I wish I had done this

I wish I had done this

To be honest, I wish I had done almost every piece David Klein, an American artist, ever created, but I chose this piece as it’s one of many that I cannot choose between.

I admire almost everything about Klein’s work. He was, of course, working in the pre-digital days and created beautiful pieces using working methods such as the use of gouache, lithography and various other ways and acheived astonishing results as such. His use of colour, always bright and cheerful, really catches my eye as I too use a lot of colour and I hope, like him, I use it well. He even uses pattern, be it through his use of line as in the image above or more purposeful and direct as in his childrens illustrations. His lines aren’t always exact and obviously hand-rendered which give his work a naive quality, though he’s obviously in control of his eye hand co-ordination. This is something I’d like to do more of myself, though I find myself quite often relying on digital techniques (mainly cos I leave myself so little time to complete my pieces in any other way – but that’s just down to my own laziness). His work inspires me to break out my gouache and give it a go and to experiment more with my screenprinting. Unfortunately I have no access to Lithograph printing tools, but it’s something I’ve also expressed interest in trying in the past. Now that interest is even stronger, thanks to the work of Klein. Klein clearly enjoyed what he did, which comes through in his work. I
don’t think an illustrator could carry on creating so many wonderful
prints in such a manner if he didn’t enjoy the method. I’d too like to
eventually appreciate my own work and be happy with my work, no matter
what others think.

I was initially attracted to Klein’s work through his use of subject, in partcular, of travel. I have a great interest in travel and the illustrated travel posters of old, of which Klein is best known for. Through more research I discovered his Broadway posters and childrens books. Whilst I’m not inclined to take on the act of creating a childrens book myself (not for the lack of having tried), I love his colourful, patterned characters. These characters run through almost all of his work, from travel to his Broadway posters and connect his pieces. Each character is strongly and confidently created and you can imagine what each ones personality may be like. His animals in particular are so full of life, you can almost imagine them running around on the page in front of you, doing their tricks and tumbles.

I find myself constantly referring back to David’s work for inspiration, though my work, whilst not disimilar, is quite different. Quite obviously, stylistically Klein was working throughout the 50’s and 60’s, both periods which I am also influenced by. My love of colour comes from my love for this period, which was a new era for design – shunning the old British Propaganda and WPA-styled posters of the 1940’s, instead turning to colour and excess.

Another area which Klein tackles well and admirably, is the use of his hand-drawn type. His travel posters contain a lot of type, some intergrating into the pieces themselves as part of the scenery or sky, such as with his New York posters. It’s interesting to see how other illustrators use type in their work, and as I work in a similar manner, trying to integrate my text and hand-rendering my fonts, I feel this just one more reason to be inspired by David Klein.