Putting a face to our brand is important to us, so here it is.
Lewis Woodham, my better half and the brains behind all the designs and artwork...I seriously can't take credit for any of it.
Lewis squirrels away in every spare second he gets to produce artwork for our online shop as well as custom commission pieces but I managed to pin him down for a few minutes to do a mini interview...so here goes!
Drawing: when did it all start?
I've drawn for as long as I can remember. When I was younger it was mainly superheroes and action figures; I was never really that good, not really, I just drew alot. I could make things look like things (if that makes sense); my parents will always say that I could draw well from a young age but when you look back at some of the drawings/scribbles they saved they weren't particularly great but it was something I enjoyed.
What's your favourite medium?
Pencil drawing, definitely. I do like to paint, and I have a great deal of respect for painters as it's such a hard skill to master, but working with pencil is where I feel most comfortable. I've always liked the ability of shading and working with clear cut lines; you can see that in my art now, it's basically a jumble of defined lines.
When did you decide you wanted to create WOOD&HAM?
I think it was when I realised that drawing acted as therapy for me. I found myself becoming more and more confident with my work, so much so that I wanted to share it. I don't think drawings should just sit in a notepad hidden for only yourself to enjoy; so I wanted to develop a platform for my artwork to be shared and enjoyed by others but also for people to have the opportunity to purchase pieces to frame and be on their walls to admire over and over again. That's the beauty of digital art; a design can be loved by 5, 100, 500 people all from one creation. So I created WOOD&HAM when I realised I wanted people to experience my art.
Can you remember what your first sale was?
My first sale was a Christmas card, back at a fair we attended in November 2019. We started with Christmas cards as our first product as part of a charity fair set up at a local gym. We had five different designs to sell, and when the first card was purchased it was the best feeling to know that someone paid money, be it only a couple of pounds, for some of my artwork - I was super proud. This gave me the confidence to expand and I’m so glad I took that step!
How does it feel when someone buys your art via the website, Etsy, or even enquiring about a commissioned piece?
It's fun! It's a weird feeling, because for so long I just drew for enjoyment, and it was just my thing, I was the only one who saw my work; so now to be sharing it and for people to be wanting to pay money to own a piece is just the greatest. You wouldn't really come across an artist that would openly say "well ofcourse they love it, my art is amazing”. Even now, most of the artwork I create I re-look at and am never 100% happy with; so when someone wants to pay their own money to have your artwork in their house, especially someone that doesn't have a direct connection to you and is a complete stranger, it's an amazing feeling, because then you get a reassurance, a virtual pat on the back almost.
How would you describe your style?
My art isn't going to look exactly like what it's meant to look like..if that makes sense. There are some artists out there who can copy a dog's face precisely and perfectly, but I don't particularly aim for that. What’s important to me is that right at the end, after the outline, colouring, shading, and edits, is that it looks attractive; that it looks good enough to share, but not perfect. My style however is focused around negative space - I think negative space is so powerful. Often you'll see my art and may think 'why hasn't he made it fill the page' - but it's not about that, where I place it on the page is part of the art. The Scandinavians celebrate negative space so well, it's almost part of their mantra, so you'll see me using (or not using) space to emphasise my drawings in various ways across my collections.
When did you start drawing digitally? What tech do you use to produce your art?
Years ago, maybe 12 years ago, my Dad bought me a Wacom tablet - they’re a massive name in graphic design. I used it a fair bit initially but then packed it away in it’s box until last year when I re-found it and started using it again with Adobe Illustrator on my MacBook Pro. I like drawing in vector, that’s what I produce all my art in, so Adobe software is perfect for that. When I began using my Wacom tablet again however I realised that the software within it was ancient and it was restricting what I could do; I knew I needed more up-to-date technology. I did my research and what stood out to me was the new iPad Pro but more so the Second Generation Apple Pencil; there were so many stellar reviews from professional artists so I made the investment and that’s now what I use. I use Adobe Draw on the iPad as Adobe Illustrator isn’t available just yet, but Adobe Draw is a very simple app and enables you to draw in vector, I really recommend it.
Do you have a favourite piece you've done so far?
I'm forever adapting my style so nothing in particular stands out but I do really like some of the custom art I've produced; I'm proud of them, especially the buildings. Buildings take so much work, layers of thousands of strokes to make brick effects and subtle shading to create depth and so on. The piece of work I'm most proud of to date would be the custom print I created for Our Little Church Cottage of their back garden view of their church. This piece had 25 odd layers and was incredibly detailed;
it took time but the result was worth it.
Why did you create the #StayatHome campaign?
Well it was something we started at the early stages of lockdown. I thought it was important to dedicate some of my time to these businesses as I felt incredibly sorry for them. We have lovely coffee shops that we would regularly go to like Charlie & Ginger in Leatherhead, so when we produced their custom art work and shout out their response was exactly what I was hoping for; surprise and joy that they'd not been forgotten. A lot of these shops, cafes, restaurants, are peoples' passion projects. They work from sunrise to sunset, they dedicate so much physically and financially so for them to have to suddenly shut - it must be so hard. I was brought up on a gorgeous high street in Banstead which I loved and still do, and there has always been this fear of 'is the high street going' so these small independent businesses should be celebrated as much as they can. Being able to show these people that I thought about them enough to create them some art would hopefully give them a boost. The response from every single one has been pure happiness and appreciation - it’s been great to spread some joy! We now have some exciting opportunities as a result to work with some of these businesses which we can’t wait to see flourish.
Where do you see WOOD&HAM going? Do you have any aspirations for the company?
I think ultimately, alike any artist, the aim is for more people to see my work. But my goal is to work with businesses as my other passion is branding; I like the way art is incorporated in business as I feel it’s the perfect cross over. Art plays a huge part in advertisement, website design, campaigns and more…it can be a huge asset to a business if used in an effective way. That’s the beauty of digital art; a painting on a canvas is singular, but when you create digital art you can use it in so many different ways. So I would like WOOD&HAM to one day be a creative platform for small, medium and large businesses. I would love for people to continue to want my work; the aim is to keep the foot on the gas with expanding my available artwork. My short term goal is for the blog to pick up even more momentum; the blog gives us personality and I love it so hopefully that will grow bigger and lead to more collaborative opportunities. If the sky is the limit then imagine us having a magazine dedicated to interior design -goals.
What inspires your work?
Cereal Magazine, especially Rich Stapleton. Everything Cereal Mag stands for is everything I want my art to be - just utter simplicity. If you read Cereal you’ll see that the position of the text and images isn’t necessarily in form, but that’s the point; it's art.