your working process.
A. I generally begin by scribbling in my sketchbook until I accidentally draw something that I like enough to work up into a proper illustration. I mostly work with ink washes nowadays, so I’ll lightly draw the image in pencil on watercolour paper before filling in the areas I know will be black, after which I add the grey areas one shade at a time.
Q. What would be your dream project?
A. It’s a fairly small dream but, as I’m a big film fan, illustrating a Criterion Collection DVD cover would be pretty great.