Behind the Pencil: Cover Illustrator Interview

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Singletrack issue 131 deadline is fast approaching for our next issue of the magazine, and if you haven’t already heard, it’s going to be a special one. The subscription deadline is Thursday 21st May and we highly recommend you subscribe as we are most likely to sell out! Many of our recent issues have sold out in the Singletrack shop, and we are no longer putting our magazine in the newsstand, so join the family and have it delivered to your door before it even arrives at ours!

We have commissioned an illustrated cover, something done once before for issue 100 by Jo Burt. It’s time to introduce you to our artist, though you’ll still have to wait for your magazine to arrive to see the cover itself!

Graeme Stewart, AKA Stormstatic

What sort of design work do you usually do? Where else might we see your work?

I’ve worked for years as a graphic designer for a few companies including an outdoor brand for 7 years working on product development and graphics. While I was there I did illustrations for T-shirts that sold well. Then over the last two years I really pushed my illustration artwork with a view to doing it full time and was lucky to be picked up by Fabio and Tom at Banana Industries last year. They took me under their wing and believed in the artwork. You could see more of my work at Banana Industries where I have my own collab range and on my Instagram. I have also recently completed work for Sixth Element wheels, Bark & Ride Sports, The Loam Wolf and Revolution Bike Park.

What did you think when Amanda got in touch about designing the Singletrack cover?

I was really surprised and amazed! Really excited to get the opportunity to get a mag cover. I was never going to get a cover with my bike riding unfortunately but I’m stoked to be able to get one in another way with my artwork. Then I started to feel stressed because I wanted to do a good job.

How did you draw it, what’s the process?

After we found a concept for the cover I knew there were going to be a lot of elements and a lot of details in the piece and I worked out that It would need to be A1 size to get everything in. That’s the biggest artwork I’ve done so far. It is all hand drawn in pencil then inked up with a nib pen. I had to use my coffee table to get a surface big enough. Once it’s all inked up I rub out the pencil lines. I then photograph the drawing so I can work on it digitally. I can then tidy bits up and start colouring it.

Which artists or designers you admire?

Some of my favourite artists are Will Baras, Evan Hecox, Rhea Hanlon, Pete Fowler and Matthew Burton and the list goes on, all have cool and expressive styles but at some point you need to forget everyone else and concentrate on your own style which is the most difficult thing.

Do you ride bikes? What sort of riding do you do?

Of course, I mainly ride mountain bikes and a bit of road cycling for fitness if I can’t get to the trails. I rode downhill for years and raced the SDAs for a few seasons in the notorious Vibe Racing team. Nowadays I still ride with the same crew riding enduro type stuff and doing a few races. I also bodyboard or surf if there is swell.

What was your first bike?

My first bike was a Falcon Pro BMX in black and red.

What bike have you got now?

I’ve got a Polygon Square one that I bought from Jon Stout who is a mechanic for the United Ride world cup team.  Its a beast of a bike and I’ve been trying to get it dialled in how I like it as I only got it recently. 

Favourite bike paint job/design?

It would have to be Shaun Palmers Intense M1 with the Troy Lee Designs eagle stars and stripes artwork from the 90s. 

Dream design assignment/commission?

Apart from a mag cover, (childhood goal achieved). I want to work with genuine people who appreciate the artwork, that is the main thing for me at the moment and to continue to support myself doing what I love. 

What are you listening to on repeat right now?

The new Thundercat album

Ingredients for a perfect ride?

Back to back berms with good mates, in the sun and a few beers later on. I just love to carve be it on a bike, surfboard, snowboard or skateboard.

Ingredients for a perfect drink?

A single malt that’s not too peaty and ice.

Cake, biscuits or pastries?

All of the above, now and again I’ll annihilate a packet of crumpets toasted with butter and jam.

What’s the thing you want to do most after lockdown?

See my family then go on a 5 hour ride in Dunkeld. And book a holiday with my wife Angela who is a Nurse and has definitely earned one.

So now you know a bit more about our forum lurker and have seen some of his previous work, have you any guesses what’s on the cover of issue 131? Make sure to tag us on social media when your copy arrives!

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