An interview with dark artist Karl Trewhela

Thanks Karl aka  @karltrew_art  for taking part in our favorite black and white illustrators’ interview series!

How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been drawing since as far back as I can remember. As a child my father used to take us both to wildlife parks, sitting in the car drawing the animals as they roamed. I’ve always had a fascination with wildlife/nature and I guess this was the foundation for my inspiration. I studied illustration at university but hardly ever turned up and was useless in groups and being told what kind of style or what meanings to attach to my art. I’ve always liked tutoring myself, studying the work of great artists of the past such as Gustave Dore and Leonardo da Vinci but I didn’t start drawing in a dedicated fashion until after my 30th birthday and haven’t stopped since.

Why do you draw?

If I didn’t draw I’d probably go mad… I’ll probably go mad anyway but this might hold it off for a few more years. I’ve always felt far too much and had a mind that never stops racing, combined with being terrible with words, drawing/creating helps ground me, let’s me express my subconscious feelings and most of all calms me and takes me into another world. A kind of escapism. 

What’s your process? 

I don’t really have a particular process, I like it to be spontaneous and to depend on my mood. I’ll start drawing something and that something will lead onto something else, each part influencing another and so on. I try not to rush and therefore give time for my imagination come up with new and exciting paths to take. They can take between 50 to a 150 hours and time seems to fly by when I’m drawing, like a meditation, getting lost within the process. 

Digital vs traditional? 

Personally, I love the human touch; the marks and the mistakes and all the imperfections that come with pen and ink. It forces you to focus and work around errors and I believe it shows the soul. Delicacy, sensitivity, power or whichever emotion/feeling becomes apparent within each pen stroke, scribble and mark. 

Originals/prints: or DM @karltrew_art on Instagram for commissions/inquiries 

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