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The illustrations & portraits of Bartosz Kosowski

Bartosz Kosowski is an illustrator based in Poland, he has collaborated with important clients such as “Legendary pictures”, “The New Yorker”, “The Hollywood Reporter”, Newsweek” and many others.

Bartosz Kosowski is specialized in portraits, editorial illustrations, and posters. He has also been awarded several times and his artworks have been published in books such as “Illustration Now! Vol.4” edited by Taschen and “200 best illustrators worldwide 2011/2012”.

In this interview, Bartosz talks about his studies in English philology, the experience of working with big clients and some useful advises on how to achieve excellence in illustration.

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I’ve noticed that you’ve made studies in English philology, what is it exactly? And the studies that you’ve conducted in philology have influenced your work as a professional illustrator? 

My English studies covered literary theory, the history of English and American literature, some teaching and translation methodology and linguistics. My Master’s  Thesis concerned the postmodernist creation of the universe in Nick Cave’s novel “And The Ass Saw The Angel” and I decided to continue working on this theme during my art studies at Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts. I created the series of etchings which illustrated the book and somehow reflected the complex narration I studied a few years earlier during my English literature studies.

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You’ve cooperated with important clients, like “The New Yorker”, “The New Republic”, The Hollywood reporter”, “Smithsonian” and many others; which projects have been the most interesting and why? 

To be honest, all the projects that you’ve mentioned have been really interesting. I was really excited when I was emailed by “The New Yorker’s” art director as it had always been my dream to draw something for them. It was also great to create a portrait of LeBron James for “The Hollywood Reporter” and then – the day that the image was published – see LeBron himself post the very portrait on his Instagram. I also really enjoy working on my screen printed posters as these always take much longer to make and I can really get into details then. One of the examples is the poster for Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” which was commissioned by Legendary as part of their Legendary Art Series. I worked on the poster before the film’s premiere so I got access to lots of reference materials which had not been published yet. It was great to work on the film that no one had seen yet.

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You make hand drawn illustrations mixed with photoshop techniques; can you share with us some tips on how make a great sketch? 

It is really important to start with taking classes in life drawing. If you want to draw people, it will help you understand how the human body works and how different muscles and bones make up the body as we see it. You have to remember that every object – not only a chair or an umbrella but also a hand or a face – is just a combination of different shapes which make up a whole. If you remember that and make sure that you get the proportions right, you’re halfway there. The other half is practice. If you want to get better, you have to draw every day.

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Which blogs do you consider important to stay updated on new illustration trends? And which digital platforms are the most useful to share creative content?

Every day I check out the new work at Behance as it is definitely the largest platform which showcases creative work of all kinds and illustrators from all over the world update their portfolios regularly there. Apart from that, I also visit such illustration sites as Illustration Age or Illustrator’s Lounge and follow tons of illustrators I like on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If I were to pick one digital platform which is the most useful to share digital content, I would definitely go for Behance. Each time your project is featured on the site, you instantly get showcased on different blogs and consequently get emails from art directors or advertising agencies asking you to draw something for them. In fact, these days most of my commissioned work comes from Behance.

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Can you share with us some hints on future projects? 

There are a few projects I am currently working on but in most cases, I cannot disclose any details before the work is made public by the client. The thing I can share with you is the poster I am planning to create within the next two or three months. It is going to be a screen printed film poster for one of Wes Anderson’s films and – as I am a huge fan of his films – I am really looking forward to working on it.

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Don’t forget to visit the Bartosz Kosowski portfolio.