Q&A with Eric Kons

A photograph of illustrator Eric Kons in a black turtleneck and round black glasses sits superimposed on a background featuring a phone screen in landscape orientation. The phone screen is set to a camera app which is displaying an undulating gray background, and the top of the screen reads "THE SUBURBAN REVIEW ISSUE #17 THEFT."

ERIC KONS is a Luxembourgish artist and illustrator who has lived and studied in Scotland for four years and is currently travelling Australia. Besides working as a freelance illustrator, he is a printmaker, zine-maker, and has a keen interest in toy theatres and paper toys.

Our Art + Comics Editor, David Mahler, interviews Eric about his illustration ‘Read Words’ accompanying Annelise Roberts’ poem of the same name, published in #17 THEFT.

You’ve created a very striking illustration, dense layers and flowing forms which sync together perfectly—how do you go about beginning an illustration?

For this illustration, as it is based on a poem, I started out by selecting words that were particularly visual to me, while looking for what mood the poem invokes. I then see which elements I like most and how to marry them together. In this instance, the poem felt chaotic and somewhat claustrophobic, which inspired the density of the final result.

Are you working with different mediums?

I do most of my loose sketches in a small sketchbook using a ballpoint pen, pencils, and highlighters. When I find a composition I like, I re-create it digitally using Procreate and when I’m happy with the final result, I make some final tweaks on Photoshop.

You’re a recent guest to Australia, welcome! How are you finding the Australian illustration scene compared to your native Luxembourg?

This is a hard question to answer because I’ve not been a practising illustrator for very long in either country. I’ve not actually properly lived in Luxembourg since deciding to become an illustrator. The illustration scene in Australia, especially Melbourne seems very active—definitely because of the size and diversity of the population, but also because of a stronger connection with visual communication. Luxembourg, due to its size (or lack of it) hasn’t got that developed illustration scene. A lot of art revolves around fine art and graphic design, which dominates the visual communication department—though it has improved, I feel like the illustration scene has yet to properly set its roots in Luxembourg.