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Oct 23

Jeff Kulak

2008 at 10.51 am posted by Veerle Pieters

I have been very busy the last few months and this combined with many Illustrators not answering a request for interview it took a while for a next guest. Luckily Jeff came to the rescue and I'm looking forward to this illustration journey.

Hi, my name is Jeff Kulak, I'm a graphic designer and illustrator living in Montréal, Canada. When I'm not wrestling wildcats with my bare hands I can usually be found making pictures.

The Double Inconstancy

The Double Inconstancy

What I like about Jeff's work is that it has a poetic feel to it and his Illustrator style is really freehand (no pun intended). I didn't feature it here but don't forget to look on Jeff's site for the snow art where he started with a blank canvas and create art on a big field.

Cinemathon fundraiser for Metro Cinema - Vue Magazine

Cinemathon fundraiser for Metro Cinema - Vue Magazine

Did you always know that you wanted to be an illustrator and was it hard to set up a successful business?

I guess I've known from early on that I wanted to be involved in a visual field of some kind. Drawing has always been my area of interest, so I've ended up trying to use it to bridge the gap between my graphic design and illustration work. I wouldn't call what I do a 'successful business', but I get by. I haven't ever run out of work, but the slow periods can be really stressful. In exchange for that uncertainty you get to decide whatever you want to do every day, which is pretty great.

Cover for Vue Magazine's Bestest of Edmonton issue

Cover for Vue Magazine's Bestest of Edmonton issue

Vue Magazine's Bestest of Edmonton issue

Do you first sketch your illustrations on paper? Can you reveal a bit of your usual workflow? Which applications do you mainly use?

95% of the time I start on paper. Once and a while it's fun to do a completely vector illustration, but that's a totally different process which I think of more like playing with lego. I always begin a project with idea generation... just reading a lot, drawing, and looking up source imagery. Usually once I have a conceptual direction I feel is solid I have a couple of image variations in mind. I'll thumbnail these until I have one I'm happy with. For the final piece I generally work in layers on vellum as I would for a silkscreen, and then scan everything in.

If you get a project from a client is the description very detailed or do you usually have to think about concept/theme and get a lot of freedom?

This really depends on the client and the specific job. I've had work from both ends of the spectrum, but I don't like to take projects where someone comes with a really exacting idea of what they want. It needs to be more collaborative for it to be engaging for me.

Poster for SNAP Gallery's second screenprinted clothing fundraiser

Poster for SNAP Gallery's second screenprinted clothing fundraiser

Does your work environment have an influence on your inspiration or work?

For sure. I'm really sensitive to my surroundings so I like to have lots of things around to stimulate me. I've finally moved my work to a studio this month but I'm still getting settled in. It was formerly a nun's bedroom, so we'll see if that rubs off on my work or not.

Illustration for SEE Magazine in conjunction with the screening of Helvetica

Illustration for SEE Magazine

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

I end up working alone a lot, so it's really important to me that I spend some hours with friends after I'm done work. Montréal is a beautiful city and there's no lack of things to do / eat / see at any time, so I'm pretty happy here.

Poster for Studio Theatre's productiong of Jean Genet's dark and discomforting play "The Maids"

Jean Genet's dark and discomforting play The Maids

Robot scientist!

Robot scientist!

More examples on Jeff Kulak's website.


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permalink this comment Anton Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 09.22 pm

That’s an interesting style he’s got. I like him!

I’m always most influenced by the techniques so different than my own. Thanks for posting this, Veerle.


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permalink this comment Kathryn Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 03.02 am

Love your work, Jeff! I’m in Montreal too, and will definitely keep you in mind if any of my Web design clients ever need custom illustration work. :-)


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permalink this comment Wendell Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 06.02 am

very kewl. it’s nice to see a canadian here too! his style is instantly likable.


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permalink this comment Varick Rosete Tue Nov 4, 2008 at 10.57 pm

Wow! this is great! Thanks Veerle!


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permalink this comment cluke009 Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 10.26 pm

Cool work. I feel inspired!



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