Say Hello to Kyle Platts

November 2023

We’re super excited to be welcoming illustrator and animator extraordinaire Kyle Platts to the Brilliants Artists roster, as we have been big fans of his work for a long time.

Combining his love of comics, graphic novels and horror, Kyle masterfully blends bright colour palettes and surreal elements to create lighthearted illustrations with a wry wit. Over the past decade Kyle has applied his signature style to commercial campaigns, editorial illustration, animation and murals, as well as publishing a few books along the way.

We caught up with Kyle to find out a little more about his inspirations, life as an illustrator and work to date.

Kyle Platts Illustration

1. Do you listen to music while you draw/paint/illustrate/embroider? And if so, who or what gets the most plays in your studio?

Absolutely, music can put me in the right mood for the image. I’ll listen to film soundtracks and instrumental pieces, but I also use music as an energy boost. If I’m lagging from a long day of drawing it helps to increase the BPM a bit. There are times however when you really need to concentrate on a brief, so something ambient or drone in the background is less intrusive.

2. Which other illustrators or artists do you most admire and why?

As a fan of horror and graphic novels I admire the work of Juni Ito. Possibly best known for the book Uzumaki (the one with spirals everywhere), he explores body horror in a way akin to David Cronenberg. Although my own work is more light hearted I find inspiration in his dark storytelling.

3. What is the best thing about being an illustrator/creator? And the worst?

Having had some much less desirable jobs when I was younger I will always appreciate the freedom that comes with this work. I’ve spent long trips working in other countries, and now I live in the countryside. On the negative side, this work is so closely tied to your own identity, I have found that my feeling of self worth comes from whether I’m busy or not, that’s something all freelancers would need to work on. It’s important to learn to enjoy the quiet times too.

4. How do you overcome a creative block?

To tackle this obstacle I’d recommend seeing a good exhibition, or even a good film. There’s been so many times I can recall getting out of a slump by seeing something that isn’t even the same practice as my own. Sometimes it’s motivating just to see really good work, whatever that may be.

Kyle Platts Illustration

5. What are 3 of your favourite films? Which one would you illustrate/embroider the poster for?

Heat, Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan. Believe me, I had considered some arthouse films but these I have truly watched more times than anything. I actually already made a fan fiction comic about Cast Away so that would be super fun to turn into a poster too.

6. If you could work on the book cover for one book, which would it be?

Bit Rot is a collection of short stories and essays by Douglas Coupland, who’s one of my favourite writers and artists. He handles the issues of living with technology in a humorous way, so I think my style would suit the tone nicely.

7. Dream studio location and set up?

The location would just be Camberwell South London, this might not sound glamorous but it’s where my friends are, and my favourite pub. The studio itself would have garage doors so I could park in there, tall ceilings and a mezzanine so I can sleep in there after the pub. Oh and maybe a desk so I can work.

8. Best trip you have ever been on?

In 2015 I went on a skateboarding trip to New York with about ten friends. We filmed a video over the course of a week, skating through the city, experiencing all of its details block by block. We didn’t really get taxis, and the one time we did the taxi driver did burn-outs and raced our friend in another taxi over the Brooklyn bridge. Amid all this I was also taking meetings in Manhattan with new clients like Warner Music and Bloomberg, so it was productive and fun!

9. What do you have to have in place before you start work?

The obvious answer is a good cup of coffee, however accompanying that is a scrap piece of paper and a pencil. Recently I’ve started the practice of ‘automatic drawing’ at the start of the day. There is no image I’m trying to create, it’s just an exercise in which you scribble freely on a page to loosen up.

10. If you could have any artwork in your home what would it be?

Jordan Wolfson creates robot sculptures that are often deeply unsettling. One of which is a huge doll that is suspended by chains and is constantly being picked up and then crashed to the ground. I’d love one of his works by the front door to scare off any potential intruders, plus they look cool.

Kyle Platts Illustration

You can see Kyle’s full portfolio here.

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