In Conversation With: George Ermos
last updated 22 May 2023
Interview by Winnie Okunbor
We caught up with George Ermos, and spoke all about their creative process, inspirations and advice.
Where are you from and how does that affect your work?
I’m from a little island in the Mediterranean called Cyprus. I was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church, so I’ve always been exposed to the Byzantine iconography that decorates churches, houses and often car interiors. I think much of that flat, folky, medieval look has bled into my own style.
Talk us through your creative process. How do you approach a brief?
My creative process typically starts off with a very loose sketch, usually just blocking out shapes and trying to get a feel of the composition. Then I refine the shapes further until I’ve got some kind of decent sketch, which I’ll render a little further with some basic shadows and highlights. The process going forward is just refinement up until the last leg, which is mostly lots of minor problem solving and tweaking!
What does an average day at the studio look like for you at the moment?
I’m currently working up in the mountains in a little village, which is a big change from living in Derby. At the moment, my average day looks like early mornings doing some work on the family farm whilst it’s still cool, which builds up an appetite for indoor work at the desk, broken up by lots of little coffee breaks of course! I typically work in the studio until the late evening then top it off with a walk in the mountains.
Who/What have been your key influences as an illustrator?
My key influences are Pre-Raphaelite works, William Morris prints and absolutely anything medieval, ranging from decorative patterns to tapestries.
How did you begin illustration?
I began illustration with an interest in picture books during my time at the University of Lincoln. My focus was on 50s and 60s illustrative styles, inspired by artists such as Miroslav Šašek and Eyvind Earle, particularly his work on Sleeping Beauty.
What’s your favourite part of the illustration process?
My favourite part is the middle/transitional part when the work is becoming clear and taking form, that’s when I get the most fulfilment from the process. The final polishing phase is a close second option though!
To an up-and-coming artist, what’s one piece of advice you would give?
I’d just recommend keeping inspired, constantly. Always top up your Pinterest, or whatever it is you’re using to keep records of your creative interests, then set aside time every day to develop your art, drawing from the well of inspiration you’ve built.
What would be your dream brief?
My dream brief would be illustrating absolutely anything from Tolkien’s legendarium. As far as authors go, his work has been my number one, constant source of inspiration.
Thanks George for chatting with us today! To work with George, please get in touch with Robyn here!