Jasper Goodall has a remarkable design philosophy that is highly enlightening to everyone creatively inclined. Let’s explore some of his secrets in creating jaw-dropping work, and learn about how he rose to fame.

“There are too many aspiring illustrators and designers who think that if they produce work similar to what is now considered ‘cool’, then they will also be cool. A common misconception, and wrong.”

jasper

Jasper Goodall, one of the most influential and original illustrators of the past decade, was born in Birmingham, England in 1973; and graduated from The University of Brighton in 1995. He embraces recent developments in technology, and his use of photography and highly developed drawing skills have led him to contribute to some of the most style-defining editorial and commercial commissions of recent years, including work for Gucci, Nike, Adidas, and Dazed & Confused; Not to mention his own swimsuit line in fashion! [1] Quite contrary to his list of accomplishments however, he is a shy, self-deprecating lad who admits that he looks back on his work from the late 90’s and cringes with the same intensity as he would gazing back at teenage photos of himself. [7]

jasperExample of Jasper’s current artwork. [7]

His current work is distinctively erotic and sexy, combined with elements of the fantastical and surreal. He describes his work as “contemporary fantasy art”. [2] Seductive and dangerous sexuality ooze from his creations, silhouettes of women provocatively beckons amidst splashes of psychedelic and pop cultureimagery. Though this can also be a bad thing because some projects require a more classical feel and thus some of his work ended up being rejected by the client, such as the album cover he made for 007. [8]

jasperJasper’s cover rejected for being too contemporary. [8]
jasperEarly work in architectural illustrations. [8]

Jasper entered the world of illustration as conventional illustrators do through art, though he wasn’t very motivated at the time and was a bad student. He first started drawing architecture and this gradually led him to vector illustration. [8] I believe this would have been an easy transition because the lines in an architectural drawing are a key element – as of course with vector.
In his earlier artworks, he started to mix both architectural drawings with models and used those elements to create a fantastical and futuristic appeal. As with his more recent works, back then Jasper would limit his colour palette to a very low amount such as using only 3 colours in a piece.

jasperJasper’s earlier artwork, from around 2005, featured many graphic trends he’s renowned for. [6]

Those sexual kinds of images Jasper currently makes were massively taboo when he was growing up. In his opinion, this was like telling a child that he/she can’t have sweets. He had only started to approach the style after his mother passed away. He feels that her passing, while sad, had freed him up psychologically and allowed him to explore daring visual themes such as erotic illustration. He explains that previously it was like he always had someone watching his back and thus he held back the urge to make controversial work. [4, 8] It is with these daring experiments that a bunch of new visual trends opened up, which were not previously explored, in the world of digital illustration.

Similar to Jasper’s adaptive nature for new technology, his approach to illustration is also rapidly evolving and changing. In my opinion, this is a great trait of an illustrator and it is probably why he is deemed highly original and creative. Once, he had even went to the extent of publicly banning himself from using the three graphic elements that he was once renowned for.
“Here’s the thing,” claims Jasper. “I’m never, ever going to use a concentric circle again; I won’t use a rainbow; I can’t use butterflies. That’s the end of that.” [3]

“Here’s the thing,” claims Jasper. “I’m never, ever going to use a concentric circle again; I won’t use a rainbow; I can’t use butterflies. That’s the end of that.”

Jasper’s views on finding inspiration and being his highly creative self are quite remarkable to say the least. How he finds inspiration is not by looking at the works of other illustrators. He would much rather pick up a book on Chinese painting in the 16th century or kimono fabrics or renaissance candlestick design. In his opinion about being original, he states that there’s always going to be artists following the herd and there’s always going to be artists doing their own thing and leading. For those leaders and innovators, the artwork has always come from a personal point of view. [4]

Jasper advises – “There are too many aspiring illustrators and designers who think that if they produce work similar to what is now considered ‘cool’, then they will also be cool. A common misconception, and wrong. It is very important to be as culturally diverse as possible, to get into and be interested in all kinds of different art forms.” [2]

Artwork Critical Analysis #1

jasperDione’s Rapture. A Muse derived style. [7]
jasperLandscape variation. [1]

Let’s now explore a few current artworks of Jasper. This piece of artwork, named Dione’s Rapture, was created during a commission by the band Muse for their album ‘Black Holes and Revelations’. [7]
Like his earlier work, he used vector shapes and symbols to form a provocative image with a limited colour palette. What’s remarkably different is the use of combining gradients and raster texture.

