Life and Drawing with Joe Whyte
Joe Whyte's beautiful drawings capture stills of life in his Melbourne surroundings. We see glimpses of faces in cafes, shapely architecture of old buildings and moments of vulnerability in his studies of life models.
We caught up with Joe and he showed us artistic process and inspiration as well as showing us his latest drawings.
Apart from illustration what other things are you into?
I'm very much into learning languages, I speak french and I study latvian.
It's interesting to see that I find parallels between languages and my
art, the more I study the more I can see that art really is just another
language, another form of communication.
What's your favourite medium to work with? Traditional or digital?
I spend a lot of time working digitally and I enjoy it very much, but for
me there's no substitute for the feel of a pen on paper. Digital is so
much more convenient, but I think I'll always keep traditional media as
part of my process.
Is there someone else's work that you can always return to for inspiration?
I spend a lot of time drawing outside with the Melbourne Urban Sketchers
group. I find it endlessly inspiring sitting and chatting with them, and
watching as amazing pieces of work form before my eyes.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be? Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?
I've pretty much always wanted to be an artist of some sort. At least
since I was old enough to realise I'd probably never represent Australia
at the olympics.
Did you find it hard to switch from illustrating for other people to making work solely for yourself?
I don't see a huge difference between the two. I've always switched
between personal and client-driven work. I think the two really compliment
each other, I'm able to bring a lot of myself to my illustration, while
still understanding what elements of my work appeal to others.
What's your process with drawing? I notice you have a moleskine, are you sketching whenever and wherever you are?
Yes sketching is a huge part of my art process.
More and more I like to carry a sketchbook everywhere and draw from life
out in the streets. For years I was very self-conscious of the attention
that can come with that, but as I get older I find I'm less and less
fazed, and in fact enjoy the opportunities to meet and chat with
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on a series of drawings of Melbourne streets and
buildings, all drawn on location. The spring weather offers the perfect
opportunity to get out from in front of the computer screen and spend as
much time outside as possible drawing the city.