With a passion for scientific illustration, artist Charli Vince enjoys taking the natural world and turning it on its head – prompting us to ask the question, is everything always as it seems?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see the world through another pair of eyes? Your understanding, views, thoughts and feelings, all change in a single moment. All the things you once knew, you start to question. Everything that used to pass you by, you explore with a new found interest. What would you discover?
In many ways, art does exactly this. Images are translations of thoughts and expressions that allow us to glimpse inside the minds of others – and every mind has a story. Take a look inside another’s – what do you see?
One person known for bending the laws of perception is artist and illustrator Charli Vince. Working with both traditional and digital mediums, she focuses on placing reality in a new and ever so slightly peculiar light. “When people see my art, I want them to feel intrigued – I want them to see something they haven’t seen before,” says the 23-year-old.
Using tools such as ink, water colour, gouache, charcoal, print and pattern design, Charli creates intricate images of animals which are far from what you’d expect. “I’ve always liked overwriting negative connotations,” says Charli. “By examining the anatomical side of things, you can make scary looking animals look really interesting.”
After exploring the world of scientific illustration, Charli uses her experiences of drawing highly complex skeletons to deconstruct many life forms and remove the innate fear and dislike many of us feel when we see them. Focusing on different shades of character each time, her detailed drawings add empathy, beauty and a delicate sense of mortality to species with which we may sometimes feel disconnected.
“I never get bored of drawing animals – there are always so many different ways you could be drawing them,” she says. “You can add character and be a lot more free and stylised.”
Working in harmony with this, Charli blends the freedom of traditional illustration with the precision of a digital finish.
“I like to start off with graphite and paper – nice soft pencils and off-white thick sketch books. Water and ink pens are also nice to use.I keep my pieces very minimalist and tend to add any colour digitally as it’s easier to edit if you change your mind,” she says. “But more traditional methods can create some really interesting effects too – you get the texture from the grain or from watercolour which is great for adding more detail. One tends to feed the other – I like the looseness and control of drawing something physically and then I can scan it in and edit it, reposition it perhaps – you need one to make the other work.”
For Takeaway Art, Charli has created a 16-side zine. “For the zine I went straight to paper. I wanted to keep it loose – if you over polish it, it can look out of place.” The booklet comprises illustrations of animals including orangutans, hares and birds as well as scientific references such as drawings of glass beakers and Petri dishes slotted in between. “I wanted there to be minimal colour as it keeps the focus on what you are drawing – if you overdo it, it can look a bit busy so all the pieces are in black and white.” She adds, “I wanted to show the diversity you can get with animals and how they’re all really special and unique in their own little ways.”
To find out more about charli and her work, visit www.charlivince.com.
Interview and article by Susie Kelly