Note that the style is loosely based around the band’s lyrical choices. Though he paid more attention to the overall noise and feel. It felt to him that the lyrics were secondary to the musicality. [1]
The use of triangles and gradients are there to develop a sense of speed and graduation, and thus helps direct the eye toward the focal in the composition. The triangle also symbolizes harmony and proportion along with the number 3, which is a Fibonacci number. [9] This, of course, helps to make the image more aesthetically pleasing.

The use of circles symbolize perfection [9] and helps to give the composition a sense of focal. Circles are aesthetically central and thus helps direct the eyes toward them. Having just one focal in an image is often too plain and having a few different places to look certainly makes it more interesting. Note that most of the circles are on the right side of the image, this is because the direction creating lines are on the left side, thereby reinforcing the notion of direction and focal.

The colours used are stylized to a limited palette. The areas which he wants to lead your eyes to are in red and the the less important areas are in blue. Background elements are desaturated to give off the least attention. Giving an image visual hierarchy through colour this way can be very effective.

The use of texture helps to connect the intangible with the tangible, the surreal with the real, and thus gives the viewer more of a connection toward the image.
In terms of trends, a lot of the elements have been done before – i.e. the gradients, woman’s silhouette, texturing on vector and the smoke manipulation. But bring them all together, and you have yourself a Jasper Goodall piece, that is highly original and visually full of goodness!


Artwork Critical Analysis #2

jasperDesert Mirror [1]
jasperLandscape Variation

In this image, a woman wearing reflective tight clothing is positioned seductively in the Pyramids of Egypt.
The most outstanding feature is the use of triangles and the relationship it has with the Pyramids. Well, that is actually the Eye of Providence, or the all-seeing eye of God. It is a symbol showing an eye often surrounded by rays of light or a glory and usually enclosed by a triangle. It can be sometimes interpreted as representing the eye of God watching over humankind. Also, it just so happens that the imagery of an all-seeing eye can be traced back to Egyptian mythology and the Eye of Horus. [10]

It is indeed very clever how he incorporated the symbol and the image uses history and mythology as a source of inspiration. This, in term, connects the dots between the presented fantasy world and the real world we live in; And thus brings us closer to the image even though it’s obviously surreal.
The use of mirrors are to symbolize wisdom and knowledge [9], further reinforcing the notion of God interpreted by the triangle.

Ergo, we can deduce that the woman in the image is, in fact, an Egyptian Goddess. This would not have been previously known without the knowledge of the symbolic meaning of the mentioned elements.
Jasper likes to use symbols in his images. He suggests that once the viewers know what the symbols mean, it literally becomes a totally new image for them. [4] Images with hidden meanings such as this makes them more intriguing and visually challenging to the viewers.

This is one of my favourite images by Jasper. The deep meanings hidden within and the stylized surreal look really makes the piece stand out and is true to the nature of Jasper’s innovative self.


Conclusion

In conclusion, Jasper Goodall, throughout his artwork and comments, had taught us all a very important lesson. First of all, it’s preferable not to do the obvious and research by browsing the artworks of other artists in the field for inspiration. But rather, to find our own source of inspiration – whether it is through culture, personal experience or historical books on Art. Last but not least, in order to make our images more intriguing, hide deep meanings within.

Bibliography

[1] Semi-Permanent 2010 Brisbane on Jasper Goodall

http://www.australianinfront.com.au/events/post/jasper-goodall

[2] Jasper Goodall interview
Territory 11 Magazine. Published by Bigbrosfactory, 2009.

[3] Computer Arts UK Interview on Jasper Goodall

http://www.computerarts.co.uk/in_depth/interviews/profile_jasper_goodall

[4] Video of Jasper Goodall, speaker @ Semi-Permanent 2010

http://vimeo.com/11791502

[5] Image of Jasper Goodall and his work

http://www.computerarts.co.uk/__data/assets/image/1035580/art160interview455.jpg

[6] Image of an artwork by Jasper Goodall

http://lilchainsaw.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/232742517_34b3743c271.jpg

[7] Personal site and biography of Jasper Goodall

http://www.jaspergoodall.com

http://www.jaspergoodall.com/biography.php

http://www.jaspergoodall.com/projects.php

[8] Jasper Goodall himself @ Semi-Permanent 2010 Conference

[9] Symbolic reference
Dictionary of Symbols. Published by Penguin, 1996.

[10] Eye of Providence symbolic reference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_Providence

Leon Fresh

Leon Fresh

Graphic Designer & Web Developer at Leon Fresh Design
Leon Fresh is a multi-disciplinary Graphic Designer and Web developer hailing from the beautiful Sydney Australia. What started as a hobby when he was a kid, grew to be a way of life, and heaps more!
Leon Fresh