British designer Peter Crawley makes fantastic “stitched illustrations.” The illustrations have been used commercially by world leading brands, publications and advertising agencies. He talked to Heidi Volpe over at aPhotoEditor about his illustration for Vanity Fair’s ‘Best Dressed List’, and more.
HV: Are your editorial projects mostly headlines that have to do with style/fashion?
PC: Headlines and typographic treatments work well for editorial pieces. But I have also worked on logos / idents for titles such as Wallpaper* and Wired.
HV: What made you choose that particular color palette for the headline, Best Dressed?
PC: I worked closely with the Vanity Fair Contributing Art Director, Hilary Fitzgibbons to decide on the type and palette. We wanted something bright and engaging on the page, but a palette that felt fashion led.
HV: How long did that headline take you create?
PC: In total, it was probably around 5 days – including initial sketching, experiments, computer work and crafting the final piece.
HV: Do you send out promo’s to magazines? How did they discover you?
PC: A few years ago I sent out quite a lot of promo material to magazines and potential clients, which lead to some nice projects. I also seem to get a lot of work through various blogs and previous projects. The great thing about the internet is that your work can take on a life of it’s own, cross international boundaries and reach people you could never have imagined.
HV: Are those different widths of string or are they doubled?
PC: It’s actually a bit of both, to add interest to the piece I decided to add as much texture and change of density as possible.
HV: What was it about a road trip across America that inspired you to do this work?
PC: When we were driving across America, we had a paper road map. Each night we marked our progress on the overview map of the country, It was great seeing our route develop in front of us in a very analogue, permanent manner. Between the five of us, we must have taken around 5000 images, narrowing these down to just a couple of images to print and frame for the wall proved impossible. So I set about capturing the trip in an analogue hand crafted manner. The materials referenced naval / military maps and traditional book binding techniques.
HV: Do you mind sharing you process? Are you using a paper piercer and then straight edge?
PC: Each piece varies slightly depending on the subject matter, but the general process is the same. I collect source material for research and sketch out ideas. These ideas are digitised in order to create templates and guides. The guides arranged, and using a standard dressmakers pin, I pierce the paper. The paper is then stitched by hand.
HV: For the architecture pieces are you tracing photographs/blue prints. Tell me how you executed the empire state building.
PC: I tend to use a combination of photography, tracing and sketching. The Empire State Building image was taken in person on the upper viewing deck of the building. The image was simplified via a process of sketching and tracing, and a vector outline was created which was used as a guide for the final hand stitched piece.
HV: Do you think you’ll ever create portraits, landscape? ( meaning drift out of type and architecture )
PC: I have created a couple of abstract landscapes previously – Sau Paolo and Los Angeles. Portraiture has always interested me, so I think I will experiment with this at some point.
HV: Do you shoot your pieces or send the originals?
PC: The images on my website are shot by me, but the client tends to shoot the originals for the final print version. A lot of my clients are global, so it’s easier to send them the piece and allow them to experiment with lighting, angles and crops, ensuring the get images they are happy with in a short period of time.