The July edition of our und. Cover Project comes from the magic screen of Athens-based illustrator Stefanos Veis. Born and raised in Athens, Stefanos studied graphic design at Vakalo Art & Design College, where he first discovered his love for drawing. We came across his work a couple of years ago at a group show organised by Angie Karatza at StoSxoleio and we have been dedicatedly following his Instagram feeds ever since. Stefanos has worked for G Design Studio, an award-winning Greek design agency, and also participated in the group show The Vision of Saint Void that was curated by our editor last December. The custom illustration Stefanos designed for our July cover combines all his favourite elements like smirking faces, miniature pop references and an ironic use of text. Below we explore the creative universe of Stefanos Veis a bit more and ask him a few questions about his work.
When did you start working in illustration? Can you remember what made you draw in the first place?
I'd be lying if i said that i was one of those kids who used to draw in their books in school. I always wanted to be a graphic designer, but what i had in mind was the "solemn", the "advertising" aspect of the profession. I wanted to experiment with typography, editorial etc and the truth is that illustration was not a part of the plan, until the second year of college. In our branding course there was a really interesting project about designing an imaginary banknote and I wanted to try something different. Then I started doodling some stuff and I realised that I really enjoyed that process. It was only a matter of time to start applying that “technique” to almost every project, and here I am today, doing what I really love.
You have developed a very recognisable drawing style. Could you describe your illustrations in your own words for us?
I think that the most important thing in the illustration industry is to develop your own unique and recognisable style, so that it will be able to offer something different and innovative. Although you have to be aware of what happens around you. It's very important to see what other creatives do and never stop searching for things that will inspire your work. Speaking about my illustrations, my aim is to achieve an emotional connection and make people (and myself) smile when they look at them.
There is a particular series in your work with realistic figures having cartoon heads. What is the concept behind it?
Photography is also one thing that fascinates me, so I tried to blend it with my strong focus. In those series, reality meets fantasy, melancholy meets gladness and grayscale meets... RGB! The main concept was to create an emotional narration and explore different perspectives of my flat characters
In your illustrations you often mix text with images like in comics. Is comic books a reference for you or are you following a different path?
The truth is that comic books are a huge reference for my illustrations. But there are some differences between them and my work. When I combine text with illustration, my main target is to create a visually pleasant composition and not just put a speech bubble with a generic font above a character. Typographic treatment is a very important asset and I want the humorous catchphrases that I really love to write, to be a part of the artwork
The project Not Specific @n_specific is your personal research on typography. Tell us a few things about that side of your work.
Our field has a huge variety of segments and I think it's really difficult for someone to be able to deal with all of them — although, in my point of view, every designer has to be aware of all of these segments. That’s why Nothing Specific was born. To be honest, illustration is my big love but at some point I started feeling like there are so many other interesting things and aspects of my profession to explore and practice with. So Nothing Specific is an experimental side project with a strong focus on typography (custom or not) blended with photography, animation etc.