Nathan Joyce is one of the longest-standing PROPERCORN team members and cites Dr Seuss and Pokemon as his biggest influences. Starting out as an op art piece, Nathan used vibrant colour to create a dynamic, Mediterranean landscape featuring chilli and tomato trees.

Q: What’s your background? How and when did you decide to become an illustrator?

7 year old Nathan was resolute in wanting to be a cartoonist, and I’ve never strayed too far from that. I studied Graphic Design at university and I love photography, but there’s such a playfulness and freedom to be had with illustration that I’m always drawn back to it.

Q: How did you develop your style?

I think I’ve always been a little too restless to commit to one particular style. There’s usually a common thread of vibrant colour and a little silliness but, in terms of style, I like to stay varied. This particular ‘outlineless’ style that I used on Sun-dried Tomato & Chilli was developed from my work on our PROPERCORN for Kids collection.

Q: Who are your artistic influences? What have you read or seen that has most influenced your work?

I would like to reference great artists and inspirational work, but I would be lying if I didn’t cite the likes of Dr Seuss and Pokemon as my biggest influences.

Q: Where do you get your motivation and ideas from?

My motivation will always be doing things I enjoy. If I start to get a little bored of a style or area of design I’ll try to mix it up or learn something entirely new. A lot of ideas have come from my eclectic mix of card engineering, animation, illustration and design.

Q: What’s the inspiration behind your Sun-Dried Tomato & Chilli illustration?

The flavour brings rolling Mediterranean hills to mind, and this illustration started out as a bit of an op art piece. I spent a lot of time looking at the works of Bridget Riley & Victor Vasarely and tried to make some peculiar hill illusions. It ultimately became a little more playful & colourful than that, but they were my inspiration.

Q: What’s your favourite part of your Sun-Dried Tomato & Chilli illustration?

I like the surreality of the Chillis & Tomatoes replacing the classically shaped trees of a Mediterranean landscape.

Q: Tell us an interesting fact about your Sun-Dried Tomato & Chilli design

I spent a long time trying to use 3D to work out the roll and flow of the hills, but it never looked dramatic enough. I ended up scrapping the maths and perspective grids in favour of more free flowing curves.

Q: Sum up your Sun-Dried Tomato & Chilli illustration in 3 words

Mediterranean, surreal, rounded.

Q: What do you love most about PROPERCORN and your chosen flavour?

There’s so much to play with in Sun-Dried Tomato & Chilli; the heat of the flavour, the ingredients themselves, the places the flavour conjures up in the mind. There was a wealth of visual inspiration.

Q: How many iterations did it take before you came up with your final design?

There were probably around 30 iterations of Sun-Dried Tomato & Chilli. I experimented with plenty of styles and different landscapes before I came to this Mediterranean hills route.

Q: What do you do to overcome creative blocks?

I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this, but I find I do a lot of my best thinking in the shower, so that can help. I also try to think about something else for a while, whether it’s another creative project, reading or sleeping. Returning to a project after some distraction always helps.

Q: What’s next for you? Some top-secret PROPERCORN projects.

Follow @nath.joyce to see more from Nathan.
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