Discover Elliot Stokes, the Brooklyn artist who enjoys solving problems with illustration

Elliot Stokes’ illustration of a milk jug evokes Andy Warhol, but his simple black on white clothes pins or “Slinky on the Stairs”? That’s his own thing. The young artist who grew up in the Atlanta area moved to New York right after college seven years ago and hasn’t looked back. By day, he art directs food photography for the PeopleFood franchise and designs story pages, which he says is not so unlike illustrating. “Both are forms of a kind of visual storytelling and share other creative commonalities, so hopping between one and the other is pretty easy,” the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, artist says. “I’m super lucky to get to do both.”

Minted: What drives you, and where does your inspiration tend to come from?
Elliot Stokes: I love making interesting and pretty pictures, to put in plainly—images that delight me and other people. So much inspires me: the thrilling parts of life and the boring parts; all printed matter I get my hands on; my computer desktop, too. It’s very messy and covered in image thumbnails I’ve dragged onto it. Nothing snaps to grid. My desktop is better than Pinterest to me, since I don’t have to log in anywhere and I can see everything all at once. Sometimes I’ll click through random thumbnails on my desktop until something rubs off. Two Percent Milk” by Elliot Stokes

How do you create your work?
I usually make scribbles of ideas and develop standouts into fuller or cleaner pictures. I’ll draw an image over again and again until the line work feels right. Or scan in several iterations and piece together the best parts. Since my drawings are simple, I try to shoot for interesting compositions.

What materials and programs do you use?
I mainly use mechanical pencils, ink pens, computer paper, and tracing paper to make my work. I use Photoshop to collage, clean up, and color. Besides pencil and ink, I’ll revisit linocuts and paper collage once in awhile.

How did you learn to do what you do?
Enormous amounts of time drawing alone. Mentors, friends, and the Internet.

View Elliot Stokes’ art on his Minted Artist Store

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, Pitchfork, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published June 15, 2017

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