Featured Illustrator

Zebu

September 2018

We LOVE the super colorful work of Illustration/art duo ZEBU (aka Lynn & Dennis), so we had a little chat with them about how they developed their style, how they enable everyone to identify with their work, and — always my favorite insight — what a typical day in the 'office' looks like.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

Lynn: One of my earliest memories is that I used to imagine the houses of animals and drew them in cross section. And I drew a lof mice in tennis skirts using a lot of purple. In my teens I was active in the graffiti and urban art culture and thats also where I met Dennis for the first time. That’s where we both got in touch with the art and design world.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

Dennis: We love to sleep out but we try to get up early since we are the most productive in the first hours before noon. We usually try to manage all the email and paper work after breakfast and then we get to work, painting or drawing on jobs or personal projects. I always cook something fancy for lunch since I love cooking. Actually it’s not very fancy but I always make it look nice. After that we get back to work. When it’s possible we try to get out of the studio in the evening and go for walks, meet friends or have some drinks. It’s not always easy to get away from the drawing desk since there is always work to do, but we discovered that it’s so important for our health and also for our work to get away from it and spend time doing something else than being creative. It gives you the time to fuel up your creative energy.

What do you look for in a great client?

Dennis: The best clients are those who are open towards new ideas and communicate well what they are looking for/what they want to achieve. Bad communication can make the job so hard for both sides.

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Through reducing and abstracting the form of the human body we create figures which can’t be assigned to a specific gender or nationality. Every person should have the possibility to identify with our work

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How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

Lynn: We love to work with colors, it’s a lot of fun. Our visual language is reduced, abstract and bold. The way we paint is a result of the way we see the things around us. When we look at an object, shape or figure we feel the need to reduce its form and make it more abstract. We like to erase all the unimportant information and focus on the essence. Through this creative process our work becomes bold and dynamic. There is no fix agenda in our work, but there is definitely a motivation for the way we paint: Through reducing and abstracting the form of the human body we create figures which can’t be assigned to a specific gender or nationality. Every person should have the possibility to identify with our work. We would like to depict a diverse society in our works, not a stereotype one.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

Dennis: Design will head more and more in a digital direction, like 3D and VR works. It’s already popping up everywhere and the way we all communicate is getting more and more digital. We are very analog persons so we just have to hope that there will always be a demand for printed work, paintings or murals, otherwise we will be jobless haha. If that happens we just become interns at the studios of our friends who are very good with all that technique stuff.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Dennis: Probably visit some 3D or VR classes? ;)

Lynn: For us it was always important to realize ideas. Sometimes people tend to overthink their ideas and they get stuck on the concept. We think it is important to get into the actual creative process, so much is happening in there! You can work with coincidences and you always learn from failing. So we learned to most from doing a lot. After a few years you know what you can and can’t do, and more important want you want or don’t want to do.

Website: z-e-b-u.com

Shop: zebu.tictail.com

Instagram: @zeb_u

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