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Maia’s Morning Malaise
Julinu (Julian Mallia) is a Maltese freelance illustrator and graphic designer specialising in realistically executed visual ideas. His work is often characterised by atmospheric, surreal themes and occasionally laced with dry humour. After a few years in the advertising industry working for clients ranging from banks to musicians, he moved to Brighton to specialise in illustration. He is currently looking for agency representation.
I consider this illustration to be a processed by-product of various personal interests and ideas that I’ve had for a while. When the opportunity to create this short film poster came, it was the perfect excuse to translate these ideas into an illustration that communicates the main themes of the film. Working with oil paint and digital media allowed me to explore a few alternatives before finalising the end product.
Create an illustrated poster for the stop-motion, oil-on-paper, animated, short film “Loophole” that succinctly encapsulates its dreamy atmosphere and absurd themes without giving away any surprises. This illustration needs to be iconic and memorable whilst allowing enough space for the film title.
Oil paint and Graphics Tablet on Photoshop.
I usually start with a thorough brainstorming session where I avoid to settle for the first few answers and instead dig deeper for more interesting solutions. In this case most of the research was done as a consequence of my personal interest in surreal art, films, absurdism, existentialism, recurrent dreams, portraits, etc. So in a way, there was a slow mental rumination preceding the point when I created this image. In fact it didn’t take much time to then translate the vision I had into a physical painted manifestation.
After establishing the idea, I proceeded to draw some sketches which were then followed by shooting photos of a friend of mine for reference purposes. Then I started the execution of the illustration in oil paint - my go-to medium for a realistic yet imperfect finishing. The final illustration consists of 3 oil paintings that were scanned and digitally merged in a process that is reminiscent of photographic double exposure. In fact, although there is one final image, the sky, the falling lady and the portrait are actually three separate illustrations. The digital merging enabled me to retouch the illustrations with a graphics tablet and to move things around until I was satisfied with the composition.
I had to stop myself from throwing in too many ideas into the composition. Additionally, since I was busy with other demanding projects at the time I had to take one bold decision and stick to it. So for the sake of clarity and practicality, I opted to accentuate just one strong inciting incident and make everything else secondary.
My illustration work turns out better when it’s a healthy compromise between the client’s wishes and my vision. As much as possible, I try to work with clients who will allow me to think and generate visual solutions for them.
I left the kitchen window open when a seagull flew in and stole my last slice of buttered toast. So I had to go out and buy more bread. And coffee.
Countless sleepless nights trying to find a clever answer to this question.
I’m really grateful and humbled to be amongst so many inspiring illustrators.