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Alfred Achiampong is a Ghanaian illustrator with a talent for fine strokes that smell like rain, in calm, moody hues that set you at ease. We caught up with the Ashesi University alumni to talk inspiration, comics, and illustration.
Tell us about the inspirations that drove you into art and also about your career so far; projects you’ve worked on and so on. How did it start?
AA: My inspiration mainly comes from checking out other artists that I believe are the best in the industry currently. These include artists such as Olivier Coipel, Stuart Immonen, Kim Jung Gi, Terada, Alex Negrea, Faraz Shanyar, Iris Muddy and Marte Gracia. The list goes on and on. My career just started, so I doubt I can give an answer as to how it’s going now. I have worked on some projects though that are mostly coloring related. I am still working on some ongoing projects, and I have a few coming up shortly too. I’m excited about that!
Who inspires you to push the boundaries like you do in illustration?
AA: Like I said earlier, it’s the artists that inspire me, that make me want to become the best at what I do. For example, Kim’s take on perspective just pushes you to want to look at and tackle your drawings from different angles. Alex Negrea’s understanding of color gives you a sense of the different coloring techniques you could use to give your illustrations a more vibrant look. For those interested in comics, Olivier Coipel takes cross hatching to a whole new level.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced as an illustrator?
AA: My biggest challenge is growing up as a digital artist in Ghana, where digital art has little recognition. Additionally, it took a while for my parents to warm up to me doing art full time.
What have been your most memorable projects and why?
AA: It’s too early for me to decide on one at the moment.
Have you created any characters of your own? (If yes, tell us more. If no why?)
AA: I don’t think I’ve ever thought of doing any character design, so don’t think I’ve created any recently. I’m sure I had a couple when I was younger, though.
What is your advice to young illustrators out there?
AA: For young illustrators out there, I’d say, focus on your basics. Get your foundation right and try to dedicate time to drawing, every day. You may be gifted but, if you don’t nurture that gift, it’ll never grow, and you’ll become stagnant eventually. Also, don’t be scared to push out your work, clients love to see progress, so it’s always good to have your crappiest work out there as well. This way, they can see your transition from one point to another. There’s a lot more to say that I can’t put on here, unfortunately.
What do you think about the comic industry in Africa?
AA: There’s definitely a comic industry present, but I don’t believe that it’s getting that much recognition. It’s difficult to point out why because of the many factors that come into play like; the fact that it’s still young, and that it is not particularly attractive to African society. I, however, believe that all things take time. We’ll eventually catch up with the rest of the world.
Be sure to dive into Alfred Achiampong’s world at the links below: