Illustrating racing cars is an art in itself that only very few master very well. James Gilleard is one of those who figured it out. For the book “Fast Forward”, he created the imagery and depicted iconic racing scenes that hasn't really been done before.
Most of James' work revolves around games and their characters, landscapes and architecture. For someone who appears so skilled in illustrating racing cars, James' portfolio shows a surprisingly small amount of racing projects. In fact, not a single one apart from “Fast Forward”.
In the middle of 2018, the team of Quarto's Wide Eyed Editions took notice of James' work and approached him to create the illustrations for a racing book they were working on. From then on, the illustration was relatively quick. “Typically publishing takes a lot of time as there are many people to go through, so I might work on roughs for about 2 months and then not hear anything for month. I believe I finished around September last year”, James says. In total, he created 78 illustrations for the book.
I did watch quite a lot of racing videos on YouTube as reference, but I'm afraid it didn't carry on.
Apart from the fact that James hasn't actually worked on racing imagery before, it's even more surprising to learn that he's not into motorsports in the first place. “I'm not a huge fan of racing but I'm a fan of car design which is what drew me to the project. I especially like retro concept cars.”
For racing fans, scenes like the clash between Prost and Senna in Suzuka 1990 are engraved into their memories. James however had to do plenty of research to get in the mood. “I did actually watch quite a lot of racing videos on YouTube as reference, but I'm afraid it didn't carry on”, James admits.
It's really just making images out of simple geometric shapes – similar to how impressionism is made out of bold brush strokes.
Nevertheless, the work is amazing to look at. What's so distinct about James' illustration style is the use of almost photorealistic lighting effects, slightly unusual colour schemes and the use of mostly simple shapes. James Gilleard draws his inspiration from a large variety of topics – from Glitch Art and retro video game graphics to Impressionist artworks. This creates an interesting mix of distinct classic art and modern digital features.
“I want my work to look obviously digital and try to use as many methods to show that as I can. Other than that it's really just making images out of simple geometric shapes – similar to how impressionism is made out of bold brush strokes.”
If you like in the United States or Canada, you can get the book “Fast Forward” by Adam Skinner and James Gilleard for $30.00. The book will be released globally at a later stage.