Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sneak Peek of Underground ART Market

This Saturday 4th September sees the opening of The Underground ART Market. We are very excited to be showing our work along side such a diverse range of Australian Contemporary Artists.

For the first time IMOK card packs will be available for purchase. Each pack contains 3 different designs and are limited edition.

One of our most popular works of all time IMOK Land is available as a 2 part framed print.

"What a great day" IMOK 2010- acrylic & ink on stretched canvas

We would love to see you on Saturday for an afternoon of bubbly and art!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An introduction to one of IMOK’s characters: Sookie

Character design wasn’t always something in IMOK’s creative palette. In fact it was something that we didn’t even know we could do! Both Jen and I have had a deep interest in the vinyl toy industry for many years, finding inspiration in brands like Kid Robot and Tokidoki to keep that drive alive!
We discovered that the years of inspiration and admiration to those brands have most definitely influenced us to develop our very own style.

In the beginning of the character illustrations, it was about getting re acquainted with the pencil and paper method of working. Practicing variations on simple things like eye shape or arm length began to unravel the threads that became IMOK. With pages and pages of sketch books filled with 1000’s of characters and doodles, all being worked and re-worked, to refine our style, it soon showed that both of our styles of illustration complement each other remarkably well!

Introducing some of these characters into the IMOK world proved beneficial and before we knew it, character design was something that we became known for! Our fantasy of being character designers was in sight. This was quite an achievement for us in an unintentional business move that paid off and we still are so very proud of.

With each illustration of these characters grew a general need to know more about them. What’s their name? What do they like? Don’t like? Do they have friends? What was their story? In answer to these many questions, we began developing a story about a group of characters and the adventures they face together. The characters became a virtual voice for the IMOK team, being able to project opinions and thoughts through whimsical and cute characters.
In the story, all of the characters centralise around one main character – a girl named Sookie. She is an only child who loves her friends and is always looking for a new adventure.

The concepts and idea of Sookie has been developed and re-worked over time.

Whether it be the hair length / colour or the shape of her body, to the size of her nose, each characteristic is taken into consideration and put through trials before the character is completed.

We have loved bringing Sookie through each faze so we thought we would show you a glimse into the inner workings and the creation that is Sookie. We plan on bringing Sookie and her friends to life in a book, as toys and ultimately as an animation. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Inspiration Now: Artist Nathan Ota

Every now and then you stumble across an artist whose work you are so taken with that you absolutley MUST buy the $100 book his work is featured in even though you can't afford it! The artist is Los Angeles based Nathan Ota and the book I am referring to is Hunt & Gather, Discovering New Art by Tina Ziegler.

About Nathan, in his own words...

"Ever since I can remember, I have always found myself drawing over doing my homework. My early influences came from cartoons on television, comic books, photographs and Punk-rock flyers. I can still remember sneaking into my older brothers room and raiding his ,"Vamperella" comics and trying to copy or trace all the covers I could get my hands on. Classical art never really interested me at that time so I turned to what really spoke to me with artists such as, Robert Williams, Olivia, Puss Head and Raymond Pettibon. Traditional art never came into the picture till I started high school but it still didn't speak to me. I always found myself gravitating toward popular culture and at that time it was graffiti. I was completely hooked! I loved everything about it, the clicking of the ball in the can when shook, the sound of the constant flow of the paint, the scraping of the can against the wall when drawing, the colors, the scale, the friendships and the complete feeling of freedom. Till this day, whenever I smell spray paint in the air, it brings back good times. I still dabbled a little in graffiti once I entered the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California but a whole new world of art was opening my eyes with Illustration. I never knew what I wanted to do when I entered college and kind of left it in the hands of the instructors to lead me in whatever direction I was going. It was a bit frustrating at first but soon after, I started to get it and knew that I was going to be an Illustrator.

Shortly after graduating in 1993, I started working as a freelance Artist for newspapers, magazines, recording companies, background art for the gaming industry and gallery."

Some of his amazing work...

To find out more go to:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Inspiration that started IMOK.

The beginning tale of how a business or creative journey begins usually gives quite an insight into what the business is really about. It can say a lot about your roots and what the driving force was that made you get up and change your entire life!

For us it all began with stenciling. After such a conservative variety of art forms over the years, a ripple of something new in the art world in 2002 -03 was enough for Jen and I to have a raised curiosity, to say the least! Moving to Melbourne in that period was amazing; I was suddenly exposed to art everywhere! Graffiti in council approved areas, sculptures free standing in the middle of the city and of course stenciling! It was like a permanent outdoor gallery set up for everyone to enjoy.

Some examples of work that was stencilled onto Melbourne city walls 04

After witnessing my first Melbourne Stencil Graffiti Exhibition… this truly inspiring and mind blowing exhibition, I ran home and called Jen saying “We NEED to start stenciling!” From that moment on we were stenciling like demons in two separate cities, spray painting stencils onto what ever we could find! Here is an example of some of Jen’s early work –

Spray painted on butchers paper always gave a true impression on how it would paint up.

Jen photographing a stencil wall in Melbourne city (this wall was actually the side of a photography store!) 04

It was an exciting time to be entering into an art based business! The creative side of the business world in that period just blew up. Graphics and illustrations of all types were being professionally recognised, very raw and organic methods were being applied to very traditional methods – the creative buzz was undeniable and we found ourselves fitting in perfectly! After stenciling nearly everything in our homes, it was a natural next step to put the stencils onto T-shirts! This was without a doubt the very important seed being planted into what would soon become IMOK.

By furthering our creative desires and not limiting our artistic pallet to one medium, these stencils we had created found new ways to be used and heavily within our style of work. This can be seen in graphics that were created from the above stencils –

Original graphic of "Through the Cities" Created in Photoshop 06

Original graphic of "Tattooed in Black" Created in Photoshop 06

These graphics and ones like them were created when we introduced another element to the IMOK portfolio – our character illustrations and water colour washes. Once we have created a collection of graphics, they can then appear on things that range from T shirts right through to canvases. The following are examples of both -

Catalogue image of “Through the cities” graphic on a deep V T-shirt 07

Tattooed in Black – 36x36 inch canvas Acrylic and watercolour 07

“Through the Cities” 18x18 in canvas Acrylic and watercolour 07

After featuring stencils in our work from the early stages of the stenciling movement, we have watched it pass from political, to street, to pop culture. No matter where the IMOK path is headed, we know that will never be able shake the street edge and influence that began this entire IMOK expedition…. And for that we are eternally grateful!

All images copyright IMOK 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creating Tea-Stained Initials

As part of our Lettering range we create personalised Initials on tea-stained paper. We wanted to share with you two of our latest commissioned orders.

To start the process we cut the watercolour paper to size - this was A4, then using tea-bags we colour the paper to give it an antique feel and set aside to dry. Drawing up the letter outline is done with lead pencil and the personalised characters and other elements are added.
This customer requested soccer, chess pieces, poker cards and some of our characters.
Using watercolours we then paint in the characters, this is done little by little, building up colour as we go to add shading and dimension. Final touches are added such as white to highlight.
Here is the final "O", really happy with this, the chess pieces came out great!

This "L" was to include little cakes, a chef's hat, a lizard and birds. We love drawing cakes and birds so this was super fun. Here is the beginning stages...

Ta-da the finished "L"! We did receive an email from our client who was delighted with the results, thanks Katy!

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