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We asked these great illustrators some questions about their work and creative process.
The work of Niv Bavarsky
About Niv Bavarsky

Hey, my name is Niv ("Neev") Bavarsky - I'm a 23 year old artist/illustrator. I grew up in Los Angeles, and as of about two weeks ago, I'm living in Berkeley, CA. I studied illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art and since graduating a year ago I've been doing editorial illustration, apparel design, album covers, and a lot of personal/gallery work.

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Niv Bavarsky

How did you first get into illustration?

Well, I was always drawing as a kid, and I was lucky enough to have really supportive parents who helped me pursue it. I didn't really know anything about the illustration industry until college, but I knew my interests lied somewhere outside traditional fine art. As a kid I was obsessed with both Picasso and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I guess illustration kinda made sense.

How would you best describe your style of illustration?

I'm not really sure. I try not to concern myself too much about "style" - that part emerges on its own, I always feel like I can't (shouldn't?) control that. What I can control is mood, and I like to keep things a little weird, a little dreamy. I like the idea of balancing sophisticated drawing with "cartoon" influences. My influences vary - I love psychedelic art, ukiyo-e prints, indie comics, all kinds of films, and I think that all finds its way into my work.

Please take us through your design process, where do you start?

For illustration work, I'll take notes, write lists, make flow charts, or just do some stream-of-consciousness drawing until something sparks my interest. This develops into a composed drawing, and then I take that and build in layers. I'll go through many sheets of paper for one illustration, combining pencil drawings, gouache paintings, crayon textures, ink washes, and more. I scan all these sheets and combine them in a kind of digital collage process, tweaking colour, re-sizing and shifting the different elements of the piece around until I find a solution. Improvisation plays a big part in all of this - surprises keep things interesting for me.

What tools do you use for your work?

I try to switch it up, keep things fresh. Lately I've been using a lot of acryla gouache, crayon, tracing paper, tombow pencils, brush and sumi ink. The hand-made elements get toyed around with in Photoshop, with my wacom tablet.

When illustrating, do you sometimes get blocked for ideas? If so, how do you overcome that?

It happens. If I'm having trouble with a piece, I like to turn to my sketchbook for answers. Making personal work is essential for me to keep things fresh and push my ideas along - things ebb and flow naturally, but as long as I keep working and stay invested it always comes back around. Getting out of the house and taking a walk helps, too.

What would be your ultimate goal as an illustrator?

Being able to support myself into my old age with my artwork would be a blessing in itself.

What style music do you mostly listen to when you work?

It's pretty varied. There's a great experimental hip hop scene in Los Angeles, based around Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder label. I love that stuff. Teeb's debut album "Ardour" is one of my recent favourites. The Psychic Paramount put out "II" this year and it is so, so, so badass. I like Dirty Projectors a lot, too. I do a lot of artwork for a local LA band called Big Moves, and I think they are awesome. Like most of my illustration-friends, I'm getting more and more into listening to podcasts, too.

Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?

Well, I am still aspiring myself, but I think one really important thing is to have serious interests outside the realm of illustration. Big world out there, some of it's cool. Other than that... Don't latch on too hard to trends, make honest work, and love what you do. Critique yourself harshly.

What web sites would you recommend viewing?

The work of Niv Bavarsky:

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All work is copyrighted by Niv Bavarsky. You may NOT copy or redistribute any of images within this page without the written permission from Niv Bavarsky.
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
The work of Niv Bavarsky
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