It's been a crazy month so far, but we're excited to start our slightly delayed feature of Newton illustrator Dan Seaward.
Atelier: Dan, please tell us about yourself and what you make.
Dan: I’m a Newton based illustrator whose current focus is on children's illustration and various nature themed works. I graduated from Lesley University, College of Art & Design in Cambridge in 2017 with degrees in illustration and fine arts, and I’ve been making art and teaching at the Paper Mouse Atelier since. I previously worked at Felix Doolittle during high school, where I had the chance to watch and learn from Felix! I’ve always loved animals and they can usually be seen in my work. Natural elements and the outdoors also continue to inspire my aesthetic. I really enjoy the hands-on approach traditional media requires so I like drawing and painting much more than working digitally. Currently I’m working on a series of illustrations which I hope will one day inspire a children’s book, which is one of my professional goals.
Atelier: What kinds of materials and media do you like to use?
Dan: I work primarily with watercolor and ink and colored pencil, as well as linoleum block printing and elements of collage. I like to combine different materials and to experiment with new styles and techniques! I love the different textures and effects you can get through a combination of everyday art materials. I’m also trying new things like creating altered books and shadow boxes to make my paintings more three dimensional. That requires glue, exacto knifes, and lots of patience!
An altered book of Treasure Island. I bought an old copy of Treasure Island and hollowed it out using an exacto knife. I painted many layers which were hand cut and glued into the sides of the now hollowed out book to create a three dimensional effect.
Atelier: How did you learn your craft?
Dan: Art has always been my passion. My style has evolved a lot and it continues to evolve, as have the materials I use. I started off by drawing from the pages of wildlife books and then copying works of art from artists I admired. Growing up I took local art classes, and most importantly I drew as much as I could! By high school art school seemed like the path I was destined to take, and my four years there dramatically shaped what I like to do. Classes ranged from mixed media to digital art, and they covered everything in between. Being exposed to so much art and being around so many creative people transformed my work. I tried printmaking and I fell in love with that, and illustration continued to inspire what I wanted to do in life. Working at Atelier allows me to share my passion with many different people!
Corfe castle- and illustration inspired by a recent trip to the Southern English countryside! created using watercolor and colored pencil and gouache
Atelier: What’s a creative goal you have for the year?
Dan: A creative goal I have for this year is to work on a children's book of my own. I have some ideas kicking around, and I want to bring them to life. Books were an important part of my childhood and ultimately I want to write and illustrate books professionally.
To capture the imagination of childhood I drew a kid sailing into a world full of excitement and peril, off on an adventure in a made up land. This was made using watercolor and colored pencil, with each piece being scanned and composited digitally
Atelier: What inspires you and/or your work?
Dan: Everything inspires me. The world around me, especially nature, is something I love to incorporate into my work. I photograph the places I go to use for reference in future projects. I’m inspired by the artists I know, and the creative people I’m around. Additionally I’m inspired by the many fantastic artists whose work I find on pinterest!
Studies of mushrooms done from life, using watercolor, gouache, and ink and a dip pen
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More Art by Dan
A recent winter inspired illustration of a peaceful mountain and cabin at night, created using watercolor and colored pencil
Another altered book, made the same way as the previous one, but with a nature theme
Similarly to the altered books I wanted to make my paintings more three dimensional. I’m fascinated with the way dioramas can capture a moment and present it in an intimate way that makes the viewer feel like they are part of the scene. For this piece I bought a 19th century wooden box and cut and mounted small ink illustrations on nails to the inside