In his series of front covers for Urban Walkabout magazine, contemporary watercolour illustrator, Marcel George, introduces us to fictional characters from different parts of London.
Each edition served as a guide to bars and restaurants in different neighbourhoods of the capital, so Marcel had to dream up a typical person you might expect to see in those areas. "We thought about what clothes and haircut they might have, then the background was architecture or something which might be typical of the area too," Marcel tells Creative Boom.
The Shoreditch man is a "young creative hipster", found against one of the distressed walls around the warehouses of Shoreditch. The Kings Cross girl is maybe an art student from St Martins with the architecture of St Pancras Station in the background. The Clerkenwell man is perhaps a young architect in a trendy coffee shop.
The Kensington woman, meanwhile, is an elegant upper-middle-class woman next to railings commonly found around Kensington streets. The Notting Hill woman was a young bohemian style woman, who liked to shop at the antique stalls around Portobello Road. The Marylebone woman is a young professional woman, maybe in marketing or PR with typical window shapes of the Georgian Terraces of Marylebone.
"I try to make my paintings fresh and bright and find a balance between control and spontaneity with watercolours," adds Marcel. "I am primarily inspired by the natural world, animals and flora, though sometimes I turn my attention to the human face and fashion. It just depends what mood I’m in."
In terms of artists as inspiration, Marcel always return to David Hockney, though it was the slightly darker watercolours of Charles Renee Mackintosh that apparently got him into using the medium initially as a student. "He created very stylised botanical studies, which I still love," says Marcel.
"I am currently looking to move my work forward by stylising the shapes a little bit more and trying not to rely so much on photography and a sense of realism. It’s always tricky as an illustrator to evolve your style though because a client will be expecting a level of consistency to a commission."