Ade Turner: Artist of the Month - September 2014

Cult Pens: Tell us a bit more about yourself.

Ade: I've drawn and painted most of my life, but apart from a few years when I worked as a graphic designer I've mostly only made art for pleasure. In the last few years I've started to see more consistent improvement in my work.

Cult Pens: How would you describe your work?

Ade: It would probably be more accurate to describe me as a sketcher rather than primarily a producer of finished works. I enjoy the immediacy of sketching and work simply in both pencil and ink. I also sketch in oils and watercolours, although acrylics seem to be taking over at the moment. If I do work towards a finished piece it's usually in the studio, but I enjoy working en plein air when I get the chance.

Cult Pens: What got you into drawing/cartoons?

Ade: Definitely Marvel comic books. When I was growing up through the sixties and into the seventies they fuelled my imagination. I had a mini ‘road to Damascus’ moment when suddenly I realised I could have a bash at drawing them myself. Comic books come in for a lot of negative comment, but I reckon without their influence I wouldn't be drawing and painting now.

Cult Pens: If you weren't a cartoonist, what was the back-up plan?

Ade: I guess I've been living the back-up plan all my adult life - the 'day job'. But, with one thing and another, now seems to be a very good time for me to start exploring options to make my art a more central part of my life. At last I'm starting to gear up to produce more considered, finished paintings with a view to sales.

Cult Pens: What are your favourite subjects/topics to draw?

Ade: Cats. I love sketching my two cats, I never tire of them, and I think familiarity means I'm finally getting my eye in now. Then I guess it's got to be coastal subjects and mysterious/derelict places with gnarled trees, moss covered rocks, that sort of thing. Then, when I think no-one's looking I'll sneakily drift into fantasy subjects too – but don't tell anyone…

Cult Pens: Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?

Ade: Sparks can come from anywhere - a particular light through trees, shadow patterns, interesting colour combinations or just the mood of a place. I love folklore, myth and a medieval aesthetic; dreams and odd ideas often bubble up too.

Cult Pens: What are you currently working on?

Ade: I've finally made a start on a series of paintings inspired by the medieval poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', something that I've had in mind for several years. I recently finished an 18" by 24" acrylic painting exploring one approach but the main work’s still in flux at the moment. Apart from using wooden panels I've still not fully settled on how to treat the subject.

Cult Pens: How long does it normally take to complete a project?

Ade: As this is my first attempt at a considered series I'll let you know once I've finished it! I can move quite quickly on paintings when the mojo’s there, but sometimes I'll hit a wall which can really slow me down.

Cult Pens: What are your top 5 pens?

Ade: Uhm, this is going to come up short, I never used more than a couple of varieties. I love the Uni PIN series of black fine-liners in a handful of sizes. I also like Faber-Castell artist pens - the brush pens in black with a couple of greys and also a sepia set.

Cult Pens: What pen or pencil couldn’t you live without?

Ade: For the pen it would be a 0.3mm black Uni PIN, and for the pencil my trusty Kuru Toga 0.5mm revolving lead mechanical pencil by Mitsubishi.

Cult Pens: Do you know when a work is finished or are you constantly tweaking?

Ade: By nature I'm definitely a tweaker, but I think I'm getting better at knowing when to walk away now.

Cult Pens: What work are you most proud of?

Ade: Without doubt it's the cow's portrait in alkyds which I did on commission a few years back. It's also the largest painting I've tackled so far. Bringing it to completion was a challenge, particularly around halfway through when I started to lose my way a little.

Cult Pens: What tips do you have for aspiring artists/cartoonists?

Ade: A sculpting friend of mine recently told me to only make work which pleases me, first and foremost, ahead of any other concern. Good advice I think, because if you aren't committed to what you're doing you are less likely to produce your best work.

I'd add to that persistence and clarity. Stick with it, those difficult patches can usually be worked through, but maintain the clarity to know when a fresh start is really the best way forward.

You can find out more about Ade and his work on his site: Ade Turner - Artist.

8 September 2014

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