Maxwell Tilse Illustration x New York Puzzle Company

Artist Insight: Q&A with Illustrator Maxwell Tilse

Artist Feature: Maxwell Tilse
We conducted a Q&A session toget to know our newest artist, whose collection includes six highly detailed illustrations of vibrant cities and the passage of time. 

Maxwell Tilse Interview

1. On your website, you mention collecting Asterix and Tintin comics as a kid. Do you still keep these for inspiration?
I'll always love those books but it's been a long time since I've returned to them. Having moved away from my childhood home and left the county all together, I haven't had the chance to dust off the beloved pages. They were a perfect jumping off point to get me into drawing but since then my style and artistic inspiration has evolved.

2. You also mention doodling cartoons for your friends in primary school. What kinds of things did you draw back then?
All kinds of stupid and silly nonsense that 10 year old boys are into. Fun fantasy misadventures of our friend group. The tales of Mr. Plop, a talking poo (still to this day my finest work). It wasn't groundbreaking or original stuff. Whatever was popular in the late 90's that managed to permeate Australian culture, I probably tried to draw spoof comics about. 

3. What inspired you to combine your love for drawing with your passion for travel?
My first big trip when I was 20. Took the classic gap year off Uni and backpacked around the world for 7 months. Keeping up an illustrated travel diary along the way. It was a perfect way to document my adventures, practice drawing people and different types of architecture, write and teach myself composition. I can't express enough how helpful that trip was as a way to develop my own artistic style and passion or drawing. 

Illustration of The Big Mikan and progress image of 'Dam Charming City. Via @maxwellillustration

4. How do different cultures and landscapes influence your artistic style and creative process?
Quite simply, the weather makes a huge difference. If I'm able to sit comfortably outside and draw in person, that greatly changes the way I create a piece. Not having to work from a photo brings so much more organic life to an artwork. The sounds and faces of a city, the smells and changing light as the day progresses. 

I love drawing Morocco for example as I can sit for hours and actually exist comfortably in that space. Compare that to when I visited Chicago in January on the same trip. Not a lot of landscape drawing was done. I didn't know what cold was until I tried going for a walk along lake Michigan.
5. Can you share a memorable experience or encounter from your travels that deeply impacted your artwork?
I can't think of any specific examples that spring to mind. Meeting fellow artists on the road is always a great opportunity to pick up new tricks and techniques. Sharing sketchbooks and ideas, styles and mediums. If you're a self taught artist like me, the best way to learn is from first hand experience with other styles and methods. I love finding street sketchers, out there with their pens and paper. It's always fun seeing what other people create.

6. Are there specific destinations or environments that you find particularly inspiring for your work?
I adore Istanbul! As an urban sketcher that city really has it all. Tall, narrow buildings with rooftop vantage points. Rolling hills dotted with centuries old grand mosques. Every direction you look, from big to small, up or down, the city is inspiring and unique. I've visited a few times and can never get enough drawing done. 

7. What is one place that you wish to travel to and capture through a drawing? 
I've always wanted to travel to Iran. The mountains and spectacular landscapes, rich history and incredibly welcoming people. It might not be the easiest destination but It's always been so high on my travel list. 

That or spend some time in India, travel up and down the country and sketch every step of the way. 

8. What advice would you give to aspiring artists who dream of combining their love for art with a life of travel?
Get a sketchbook and some pens, head out and start drawing. Street sketching is the best way to teach yourself how to capture lighting, movement and what makes a great composition. No location is too boring or mundane to make an interesting artwork out of. It isn't always about sharing what you sketch, posting it online. So many of my drawings stay hidden in the closed pages of half used diaries. If you can feel yourself progressing and working on aspects that you find challenging, you're on the right path.

9. Which piece of your art do you think makes for the most challenging puzzle?
Artworks with more faces than architecture. It's tricky matching up all the little expressions in a bustling crowd. I want to make more pieces like that, where each puzzle hides little details that you slowly notice over time. Perhaps a London or New York inspired artwork. So stay tuned.
You can follow Maxwell Tilse on Instagram or see more of his work on his website here.

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